Auto Insurance Information
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.
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.
- If you're in an accident or your car is stolen, it costs money, often a lot of money, to fix or replace it.
- If you or any passengers are injured in an accident, medical costs can be extremely expensive.
- If you or your car is responsible for damage or injury to others, you may be sued for much more than you're worth.
- Not only is having insurance a prudent financial decision, many states require you to have at least some coverage.
Questions to ask your agent
Your Independent Agent is an advocate for finding auto insurance that meets your specific needs. Here are a few things to consider as you prepare for the discussion:
- How much can you afford to pay if you get in an accident? (To keep premiums low you may want to have a higher deductible and be willing to pay more for repairs.)
- What is the insurance company's level of service and ability to pay claims?
- What discounts are available? (Ask about good driver, multiple policy and student discounts.)
- What's the procedure for filing and settling a claim? (Ask who to call and what happens after you file a claim.)
Property damage coverage protects you if your car damages someone
else's property, such as another car, a fence, or building front. When
choosing your property damage liability limits, you should consider
all of your assets, including your home and future earnings because if
you don't have enough coverage to protect all of your assets, those
assets could be at risk if you're liable for damages that exceed your
coverage limit. Consider having a higher limit of liability coverage –
it may help you avoid having to pay out-of-pocket after an at-fault
Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Damage Coverage
Uninsured/underinsured motorist damage coverage may compensate you for
bodily injury and lost wages caused by an uninsured motorist, a
hit-and-run driver, a driver whose automobile insurance company is
insolvent, or a driver who has not purchased enough coverage to pay
Physical Damage Coverage
Physical damage coverage can protect your vehicle if it is damaged in
an accident (collision coverage), is damaged by something other than a
collision (comprehensive coverage) with a vehicle or object or if your
vehicle is stolen. This coverage is optional if your vehicle is paid
in full, but it is coverage you should consider if you want to fully
protect your vehicle.
Bodily Injury Liability Coverage
Bodily injury liability covers your legal liability for a covered
accident that involves injury to another person, up to the limit of
liability you select. Purchase enough coverage to protect your assets
should a claim be brought against you or if you are sued. You should
also consider purchasing an excess liability policy which may provide
additional limits of liability.
Medical Payments Coverage
Medical payments coverage can help cover all reasonable medical
expenses and funeral expenses of covered drivers and passengers after
an accident, regardless of fault. In most states, it's an optional
addition to your car insurance policy.
Transportation Expenses / Rental Coverage
Transportation expenses/rental coverage is an inexpensive option you
can add to your auto insurance policy to pay for the cost to rent a
temporary replacement vehicle or the cost of public or private
transportation if your vehicle is ever in an accident. This coverage
is available in a variety of daily limits.