It’s amazing how you can buy it so many ways. Auto coverage is being sold almost everywhere in the country. How do this insurance company differentiate themselves? Most companies brag about their seniority when you have a claim.
Tip: many people just believe that auto insurance is a commodity. Please, it’s not
It’s not soda that you’re buying. You are covering your financial well being and the options you choose could affect you for your entire life.
If you believe that auto insurance is a commodity, look into this:
A person that has a better driving record will two, three and even five times less than a driver with different tickets, and has been cited for and convicted over driving under an influence.
Let’s take a person who live in a major city like Houston, Chicago, Denver or Los Angeles will have to pay five times more than a person who live in a small town even both of them have same driving records.
Auto Insurance: How Much Should You Buy?
Some states require you to have auto insurance. But not much is required. All you have to buy is a little bit of liability coverage in states that have so called must mandatory auto insurance laws. Reason being that you will be able to pay for some of the damage car will do to other people who are not in your car.
How much are you required to buy? The states with mandatory auto insurance laws, the lowest that is needed is liability that provides 1. $15,000 for who so ever involve in accident with you, 2.maximum of $30,000 for all persons in the accident and 3. $5,000 for other vehicle involved damages. That’s no plenty.
Tip: in most states, the minimum amount required is not much. You will have to get more coverage in order to protect your financial health.
NB: the mandatory auto insurance laws do not permit you to buy coverage for your own car, or coverage for your injuries, or even coverage where by someone who doesn’t have insurance hits you.
Your assets are at considerable risk, if you purchase just the minimum coverage required by law. Your car, home is all at risk if you should have accident which you are at fault.
Little Known Fact: There Are Six Distinct Coverages in an Auto Policy
Auto insurance is a product with six distinct coverages.
Let’s look at them here:
Bodily Injury Liability: this policy does pay the medical and other expenses of those people you killed or injured in the accident you cause. A minimum coverage of about $15,000 for any individual who is involved in accident with you and not more than $30,000 for all the persons in the accident, this required by most state. Property Damage Liability: property damage liability it covers the damage property your car cause. It covers properties or object like, lampposts, fences, garages, etc. A minimum coverage of $5,000 is always required in most case.
Collision: collision is the damage your car collides with other vehicles or other objects, if it’s your fault.
Comprehensive: This one covers any damage to your car which comes from something else other than a collision with another vehicle. Example damage caused by vandal’s etc. coverage for theft is also included.
Medical Payments: Medical payments pays funeral and medical, the bills for you as well as members of your family and even any passengers in your car if it involved in a collision, it does not matter who caused the accident. It covers you if a vehicle should hit you while walking.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist: this will pay for injuries you have, and in some cases, it will also pay for your damage car if you are being hit by a driver that does not have insurance or by one whose insurance is not enough to cover your losses. In many states, more than 10% of motorist does not have insurance. In some state, out of 15 drivers four don’t have coverage.
A lot of those that have insurance don’t really have enough that will cover the damages and injuries that will result in a major collision. This coverage is often referred to as UM/UIM, if you don’t have this coverage, you are taking a big risk. This coverage also provides coverage for any injuries you suffer when you’re being hit while walking or riding a bicycle by no insurance.
More coverage are available…there are some extra coverages you can buy. You can even buy towing coverage, which will have to pay the costs if your car involved in accident. You don’t need this coverage if you’re a member of auto club.
You can as well purchase rental reimbursement, which will have to pay for a car rented while your car is being repaired. That is, if the accident was not your fault, the cost is being paid by the insurance company of the person who hits you.
What are the Various Options for These Different Coverage?
They are mainly six coverages in auto insurance policy; there are so many options to take note for each of them.
How many insurance to you want?
Bodily Injury Liability
Per person $15,000, $30,000 per accident, and that’s the minimum you can buy as required by law. Or you can decide to purchase high limits of $500,000 and even $1 million. Just have it in the back of your mind that someone you hit can sue you for everything you have.
Tip: you have to buy at minimum limits of $100,000 per person, $300,000 per accident, that’s you have a home, own stock and have a decent income. Should you have more than 350,000 in assets, you have to buy higher limits or better still umbrella policy. Before you do this consult with your professional agent first.
Some auto insurance companies now are selling combined single limit (CSL) coverages, which have no per-person limit. Let’s say, you buy $300,000 CLS, which means your company will have to pay a maximum of $300,000. All of these could go to one person if you need.
Property damage liability in the CSL is included in some companies, meaning if you hit someone car, your policy could pay even up to $300,000 for property damage. CSL can be more worthy if you have significant assets, although it cost more than traditional limits.
Tip: most insurance agent do urge their clients to purchase it if available, because they believe CSL is so important.
Property Damage Liability
So many years ago, $25,000 had to be considered the highest many people needed for this coverage. Well not anymore, there are a lot of $50,000 and even $80,000 cars and sport utility vehicles on the road nowadays.
Tip: at least $50,000 should be considered by you, because there are expensive cars on the road these days, let’s assume you don’t have CSL coverage; $75,000 will be preferred.
Think about how much you could afford to pay to have your car fix if you should have accident. There are several deductible options which the auto policies have.
NB: The part you pay before the insurance moves in is deductible. Deductibles of $100, $250, $500, even $1000 can be bought. The more the coverage should cost, the lower the deductible.
It’s a good idea to have a deductible of at least two hundred dollars, unless you are thinking of having many accidents. It does not apply if someone hits you and that will be used to pay for your cars damages.
Unlike collision, although it is usually lower, there’s a deductible with comprehensive. Example, if you have $300 deductible for collision, let’s say your comprehensive deductible will be $150.
