Auto insurance is used to protect you or someone else from loss resulting from an accident or theft. Depending on the type of coverage, the loss may be suffered by you or by another party. Property damage is primarily thought to be the vehicles involved, but it can also be a utility pole, building, or home. Medical expenses may be doctors and hospitals, but may also involve lost wages or rehabilitation from injuries. Each state has established which coverages and in what amounts a driver must purchase to legally register or operate a vehicle. Banks and finance companies also include mandatory car insurance limits as part of the financing agreement.
At minimum, state laws will require that you carry liability insurance. This consists of three categories of coverage and is normally stated as a series of three numbers. The first number is the maximum the insurance company will pay for injuries suffered by one person in an accident you cause. The second number is the maximum paid for injuries to two or more people injured in the same accident. The third number represents the maximum that will be paid for property damage. Liability does not cover your injuries or the damage to your car. It only covers losses suffered by others in an accident for which you are at fault.
Collision and comprehensive are typically required by your lender when you finance a car. These categories of insurance pay for repairs or replacement of your vehicle if it is stolen, vandalized or wrecked. While you still owe on your car, this type of coverage is primarily protection for the lender. After your note is paid, you have the option of keeping the coverage or dropping it. If your car still has substantial value, you might consider keeping the coverage. You will have to balance the worth of the car against the cost of the insurance.
Uninsured motorists are those that do not have any insurance. Underinsured motorists have a policy with limits that are not high enough to meet actual costs. The limits mandated by most states are quite low, so a driver can meet legal requirements and still not be able to pay for a serious accident. Uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance protects you from damages you incur from either type of driver. Requirements vary, with some states making such coverage mandatory if liability is purchased. Other states make it totally voluntary or merely require the company to offer it to you. You may be asked to sign a waiver to prove you declined the coverage.
Some states require drivers purchase personal injury protection as a sort of no-fault coverage. This policy will cover necessary medical treatment for you as well as your passengers, regardless of which driver is at fault for the accident. However, not every company in every state offers the coverage.
The deductible is the portion of a bill you will need to contribute to a repair. Deductibles are most commonly included for comprehensive and collision. Higher deductibles lower the premium amounts. Often, however, lenders establish limits for deductibles as part of the loan agreement.
There are supplemental coverages you may wish to consider. If you financed a car with little or nothing down, you might want to opt for new car replacement coverage. Under traditional policies, the insurance company will use the depreciated value of the car when determining payment. This can leave you owing a substantial balance to your lender even after the insurance company pays. You might also want to consider towing, which would pay wrecker fees to transport your disabled car. You can also choose coverage for a rental car if your vehicle is stolen or being repaired.
It is advisable to obtain an Sauto insurance quote before you select a policy. Rates vary between companies, based primarily on their past history of losses. It is important to be sure that you compare identical features, including deductible amounts and liability limits. You may want to obtain a car insurance quote from the company with whom you have your homeowners’ policy. You can sometimes save money by “bundling” your insurance policies, but this is not always the case.
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