Frequently Asked Questions
If you're ever involved in an accident, having the right coverage can save you a lot in financial loss and inconvenience. There are several types of auto insurance coverage available:
Bodily Injury Liability is required coverage in most states and applies to injuries that you, as the driver/policyholder, cause to someone else. It pays for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, even funeral expenses for people who are injured in an auto accident (IF you're held responsible for their injuries). Family members listed on your policy are also covered when driving your car with your permission.
Having enough liability insurance is important because, if you're involved in a serious accident, you may be sued for a large sum of money. So, carefully consider whether your chosen coverage gives enough protection against any expenses for which you could legally be held responsible. Expenses are only paid up to the limit of coverage you've selected, so having more than the state-required minimum could provide an important safeguard for assets, such as your home and savings.
Medical Payments or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) pays for the treatment of injuries to the driver and passengers of the policyholder's car. At its broadest, PIP can cover medical payments, lost wages, the cost of replacing the work done by someone injured in the accident, and even funeral costs. And PIP can protect you and your household family members if you're injured while riding in someone else's car.
PIP is optional insurance*, mainly because it may duplicate coverage in your comprehensive health plan. But, many policyholders still carry it so they can cover out-of-pocket expenses their health insurance may not cover (like an annual deductible or co-payments). Another reason for considering PIP when getting your auto insurance quote is to give some protection to passengers in your car who may not have health insurance.
Property Damage Liability is mandatory in most states and pays for damage you (or someone driving your car, with your permission) may cause to someone else's property. Usually, this means someone else's car, but can also include buildings (public and private) and other public property (lamp posts, telephone poles, fences, etc.). And with used autos having such book values nowadays, it makes sense to have enough coverage to repair or replace someone else's car. So, as with Bodily Injury Liability insurance, it's probably better to overestimate your Property Damage Liability coverage.
Collision coverage protects your car and pays for damage to your vehicle when you're in a collision with another car, object, from flipping over, even damage caused by potholes. Typically, collision coverage is sold with a deductible of $250 to $1,000 ó the higher your deductible, the lower your premium.
Even if the accident's your fault, collision coverage will reimburse you for the costs of repairing your car (minus the deductible) up to the limit of the actual cash value of your car. But, if you're not at fault, your insurance company may try to recover the amount they paid you from the other driver's insurance company. If they are successful, you'll also be reimbursed for the deductible.
Comprehensive coverage reimburses you for loss due to theft or damage caused by something other than a collision (like fire, theft, falling objects, earthquakes, hail, floods, vandalism, etc.). Comprehensive auto insurance also pays (with no deductible) for your transportation expenses if it's caused by a covered loss. It'll also reimburse you for cracked windshields (after you pay your deductible).
With damage covered under this policy, you simply pay the deductible amount, and the comprehensive coverage pays the remaining repair or replacement expenses (up to the limit of the actual cash value of your auto). Comprehensive insurance is usually sold with a $100 to $300 deductible, but you can opt for a higher deductible to lower your premium.
States don't require collision or comprehensive coverage, but if you have a car loan, or lease, your lender may insist you carry it until your loan or lease is paid off.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage reimburses you, a family member, or a designated driver, if one of you is hit by an uninsured or hit-and-run driver who's held legally responsible for your injuries. It also covers you if you're hit when you're a pedestrian, paying medical and other related expenses up to the limits of your selected coverage. The policy comes into play when an at-fault driver has insufficient insurance to pay for your total loss.
Wage Loss Benefits coverage is optional. Wage Loss Benefits will be paid when the covered personís injuries prevent the person from engaging in the employment he/she was engaged in immediately prior to the accident. Benefit payment will be made for lost income before taxes subject to both a monthly and a per accident limit. Any change in benefits applies only to losses from future motor vehicle accidents.
Alternative Care coverage is optional. You may purchase coverage for naturopathic, acupuncture, non-medical remedial care, and treatment rendered in accordance with the teachings, faith or belief of any group which relies upon spiritual means through prayer for healing.
Uninsured Motorists Property Damage (UMPD) is an optional coverage that applies when the at-fault driver in an accident has no automobile insurance and the accident results in damage to your covered auto.
This coverage is only available for autos not insured for Collision coverage. It is available in limits between $10,000 to $50,000, is paid based on the actual cash value of the covered auto at the time of the accident, and is subject to a $500 deductible
Extended Transportation Expenses is an optional coverage that pays for a rental car or other transportation (such as bus or taxi) if a covered auto is out of service for more than 24 hours due to a collision or other loss covered under your policy. You must have at least Other Than Collision coverage to be eligible to purchase Extended Transportation Expenses coverage.There are two coverage levels available:
- $15 per day up to a maximum of $450, or
- $30 per day up to a maximum of $900
* Personal Injury Protection may be required if your policy is issued in a state, which has "No Fault", or "Reparations" laws governing your auto insurance.
Knowing what to do if you're ever involved in an accident can save lives and make your claims process easier. Here are a few things to remember:
- Stop your car and find out if anyone is injured.
- Call the police. Tell them your location, how many people are hurt and the types of injuries you observed. If needed, they'll also need to know if the accident's blocking traffic or involves a disabled vehicle. They will then notify the nearest medical personnel.
- You could be ticketed for leaving the scene, so always stay at the scene of an accident until a police officer tells you that you're free to go.
- Turn on your vehicle's flashers to protect yourself, the accident scene, and to warn approaching drivers.
- Exchange vital information with the other driver(s) involved. Take detailed notes on:
- the names, telephone numbers (including cell phone numbers) and addresses of all drivers, passengers and witnesses involved in the accident
- license plate numbers
- the make and model of each car
- driver's license numbers
- insurance identification
- the names and badge numbers of all responding police officers or other emergency personnel
- Ask the investigating officer where you can obtain a copy of the police report, which you'll probably need when you submit your insurance claim.
- Keep copies of all documentation relating to the accident.
- Notify your insurance representative as soon as possible.
- Keep a disposable camera in your car to take pictures of the accident scene and damages.