Auto insurance provides you protection against financial loss when you are involved in an accident. The insurance company agrees to cover your losses, as per your policy, as long as you pay them the agreed upon premium.
An automobile policy provides coverage for property, liability, and medical.
- Property coverage pays for damage to or theft of your car.
- Liability coverage pays for your legal responsibility to others for bodily injury or property damage.
- Medical coverage pays for the cost of treating injuries, rehabilitation and sometimes lost wages and funeral expenses.
The policy is comprised of six different kinds of coverage. In most states, you are required to buy some, but not all, of these coverages. When you finance a car, your lender may also have requirements, usually the lender will want full-coverage.
Automobile policies generally cover you for six months to a year. Typically, your insurance company will notify you by mail or email whenever it’s time to renew your policy and to pay your premium. You can pay your insurance premiums monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually. When paying the amount monthly, the insurance companies will charge you a fee for this service.
The six coverages:
- BODILY INJURY LIABILITY
This coverage applies to injuries that you, the designated driver or policyholder, cause to someone else. You and family members listed on the policy are also covered when driving someone else’s car with their permission.
It is extremely important to have enough liability insurance because if you are involved in a serious accident, you may be sued for a large sum of money. You should definitely consider buying more than the state-required minimum to protect your assets such as your home and savings. Don’t cut corners with liability insurance. You always want to have at least $500,000 in liability insurance. This insurance may very well save you from bankruptcy in the event a serious auto accident.
- MEDICAL PAYMENTS OR PERSONAL INJURY PROTECTION (PIP)
This coverage pays for the treatment of injuries to the driver and passengers of the policyholder’s car. PIP can cover medical payments, lost wages, and the cost of replacing services normally performed by someone injured in an auto accident. It may also cover funeral costs.
- PROPERTY DAMAGE LIABILITY
This coverage pays for damage you (or someone driving the car with your permission) may cause to someone else’s property. Usually, this means damage to someone else’s car. It also includes damage to lamp posts, telephone poles, fences, buildings, or other objects/structures your car hits.
This coverage pays for damage to your car resulting when you collide with another car, object or as a result of flipping over. It also covers damage caused by potholes. This coverage is generally sold with a deductible of $250 to $1,000—the higher your deductible, the lower your premium. Even if you are at fault for the accident, your collision coverage will reimburse you for the costs of repairing your car, minus the deductible. If you’re not at fault, your insurance company may try to recover the amount they paid you from the other driver’s insurance company. If they are successful, you’ll also be reimbursed for the deductible.
This coverage reimburses you for loss due to theft or damage caused by something other than a collision with another car or object, such as fire, falling objects, missiles, explosion, earthquake, windstorm, hail, flood, vandalism, riot, or contact with animals such as birds or deer.
The deductible for comprehensive insurance is usually $100 to $300. You may want to opt for a higher deductible, in order to lower your premium.
Comprehensive insurance will also reimburse you if your windshield is cracked or shattered. Some companies offer glass coverage with or without a deductible.
- UNINSURED AND UNDERINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE
This coverage will reimburse you, a member of your family, or a designated driver if one of you is hit by an uninsured or hit-and-run driver.
Underinsured motorist coverage comes into play when an at-fault driver has insufficient insurance to pay for your total loss. This coverage will also protect you if you are hit as a pedestrian.
You can save money by having higher deductibles. The only thing you have to be sure about is that you are able to cover the higher deductible in the event of an accident. If you have a deductible of $1,000, this means you have to pay the first $1,000 before the insurance company will pay anything,.