Auto Insurance

Auto Insurance

Auto Insurance

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What is auto insurance?

Auto insurance protects you from financial liability in incidents involving your vehicle. It can help save you from medical costs involved with bodily injury. It also covers property damage to both you and your property, and other people involved in the accident if you’re at fault. Car insurance is required in many states and is illegal to drive a vehicle without it.

What car insurance covers.

In general, car insurance covers damage, vandalism, and theft of your vehicle, but specific policies will have different types of coverage. Each car insurance policy is made up of at least one of the following:

Liability insurance: Covers damage you cause to others in an accident. It is made up of bodily injury and property damage.

Collision insurance: Collision insurance covers your vehicle in case of a collision.

Personal injury protection: Covers medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. It’s required in “no-fault” states because it pays regardless of legal liability.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance: If you’re in an accident with an uninsured driver and they’re at fault, uninsured motorist insurance means you’ll still be covered. Like liability insurance, bodily injury and property damage are covered here, but for you instead of the other driver.

Is car insurance legally required?

Car insurance is required in every state (and Washington DC) except New Hampshire, Missouri (uninsured drivers must submit a “proof of financial responsibility”), and Virginia (where drivers must pay a $500 fee to drive uninsured). These states still require at-fault drivers to pay for any bodily injury and property damage.

Between each state’s auto insurance requirements, however,  is how much of each type of coverage is needed. Both bodily injury and property damage liability coverage is required in almost every state, and some states require personal injury protection and uninsured motorist coverage as well. Customers should personally verify specific insurance requirements, as each state also has its own minimum liability limits, presented as bodily injury limit for a single person, bodily injury limit on the entire accident, and property damage limit.

The average cost of car insurance.

The amount an individual will pay depends on a number of factors beyond just the coverage amount, including:

  • Personal details
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Marital status
  • Driving record
  • Location
  • Type of car
  • Average driving distance

You may have seen or read that men pay more than women for car insurance. This is true, because statistically men are more likely to engage in risky driving practices like speeding and driving under the influence, which results in more accidents. Massachusetts, Hawaii, and North Carolina do not allow gender to play a role in auto insurance rates, so drivers in those states don’t have to worry.

Age is one of the biggest factors in car insurance rates, and rates begin to go down every time you renew your policy, with a bigger drop happening at around 25 years of age.

An easy way to lower your auto insurance cost is by looking for a number of car insurance discounts. Affinity group members, students, and safe drivers can all get discounts. People who have newer vehicles and bundle their auto insurance with other insurance types (like their homeowners insurance) can also get discounts from most carriers.

How car insurance works.

Some people are hesitant to file a car insurance claim, fearing that their premiums will increase even if they aren’t at fault. However, this isn’t necessarily true, and an insurance company will look at the damage involved and who is responsible for the accident before deciding whether or not a claim results in a rate increase. If you find yourself in an auto accident, whether it’s a fender bender or your car is totalled, exchange insurance information with any involved parties. Even damage that looks cosmetic may have comprehensive damage that you can’t see, so you should file a claim.