By February 17, 20070 Comments Read More →

Types of Auto Insurance Coverage

A question you might ask yourself is: why must we carry auto insurance? Hopefully one answer you should hear is to protect yourself and your car. For those same reasons the government also requires you to have car insurance.

Auto insurance is at its heart financial protection. You purchase insurance in order to prevent paying thousands of dollars in the event of a collision or other loss. Many different types of insurance are available, covering almost every conceivable means of loss or damage to your vehicle as well as others to which you may cause damage. Very few drivers need to purchase every single type of insurance, so it is helpful to understand each type in order to decide which ones you require.

Property Damage Depending on jurisdiction, property damage insurance may also be called liability insurance or similar. This insurance covers damage that your vehicle may cause to someone else’s vehicle.

Each state sets its own minimum requirement for how much property damage insurance you must carry, but the state minimum may not be enough in the event of an accident. If you cause damage that exceeds the limits of your insurance you may be sued for the difference. Always purchase as much property damage insurance as you can comfortably afford.

Personal Injury This type of auto insurance is also generally required by law. Personal injury insurance pays a portion (usually 80 percent) of your medical bills and a different portion (often 60 percent) of your lost wages if you are injured in an accident.

A small death benefit is often attached in case you are killed in the accident. This protection might extend to relatives, household members or even anyone who happens to be in the car, depending on state requirements and the individual insurance company’s policies.

Bodily Injury Although bodily injury protection is not required by all jurisdictions it is highly recommended that this insurance be purchased. Bodily injury insurance protects you in the event that you are at fault in an accident.

If the other driver is injured beyond the limits of his personal injury coverage, your bodily injury insurance will take effect. Otherwise, you could be sued for his medical expenses.

If someone else is at fault in an accident in which you are seriously injured, your expenses may exceed your personal injury coverage. If the other driver does not have bodily injury protection one option may be to sue.

However lawsuits can be costly in both money and time, and if the other driver is unable to pay you may end up with an uncollectible judgment. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is another option. This coverage will pay your medical expenses when you are injured by someone who does not have enough insurance.

Collision Collision coverage is designed to reimburse you up to the actual cash value of your vehicle, less your deductible, if you are at fault in an accident. Collision insurance is usually required if your vehicle is financed. Premiums are high and the insurance is generally not worthwhile for older vehicles with a low cash value.

Comprehensive Comprehensive insurance covers the loss of your vehicle to theft or acts of God. As with Collision insurance, Comprehensive pays the actual cash value of the vehicle less your deductible. Comprehensive is usually required on financed vehicles but not worthwhile on older low-value cars.

Additional insurance products are available that will cover gaps in your personal injury protection, a rental car and many other coverages. While these products are nice to have they are not at all necessary for most drivers. Be sure to discuss your options with your insurance agent and ask for clarification when needed.

With the web easily accessible you have a vast amount of knowledge at your fingertips to help you choose the best coverage for you and your lifestyle. Life is too short, get good advice and get the right insurance coverage for you and your family.

The bottom line is that together, collision and comprehensive amount to a fat portion of your total insurance. Dropping them can cut your bill to less than half. If you can’t justify dropping them entirely, then at least keep your deductibles (the portion you pay in any claim) high.

About the Author

Levi Quinn is a contributed author on auto insurance. With this interface he explains automobile insurance and offers tips on lowering the cost of your insurance.

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