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Educate Yourself before Requesting Auto Insurance Quotes
Most of us only think about auto insurance once or twice a year, when our policy renewal paperwork arrives in the mail. Even then, many of us just carry forward our existing policy limits without ever delving deeper into the types of coverage available. We do not fully understand what liability insurance covers, or the difference between a fault and no-fault state. Educate yourself before paying your next auto insurance bill, and consider using that newly gained information to shop around for auto insurance quotes. To help, here are basic definitions for different types of coverage:
Collision Coverage – If you crash into another vehicle or an object, this auto insurance coverage generally pays repair expenses or replacement value, minus your deductible. Leased vehicles or those that have an outstanding loan normally require this coverage.
Liability Insurance – If you cause an accident, this auto insurance coverage protects you against financial losses stemming from the other party's bodily injury (medical expenses, loss of income) or property (automobile, fence) damage. Most states require a minimum amount of this type of coverage before they will issue a driver's license or vehicle registration. When obtaining auto insurance quotes, ask the agent what the minimums are – if any – for your state.
Comprehensive Coverage – This auto insurance coverage pays for damage resulting from a variety of occurrences, including fire, theft, riots, weather-related acts, and collision with animals, minus your deductible. Vehicles with an outstanding loan and leased vehicles are usually required to have this coverage. When you request an auto insurance quote, be sure to ask about customized equipment coverage, which falls under this type of coverage. It automatically covers optional equipment, such as entertainment players or navigation systems, if they are permanently installed where a manufacturer would normally install such equipment.
Medical Payments Coverage – If you are a passenger and are injured in an accident involving your vehicle, this auto insurance coverage pays medical bills or funeral expenses. Ask the agent you speak with regarding auto insurance quotes whether or not a policy covers you or a family member if injured while riding in someone else's vehicle or struck by a vehicle while on foot.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage – This auto insurance coverage pays for medical costs, lost wages and pain and suffering that are a result of accident with a driver who does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance to cover your expenses. You, insured members of your household and your passengers are all covered. This auto insurance also covers these expenses if the accident was a hit-and-run. Many states require this type of coverage, and agents will let you know if your state does when providing auto insurance quotes.
No-Fault States vs. Fault States – In a no-fault state, your auto insurance company indemnifies you regardless of who caused an accident. You are limited in your rights to sue to recover damages, while in a fault state you are not. Many no-fault states also require personal injury protection, which expands upon the costs covered by medical payments coverage.
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