Automobile Insurance (Personal)

This coverage has two parts. The first is the liability section of the policy. It covers your financial responsibility for injuring others and some coverage is required by most states.

The second part covers the car itself: comprehensive coverage reimburses losses from fire, theft or other perils; collision coverage pays to repair losses caused by an accident. Often this coverage is mandated by leasing companies or banks. There are also ancillary medical, car rental and other coverages which vary by state.

Utilizing high deductibles on the physical damage coverages can help reduce premiums. If you carry umbrella insurance, you must be sure that you carry the required amount of basic liability insurance to avoid a gap in coverage for a serious accident.

Frequently Asked Questions

I have an older car whose current market value is very low – do I really need to purchase automobile insurance?

Most states have enacted compulsory insurance laws that require drivers to have at least some automobile liability insurance, Part A. These laws were enacted to ensure that victims of automobile accidents receive compensation when their losses are caused by the actions of another individual who was negligent.

Except for the minimum liability coverages that you may be required to purchase, many people with older cars decide not to purchase any of the physical damage coverages. It is often the case that the cost of repairing the damages to an older car is greater than its value. In these cases, your insurer will usually just “total” the car and give you a check for the car’s market value less the deductible.

Many people forgo the Part D coverages because of the relatively low values of their vehicles.

Am I covered if I drive someone else’s vehicle?

The coverage provided varies from state to state and you should consult with your insurance agent for details. Generally, you are covered only for liability to the third parties unless the owner is a resident of your household, or the vehicle is furnished for your regular use. In many states, you are not covered for physical damage to the borrowed vehicle. Any coverage provided is over and above the collectible coverage provided by the owner of the vehicle.

What should I do if I have an accident?

The duties you need to perform after you have an accident are prescribed both by state law and by the terms of your contract. Obviously, the first thing you should do is make sure everyone is all right and call an ambulance if one is needed.

Second, for most accidents in most states, the police should be notified.

Third, you should give the other driver(s) involved in the accident your name, address, telephone number, and the name of your insurance company and/or your insurance agent. You also need to get this same information from the other driver(s).

Fourth, at the first opportunity, you should contact us or your insurance company to notify them that you have been involved in an accident.

Finally, there are a number of conditions in the insurance contract that you must satisfy in order to receive compensation from your insurer. For example, you need to cooperate with your insurer during any investigation undertaken during the claims settlement process. Failure to complete any of these actions can, and sometimes does, result in non-payment by your insurance company for losses that otherwise would have been covered.

What factors can affect the cost of my automobile insurance?

A number of factors can affect the cost of your automobile insurance – some of which you can control and some which are beyond your control. The type of car you drive, the purpose the car serves, your driving record, and where you live can all affect how much your automobile insurance will cost you.

Even your marital status can affect your cost of insurance. Statistics show that married people tend to have fewer and less costly accidents than do single people.

What to do in case of an automobile accident?

If anyone is injured, immediately render any possible first aid assistance and call emergency services.

Exchange name, address, and insurance information with the driver of the other car. Record the following information: date, time and place of accident, name and address of owner of the other car, if different from driver driver’s Social Security number and driver’s license number, names and addresses of passengers and witnesses, license number of the other car and the cars of witnesses. Report the accident to the nearest police station and file any necessary reports. Cooperate fully with the police, but do not make any admissions about your liability. Don’t sign any statements for anyone other than an authorized representative of your insurance company. Promptly report the claim to your agent.

Note: If you plan to travel by car in Canada or Mexico, check with your agent for insurance requirements.

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