- Auto Insurance
- Recreational Vehicle Insurance
- Motorcycle Insurance
- Watercraft Insurance
Today, a motor vehicle accident occurs every second. Auto accidents cause an injury every 14 seconds, and every 13 minutes a car accident results in a fatality. More than 31 million accidents occur annually at a cost of more than $100 billion. Theft and vandalism are other major perils, with a vehicle being stolen every 20 seconds.
With more than 150 million drivers and registered vehicles on the road today, auto insurance is the most widely purchased of all property-casualty insurance, yet few drivers are familiar with the details.
When you buy an auto insurance policy, you are buying a package of individual coverages. Each coverage protects you against different types of losses. Once you understand the various coverages, you can decide which ones to include in your personal insurance package. You can also determine the limits of coverage you will need. The following are some common coverages found in an auto policy. NOTE - Your policy may not contain all of these coverages.
Types of Auto Insurance (rollover for definition)
Bodily Injury (BI) Liability Coverage pays, up to the coverage limits, for damages due to injury or death of others in a vehicle accident for which you or the operator of your vehicle are legally responsible. It also pays your legal defense costs. In most states this coverage is mandatory.
Property Damage (PD) Liability Coverage pays, up to the coverage limits, for another individual's vehicle or property that has been damaged in an accident for which you or the operator of your vehicle is legally responsible. In most states this coverage is also mandatory.
Medical Payments Coverage pays, up to the coverage limits, for reasonable and necessary doctor, hospital and funeral expenses for you and your passengers injured or killed in an accident, regardless of who is at fault. Payments are usually limited to one to three years after the accident. This coverage is optional in most states without no-fault insurance systems.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists (UM/UIM) Coverage pays up to the coverage limits for pain and suffering which is not covered by medical, disability and PIP. Underinsured motorist coverage pays for bodily injury to you or your family resulting from the negligence of someone whose liability insurance limits are insufficient. The definition of an underinsured motorist varies from state to state.
Collision Coverage pays, up to the coverage limits, for damage to your vehicle or a vehicle you are operating caused by a collision or rollover. This coverage is usually required if you have a vehicle loan.
Comprehensive Physical Damage Coverage pays, up to the coverage limits, for damage to your vehicle or any vehicle in your custody resulting from theft, fire, vandalism, flooding, hail or other perils (but not damage by collision or overturning). It is usually required if you have a vehicle loan.
Rental Reimbursementpays up to a specified amount for rental vehicle charges while your vehicle is being repaired for damage covered under your policy. If you prefer not to incur the cost of renting a vehicle yourself and cannot be without a vehicle while yours is being repaired, you might consider this coverage.
Towing and Laborcovers some costs incurred for services rendered at the place of breakdown or for towing to a repair shop. It covers the delivery of gas, oil or a battery, but not the cost of these items. If you lock the keys in the vehicle or need a tire changed, this may also be covered. These services are often included in auto club memberships, which can result in unnecessary duplicate coverage.
FAQ Auto Insurance
What happens when I loan my car to someone? Is that person covered by my policy? Am I still covered?
Yes. Liability and coverage for physical damage (i.e., comprehensive and collision) follows your car. If a friend borrows your car and has an accident, you're still protected against the cost of damages or injuries. And, if the driver of your car is insured, his/her policy may also be available to cover the cost of damages and injuries. It is the same for you if you borrow someone else's vehicle. Your own insurance follows you no matter whose car you are driving. But the vehicle owner's policy is the primary coverage if you have an accident.
Why are rates different for different cars, even if the cars cost the same?
Vehicles are grouped into categories according to the statistics of those types of cars being damaged, vandalized or stolen. Insurers generally consider the size and type of vehicle, as well as the value and the cost of repairs (which can vary greatly, even on vehicles that cost roughly the same).
Safety is key when buying an automobile! Some cars are considered safer than others because of their performance record in safety tests and real accidents. It helps to research insurance coverage before you buy your car.
What is No-Fault Insurance?
No-fault does away with the concept of one party or the other being at fault. It eliminates lengthy lawsuits and so helps to helps keep rates down. Florida is a no-fault state.
How can I Lower my Rates?
Insurers generally offer discounts for:
- Safety Features—Anti-lock brakes, air bags and passive restraint systems (i.e., automatic seat belts).
- Defensive Driving—Clean violation record, driver's education courses for teenagers and defensive driving or accident prevention courses for adults (insurance discounts for the latter are required in some states).
- Security Systems—Alarms, electronic locks and disabling devices.
- Changing Driving Habits—Commuting by public transit, using a company vehicle for work-related travel and car-pooling.
- Formal Agreements Not to Drink and Drive—The availability of a discount for signing such an agreement varies among insurers and states.
- Buying Homeowners and Auto Policies from the Same Company—If you own a home and an automobile and you are insured by two different companies, check into the cost of carrying both policies by one insurer. Your agent can give you guidance as to which insurers offer discounts.
You can also lower your insurance rates by requesting higher deductibles (the amount of money you pay before you make a claim). Increasing your deductibles on collision and comprehensive coverage from $100 to $250, or even $500, will bring your rates down. Moreover, you may not need collision and comprehensive coverage if you drive an older car.