NB: while collision and comprehensive will have to pay for car damage, both coverages will pay for everything in/on your vehicle. Most policies exclude things like car phones, cassettes and CDs, etc.
If you add special features to pickups, vans or SUVS, these things probably will be excluded as well. In fact, it’s a good idea for you to talk to your insurance agent about any high-tech equipment or special features you have added to your vehicle.
Many, perhaps even most, of these features aren’t covered in the standard policy. It is possible, however, to obtain special coverage for any high-tech equipment or special features your vehicle may have. Your agent can advise you of the options.
It also called personal injury protection: some people choose not to buy this coverage because they think their health insurance coverage is enough. Anyway, it’s true but to an extent.
NB: just like your health insurance, medical payments coverage can compensate you for income lost as a result of injuries which are suffered in an auto accident. Moreover, medical payments coverage is not covered completely as most health insurance plans. Medical payment is cheap, and it’s probably a good idea for some people.
This coverage also makes protection for passengers that are in your vehicle for income lost medical expenses incur. It is not relevant in some states. This is state that does not have so called fault auto insurance systems. It does not matter whose fault, your insurance company will pay for the damage to car and/or injury you get. Personal injury protection is also attached as part of your coverage.
For some people, it’s a very nice idea to have the same limits for UM/UIM as same in bodily injury liability. You will have to remember, that UM/UIM is for you. If your car is damage, and the person at fault in an accident with you can’t pay, UM/UIM will pay for your injuries and also the damage to your car. You should also purchase UM/UIM.
Who is Covered When You Buy Auto Insurance?
All the coverages in your auto policy apply while driving, but the can be applied when other people drive your vehicle. Coverages are for the car and not the person.
NB: you need to add the name of the person that will want to use your car often to the policy.
Your insurance company will need to know who will be making use of car. Nevertheless, you can be a good driver with no accidents or tickets, but your teenager or your family member could be reckless driver.
Your insurance company might cancel your policy if you let your car to be driven by another, without telling your insurer, not just that but having accident.
Tip: it is not a good idea to risk losing your policy by failing to inform them who’s driving the insured vehicle. Your premium will go up, if you add drivers with lousy records and drivers with not much experience.
When your teenage child gets his or her license, your insurance premiums will have to go up since he or she is added to the policy. and you know teenagers get tickets and do have accident easily.
If you purchase all six of the main auto insurance Coverages, your policy will protect you in most instances which you caused injury to your car, yourself and your passenger, or drivers and passengers in the other vehicle.
But not all.
NB: some exclusion are there in the Standard auto insurance policy which is insurance-ese for, we won’t cover that. These are some examples where your auto policy can’t provide coverage:
If you actually want to cause damage to your car intentionally, it includes liability coverage.
If your using the vehicle for transportation business. (This does not apply to car pools where the expenses are shared.)
If you’re using your car delivery business
If your vehicle damage was caused by mechanical or electrical breakdown, wear and tear, or road damage to tires.
If your car is spoilt through intentional or accidental discharge of nuclear weapons,
radioactive contamination, war, insurrection or rebellion or revolution,
Important Question: What are You Using Your Vehicle for?
You can move in one side with your insurance company since you have not known about how you are using your vehicle. Example, do you normally drive to work? If at all, you will have to pay for auto insurance than if you take mass transit. In short, the more you drive to work, the more you will pay.
Tip: it will be fraud if you drive your car to work, then you tell your insurance company you don’t.
Example: let’s say, on your way to work you had accident and you told your insurance company you don’t drive to work. They might cancel your policy.
It’s all about honesty because it is the best policy when it comes to insurance.
Fact: for as many as 25 cents to 35 cents of every auto insurance premium dollar is estimated for fraud accounts. Thinking about it, half of the insurance was to be cleared out in the next year, 15% to 20% less for your next policy which you will have to pay.
Personal Car for Business, Company Car for Personal Use
Do you use your personal car for business? Do you have access to a company car? if yes is the answer, you could have potential coverage gaps.
Example: you use your car for business. Am we believe its possible that your employer is producing some coverage through your employers commercial auto policy for you. In most coverage, the policy is only for liability, and often this commercial auto policy does not even apply until the limits on your personal auto policy are being subsided.
Tip: you should in all time, talk to your employer about all the coverages which available to you through the company’s commercial auto policy. in that way if you should have an accident while on company business, you know the exact insurance company to call.
If you use your car for business purposes: like visiting clients, trips, etc. there is enough coverage for these activities as provided by your personal auto policy.
What if your car is actually a source of revenue? You make deliveries, example, you really need a commercial auto policy as well.
NB: Your personal auto might deny your claim, if you have accident while using your car business like delivery or taxi purpose. You have to talk to agent to make the business activities coverage available for the car.
What about company cars? They could have problem with insurance, when you have to use the company car for pleasure or business, if you don’t have a vehicle of your own. They don’t have a personal auto policy since you don’t have a car. As you don’t have a car, and you use the company car for pleasure, you are calling disaster if you have an accident during a pleasure trip.
Tip: non-owned personal auto policy is needed if you are in this kind of situation.
This kind of policy can be useful if you don’t have a car and you had to rent a vehicle on a trip. It will cover you and the rented car if you have accident. In other case, you will need coverage from where you rented the car, which is very expensive.
Tip: you can purchase coverage gaps if you want even though you have a personal auto policy and as well use a company car for pleasure. You have to first find out from your employer the available coverage of your corporate car. Once you know, you can talk to your insurance agent on how far the coverage you need.