All You Need to Know About Automobile Insurance
Automobile Insurance comes in two parts- liability insurance which serves as a safeguard against financial hardship by indemnifying you in the event of an at-fault auto accident where you cause bodily injury or property damage. The second feature of an automobile insurance policy provides payment for damages to your vehicle. All states except New Hampshire and Wisconsin, require vehicle owners to carry liability insurance.
Types of Coverages
A basic Automobile Insurance policy contains these coverages:
Bodily Injury Liability and Property Damage Liability
- Bodily Injury Insurance covers the costs of personal injury you cause others, such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. It also covers legal fees in the event you are sued.
- Property Damage Insurance compensates others to replace or repair property that you damage or destroy (other vehicles, fences, buildings, etc.).
- There is usually no deductible included on Automobile Liability Insurance.
- Pays to repair your own vehicle after an accident.
- Coverage applies after deductible is met. Example, Damage to your vehicle is $5,000 and your collision deductible is $500 the total amount paid by the insurance company will be $4,500.
- Pays for damages to your car that were not caused by an accident, such as fire, theft, vandalism, natural disasters, hitting an animal, etc.
- Glass coverage is also covered under this portion of the policy.
- Coverage applies after deductible is met.
- Medical Payments (MedPay) coverage compensates for medical expenses for the driver and his/her passengers as a result of an accident, regardless of who was at fault.
Personal Injury Protection and No-Fault Coverage
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage pays for medical expenses and lost wages for the driver and his/her passengers who are injured in an accident. PIP also covers funeral expenses, and is required in 16 states.
- No-fault coverage pays for losses, regardless of who was at-fault in the accident.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists Coverage
- Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage pays for medical bills and damage to your vehicle if you vehicle is hit by a driver who does not have automobile insurance or if you are involved in a hit and run accident. This coverage is required in most states.
- Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage takes effect when you are hit by a driver who does not have enough automobile insurance to cover all of your medical bills and/or property damage. In this circumstance, the at-fault driver’s insurance would pay to its maximum, and then your UIM coverage pays the remainder up to your policy maximum so you will not be left “high and dry,” so to speak.
Optional Additional Coverages
There are several important endorsements available to enhance your automobile coverage and ensure that your business vehicles are properly covered. Here are just a few:
- Rental Reimbursement coverage pays for a rental car if your vehicle is lost or stolen.
- Loss of earnings coverage reimburses you for lost income when your vehicle is unusable and a substitute is not available.
- Towing and Labor coverage pays for fees as a result of breakdowns.
- Gap coverage for new vehicles pays the difference between the actual cash value of the vehicle and the remainder left on a vehicle lease or loan if the vehicle is totaled.