Tuesday, December 23, 2008

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: (1) Property coverage pays for damage to or theft of your car. (2) Liability coverage pays for your legal responsibility to others for bodily injury or property damage. and (3) 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 to a year. Your insurance company should notify you by mail when it’s time to renew the policy and to pay your premium.

How policies work

If you own your own car, you probably already know a little about car insurance. You may have heard the words deductible or premium. But, do you truly understand the different parts of an auto insurance policy and do you know how to choose the best coverage?

Forty-seven states require that you have at least some kind of car insurance, so it's a good idea to know what the law requires you to have and what additional or optional coverage will help to protect you in the event of an accident.

Before purchasing auto insurance, you must consider a variety of factors including what kind of car you have, your driving record and the amount of money you are willing to pay. Understanding the simple basics of auto insurance will make you confident that the car insurance policy you choose will take care of your needs in the event of an accident.

In this article, we will walk you through the types of coverage that insurance companies offer and discuss possible insurance needs. Additionally we will look at what affects the price of auto insurance, how to bring the costs down and how to understand the components of your policy.

Types of Coverage

Everyone who drives needs car insurance. In fact, most states require it by law. When you buy car insurance, you are buying what is called a policy. Your policy is based on a variety of factors including what kind of car you drive as well as what kind of insurance you want. Auto insurance policies are actually a package of different types of insurance coverage.

The first step in understanding an auto insurance policy is to learn the various types of coverage insurance companies offer. Some of this coverage may be required by your state and some of the coverage may be optional.

  • Liability - This coverage pays for accidental bodily injury and property damages to others. Injury damages include medical expenses, pain and suffering and lost wages. Property damage includes damaged property and automobiles. This coverage also pays defense and court costs. State laws determine how much liability coverage you must purchase, but you can always get more coverage than your state requires.

  • Collision - This coverage pays for damages to your vehicle caused by collision with another vehicle or object.

  • Comprehensive - This coverage pays for loss or damage to the insured vehicle that doesn't occur in an auto accident. The types of damages comprehensive insurance covers include loss caused by fire, wind, hail, flood, vandalism or theft.

  • Medical Coverage - Pays medical expenses regardless of fault when the expenses are caused by an auto accident.

  • PIP - Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is required in some states. This coverage pays medical expenses for the insured driver, regardless of fault, for treatment due to an auto accident.

  • Uninsured Motorist - Pays your car's damages when an auto accident is caused by a driver who doesn't have liability insurance.

  • Underinsured Motorist - Pays your car's damages when an auto accident is caused by someone who has insufficient liability insurance.

  • Rental Reimbursement - This type of coverage will pay for a rental car if your car is damaged due to an auto accident. Often this coverage has a daily allowance for a rental car.
Many insurance policies combine a number of these types of coverage. The first step in choosing the insurance you want for your car is to know the laws in your state. This will tell you the minimum insurance you need for your car. It's good to keep in mind that, just because your state may not require extensive insurance, extra coverage may be worth the expense. After all, no one wants to be stuck with thousands of dollars worth of bills because of an auto accident.

The Price of Auto Insurance

There are several factors that affect the price of auto insurance. Of course, prices vary by company and you should compare prices thoroughly before you purchase a policy. The first thing that affects your policy's price is, of course, what kind of car you drive. For instance, a sports car costs more to insure than a family sedan. If you purchase a vehicle that has a high theft rate, your coverage will probably be more expensive. Essentially, though, your coverage will be based on the value of your car.

Another factor that affects auto insurance costs is where you live. If you live in an area where there is a high occurrence of accidents or vandalism, insurance will cost more money. For instance, since more cars are damaged in urban areas than in rural areas, you will probably pay more for insurance if you live in a city.

How often you drive will also affect your insurance costs. The more you drive, the higher the chances you will be an accident. Drivers who have long-distance commutes will pay more than people who live near their workplace. Meanwhile, if you only use your car on weekends, your insurance rates should be lower than someone who commutes to work daily.

The final factors that affect the price of auto insurance have to do with who you are. Your age, sex, marital status and driving record are all taken into account when you buy an insurance policy. Accident rates are higher for drivers under the age of 25, so if you are young, expect to pay a little more. Also, accident rates are higher for young males and single males. It doesn't seem fair, but if you are an unmarried 19-year-old male, your insurance rates will definitely be affected. If your driving record is impeccable, though, your rates will be lower. Obviously, drivers who are prone to traffic violations or accidents will have to pay more for insurance than safe drivers.

If these cost factors are beginning to scare you, don't worry. There are several ways to keep your insurance rates down.

Bringing the Costs Down

There are four main factors that can keep auto insurance rates down. See if you fall into any of the following categories. If you do, you may be able to save money on your car insurance regardless of the value of your automobile.

  1. If you are looking to buy a car, consider buying a car that "looks good" to insurance companies. For instance, insurance companies know what kinds of cars are prone to problems. They also know what kinds of cars are most often stolen. If you haven't purchased your car yet, find out what cars make this "good list" among auto insurers.
  2. Most insurance companies offer discounts for a variety of reasons - for example, good students, having more than one car insured and accident-free driving are all worth a discount. Ask insurance companies about specific discounts that may be available to you.
  3. Consider carpooling or using public transportation to get to work. The less you use your car, the less your insurance will cost you.
  4. Finally, drive carefully! Insurance companies are not happy to insure accident-prone drivers, so the safer you drive, the less you will have to pay for auto insurance.
Remember, don't be afraid to ask your insurance company about any discounts they offer - it could save you a little cash.

Glossary

  1. Deductible - The amount an insured person must pay before the insurance company pays the remainder of each covered loss, up to the policy limits.
  2. Multi-Car discount - A discount offered by some insurance companies for those with more than one vehicle insured on the same policy.
  3. No-Fault Insurance - Many states have enacted auto accident laws permitting auto accident victims to collect directly from their own insurance companies for medical and hospital expenses regardless of who was at fault in the accident. Although there are many legal variations of no-fault insurance, most states still allow people to sue the party at fault if the amount of damages is above a certain state-determined amount.
  4. Personal Auto Policy - The most common auto insurance policy sold today. Often referred to as "PAP," this policy is written in simple wording and provides coverage for liability, medical payments, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, and physical damage protection
  5. Split Limit - Any insurance coverage with separately stated limits for different types of coverage.
  6. Term - The length of time for which a policy is in effect.
  7. Usage - This refers to the primary function or purpose of your vehicle. For example, if you primarily drive your car to and from work, the usage is considered "commute.

Also known as: Vehicle insurance and Car Insurance

Most poppular in: United Kingdom (UK)

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have BWM and made my insurance before 10 days.

I love my can and it was pleasure to spend some money on it :)

Bulgarian properties said...

Nice site. Insurance blogs are often nofollow links. 10x for follow and good luck with insurances

product liability insurance said...

It is great to know different kinds of things covered under auto insurance. I have very less knowledge about auto insurance but today able to know quite details about it . It is only because of you. I would love to insure my car.

Catherine said...

The best car insurance is Kasko ir I don't know how it is spelled right.

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