Car insurance is not only required for car owners in the United States, it is also an important tool for protecting yourself should you have an accident. But there is often an assumption that when you buy “full coverage” it means you are covered for everything. That’s not the case. So, don’t wait until something happens to understand what is covered and what you’ll have to pay for yourself.
What is Covered
There are a few main types of coverage you can purchase to protect yourself. Each applies to specific incidents/situations.
Bodily Injury Liability
This coverage will be used if you, as the driver or policyholder, cause injury to others. This cover is for bodily injury only. If anyone you have listed on the policy causes injury while driving someone else’s car, they will be covered too. See below for the type of coverage that applies to property damage.
Property Damage Liability
Like bodily injury coverage, but this coverage is for property. If you or someone who is driving your car (as long as they have permission) causes damage to someone else’s property this coverage will kick in.
When you have damage that results from a collision with another vehicle, or with an immovable object like a telephone pole. You’ll likely have an associated deductible with this coverage, which is the amount you have to pay if you are at fault for the accident before the insurance company money will kick in.
Comprehensive coverage is used when your damage is due to theft, fire, hail, earthquake and the like. Essentially, damaged not caused by a collision with another car or object. This includes vandalism also. There is an associated deductible, like with collision coverage, but you may be able to get coverage for glass damage without a deductible from some auto insurance companies.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or Medical Payments
If you, as the policyholder, or someone riding in your car sustains injuries in an accident you PIP coverage will kick in. This can cover the cost of medical expenses but can also be used for lost wages.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
This type of coverage is used if you are hit by an uninsured driver or by a driver who does not have enough insurance to cover your costs. Uninsured and Underinsured coverage also protects you if you are the victim of a hit and run accident or you are hit as a pedestrian by an un- or underinsured driver.
What is Not Covered
Even if you have full coverage, meaning liability, collision and comprehensive insurance, there are still many things that are not covered. Here are a few.
Your personal belongings that are in your car are not covered by auto insurance. If they are damaged or stolen, you’ll have to try for reimbursement through your renters’ or homeowners’ insurance.
Wear and Tear
General maintenance of your vehicle due to normal wear and tear are not covered by traditional auto insurance.
A high-end stereo system, navigation system or other customizations to your vehicle are not automatically covered. If they are high value, you should consider including them explicitly.
The bottom line is that you should be clear about what your auto insurance policy covers and what it does not. If you want better coverage, it may be wise to shop around. Use the InsuranceWins quote form to see competing rates and find the most for your money. Try it now!