Auto Insurance Coverage Basics

Even a slight fender bender in a parking lot can ruin your day. Road accidents can turn a good day into a wild one, but you should not let it ruin your life. You pay auto insurance coverage not only to comply with the law, but you pay it to protect your assets. If you drive a car, you need to have auto insurance coverage. There are different types of auto coverage; the states require you to have some, but insurance companies suggest you to purchase more. The following passages explain key features of the most important auto coverage.

· Liability Coverage: this coverage comes in two different types including Bodily Injury and Property Damage. In the event of road accidents for which you are liable, the insurance company will pay for the damages and injuries that you cause. Liability coverage prevents you from spending too much on medical payments or repairs for someone else’s injuries and property damage.

· Personal Injury Protection (PIP): it covers medical payment and other expenses for your injuries regardless of who is at fault in an accident.

· Medical Payments: in case the PIP coverage reaches its limit for other expenses following an accident, separate medical payments coverage can be helpful. Sometimes you can use it in conjunction with your health insurance as well.

· Collision: it covers repair cost for any damage to your vehicles due to an accident. It may include paint job, replacement parts, broken windscreen, and engine repair.

· Comprehensive: this coverage covers damages to your vehicle due to non-accident causes. Some common causes are fire, theft, vandalism and falling objects.

· Underinsured and uninsured motorists: in case you are involved in an accident with another driver who does not have enough insurance or no insurance at all, this coverage requires your insurance company to remunerate for the damages to your vehicle.

Every state has different rules regarding auto insurance. Depending on where you live, you may need to purchase all the above coverage or only some of them. The limit of each coverage policy is subject to insurance laws too. This table lists the recommended limits for common types of coverage.

Deductibles & Limits

Bodily injury: $100,000 per person, $300,000 per accident

Property damage: $100,000 per accident

Personal Injury Protection: Either deductible or no deductible; it can be optional or mandatory depending on the state. Either deductible or no deductible; anyone with an existing health insurance may not need to purchase this coverage.

Collision: $500 to $1,000

Comprehensive: $500 to $1,000

Uninsured motorist: $100,000, but if this coverage is less

Underinsured motorists: $100,000

More Optional Coverage

Collision and Comprehensive are optional, but they are important. Even when the state does not list them as mandatory, they are still necessary and worth the money. Apart from those two, insurance companies also offer other optional coverage including:

· Rental Reimbursement: your insurer provides an amount of money as compensation for transportation expense during the period when your car is in the shop for repair after an accident. The amount depends on the company’s policy. The money should be enough to rent a car until your car is ready to go again.

· Roadside Assistance: it can be helpful in case your engine breaks down in the middle of nowhere that you need towing service to a repair shop. Some car manufacturers provide this service free of charge with the purchase of a car, so you may not need to buy this coverage.

Money-saving Tips

Auto insurance does not come cheap, but there are ways to save money on premium. One of the ways is to make use of insurance discounts available from most insurers. Even when you are not eligible, you can reduce the premium by increasing deductible or use a car that meets the insurer’s safety requirements.

A deductible is like reserve cash from you for the insurance company. You can consider this a down payment for the premium. If you pay more for down payment, your monthly installments for premium will be less. Increasing deductible from $250 to $500 can reduce up to 30% of the premium. If you can afford it, going for more deductible is a good decision. Many types of coverage allow for the deductible, but you should focus on Liability Coverage.

The financial impact of an accident for which you are liable can be devastating; total cost of car repair and medical payments can reach hundreds of thousands. By increasing the limit of liability coverage, you have better financial protection from the insurance company. However, higher limit means higher premium, and this is why you should consider increasing deductible.

Collisions and Comprehensive are optional.

The basic rule is that you should purchase both if your car is worth at least ten times the amount you pay for those two coverage types. For many older cars, Comprehensive and Collision coverage are not worth the money. Omitting them can save much money.

New cars are not always more expensive to insure than old ones.

New cars have better safety equipment and protective features to keep the driver and passengers save for examples airbag and restraint system. Alarm system and anti-theft equipment are good safety features as well.

Most auto insurance companies offer discounts for such features.

If your car does not have them, consider installing third-party safety equipment to be eligible for the discounts. A safer car is less risky, and insurance companies are grateful for that.