An auto insurance policy is comprised of six different kinds of coverage. Most states require you to buy some, but not all, of these coverages. If you're financing a car, your lender may also have requirements.
Most auto policies are for six months or a year. Your insurance company should notify you by mail when it's time to renew the policy and to pay your premium.
Why do you need auto insurance?
It's really all about protecting yourself financially.
1. How high should my liability coverage limits be?
- No one can predict exactly how much you would have to pay if you were to cause an accident.
- Ask yourself how you would pay for any damages exceeding your coverage limits.
- The higher your liability coverage limits are, the more likely your policy will be able to pay all of the damages.
2. How high or low should my collision and comprehensive deductibles be?
- Higher deductibles lower your premium but increase the amount you must pay out of your own pocket if a loss occurs.
- Ask yourself how much you would be willing and able to pay on short notice in order to save on your premium.
3. Should I carry collision and comprehensive coverage?
- You may be required to carry collision or comprehensive coverage if your vehicle is leased or financed.
- Once you have paid off your car, and its value decreases, you might consider dropping these coverages to save money on premiums.
- Consider, though, whether the savings would be enough to offset the risk of having to pay the entire cost of repairing or replacing the vehicle.
Most Common Coverages:
Auto liability coverage pays for the damage if you are legally responsible for accidentally injuring someone, or for damaging another vehicle or other property in an auto accident.
Auto liability coverage falls into two categories:
- Bodily Injury Liability - which covers medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other special damages.
- Property Damage Liability -- which covers damaged property, and may include loss of use.
Liability coverage also pays legal defense and court costs.State laws usually dictate the minimum amounts of insurance required, but higher amounts are available.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
This coverage pays the reasonable and necessary medical expenses for covered persons for treatment due to an auto accident.
It may also pay for:
- Lost earnings
- Replacement of services (For example, child care if a parent is disabled.)
- Funeral expenses
This coverage is available in most states. It pays reasonable and necessary medical and funeral expenses for covered persons when those expenses are related to an auto accident.
This coverage helps pay for damage to a covered vehicle caused by:
- Collision with another vehicle
- Collision with an object
- A vehicle rollover
A deductible is required.
This coverage helps pay for loss of or damage to an insured vehicle, not caused by a collision or vehicle rollover.
Examples of this type of damage or loss include:
- Hitting an animal
A deductible may apply.
This coverage pays for damages when a covered person is injured in an auto accident caused by a driver who does not have Liability Insurance.
In some states this coverage may also pay for property damage.
This coverage varies by state and depends upon policy provisions.
This coverage pays for damages when a covered person is injured in an auto accident caused by another driver who has insufficient Liability Insurance.
Application of this coverage varies by state and depends upon policy provisions.
This coverage pays for renting a car when your auto is disabled due to an auto accident.
Daily allowances or limits vary by state or policy provisions.
Emergency Road Service
This coverage pays for having your auto towed due to a breakdown.
Towing limits vary by state or policy provisions.
This information is only a general description of the available coverages and is not a statement of contract. All coverages are subject to all policy provisions and applicable endorsements.