What is auto insurance? Auto insurance protects you against financial loss if you have an accident. It is a contract between you and the insurance company. You agree to pay the premium and the insurance company agrees to pay your losses as defined in your policy.
Auto insurance provides property, liability and medical coverage:
- 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.
1). Bodily Injury Liability
This coverage applies to injuries 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’s very 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. Definitely consider buying more than the state-required minimum to protect assets such as your home and savings.
2). 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. At its broadest, 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
3). 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, but it also includes damage to lamp posts, telephone poles, fences, buildings or other structures your car hit.
This coverage pays for damage to your car resulting from a collision with another car, object or as a result of flipping over. It also covers damage caused by potholes. Collision 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.Comprehensive insurance is usually sold with a $100 to $300 deductible, though you may want to opt for a higher deductible as a way of lowering 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.
States do not require that you purchase collision or comprehensive coverage, but if you have a car loan, your lender may insist you carry it until your loan is paid off.
6). Uninsured and Under-insured 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.
Insurance contracts are very complicated and often very confusing. Licensed insurance professionals must complete training as well as meet continuing education requirements to be able to offer insurance counseling and sell insurance products. We can explain what your liability limits mean, offer coverage recommendations, explain what your contract covers, what it does not cover and if there are additional options available to you.
An independent insurance agent can offer professional insurance consultation through multiple insurance companies. An independent insurance agent may also offer all lines of insurance allowing you to benefit from having all policies with one company (auto, home, life, umbrella, boat, recreational vehicles, as well as business insurance) which leads to policy discounts.At times, it is beneficial to ‘shop’ for different coverage, rates, or claims service – An Independent Insurance Agent can provide multiple markets to choose from.
What is important when purchasing auto insurance?
- Seek information about the financial strength of the company offering the policy. The most important aspect of an insurance contract is the ability to pay the claim.
- Determine what amount of coverage you need.
- Know what your contract covers and does not cover.
- Make the decision on what company and agent can provide the best product
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