Reasons for Automobile Insurance
There are several reasons, if you own or drive a car, for you to have automobile insurance. First, with the average cost of a vehicle being as expensive as they are today, few people can afford to replace one without some financial difficulty. Secondly, cost beyond replacement of one’s own automobile can also be very expensive. If you are found liable in an accident, the burden that you may become responsible for could include repair of any other auto involved in the accident, any other property damage, as well as the medical care of anyone injured. In addition to this, if someone were to be permanently injured or killed because of your carelessness, you could also be sued by the injured party or their family. If you were to lose the judgement, you would be responsible for paying legal costs as well as any damages awarded by the court without consideration of it, and how much liability coverage you carry. Finally, most states now have some form of compulsory insurance laws. These laws require drivers to prove they can pay up to a certain amount in case of an accident, typically $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. Many sates will not even issue license plates if a car owner does not have liability insurance. If you are involved in an accident without insurance, and can not pay the minimum, punishment in most states is loss of your driving privilege. Remember, consideration of your insurance needs is not a subject to be taken lightly. Accordingly, this information is not the substitute for the advice of an insurance professional.
Coverages Required by Law
Most states have financial responsibility or compulsory insurance laws. These usually require a driver to prove he can pay up to a certain amount in case of an accident. Typically, these amounts are $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. Most people can guarantee payment only if they have insurance coverage. It is important to note that even if your state requires a minimum amount of personal injury liability insurance, it is probably too low to cover all of your potential losses. Insurance experts recommend the average driver to carry $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident. If you have much to lose, you should consider getting even more insurance and possibly checking into an Umbrella Liability policy. Remember, consideration of your insurance needs is not a subject to be taken lightly. Accordingly, this information is not the substitute for the advice of an insurance professional.
Personal Property Coverage
Personal Property coverage is insurance which pays for the repair of damages caused by your car to another’s property, and for the legal fees you incur as a result. Another’s property usually turns out to be another automobile. This coverage, though, also applies to public and private property such as road signs, bridges or building, up to the limit written into the policy. Most experts in the insurance industry agree that you should have at least $50,000 worth of coverage for personal property. However, expenses could easily approach or surpass this limit when one considers the high cost of replacing an automobile and the costs associated with replacing or repairing road structures or buildings. Remember, consideration of your insurance needs is not a subject to be taken lightly. Accordingly, this information is not the substitute for the advice of an insurance professional.
Coverage for Third Parties
Injuries to a person, or their property, caused by another individual driving your automobile with your permission is included in most personal injury, personal property coverage. There are, though, several things to keep in mind: First -- regardless of the driver, the insurance will still only cover up to the limits written into the policy. The insured driver of the automobile will become personally liable for any injuries or damages as a result of judgements above these limits. Second -- accidents caused by third parties still could against the insured driver’s record. You then become more of a risk to the insurance company, and in order to keep the cost of coverage down for everyone, you will in all probability end up paying more for your insurance at renewal. Third -- it is also within the companies’ rights to cancel the coverage of a person who becomes too great of a risk. And last -- there are several exceptions to the coverage of third parties. The declaration portion of your policy will be more specific, but generally damages caused when your automobile is being used as a public or delivery vehicle, or damages caused while your automobile is being driven by employees of a garage, parking lot or auto sales agency, are not covered.
How to Buy Insurance
There are basically three steps in buying automobile insurance: First -- you should shop around. Not all insurance rates are the same. Before you shop, however, you should already have some idea about what kind and amount of coverage you need. Liability protection should be the highest priority. Most experts agree that you should carry at least $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident, and $50,000 worth of property damage. You should be aware that doubling your liability will result in only slightly higher premiums, so don’t be afraid to protect yourself. If you finance your car, the lending institution will probably require that you have both collision and comprehensive coverage. If they include this cost in your payment, be sure to find out exactly what kind of coverage you have before you have an accident. Also, be aware that you have the right to purchase your insurance from an outside agent of your own choice.
How is Your Insurance Rate Determined
Insurance rates depend on many factors. In fact, the cost of identical car insurance can vary as much as 100% in the same state. Insurance companies charge applicants according to an assessment of the potential degree of risk that an individual presents. In most states, the following are considered:
* Your age, sex and marital status play a very important part. If you are between the ages of 16 and 25, you will pay more than older drivers because that age group tends to have more accidents. The same is true of males as opposed to female drivers, and unmarried as opposed to a married driver.
* Your driving record also plays a big part in determining costs. Drivers who have had more than an average number of accidents or traffic violations will definitely pay a higher premium than drivers with a clean record.
* What kind of car you drive; the make, model and year are additional factors which can affect premiums. The more it will cost the insurance company to repair or replace your vehicle, the more they will have to charge you. Sports cars will also require increased premiums because they are more often stolen, and frequently sustain more damage in accidents.
* The last major factor that determines how much you will pay includes where, how often and how far you will drive your automobile. City drivers will pay more than drivers in rural areas. Every day drivers will pay more than those who use their cars strictly for pleasure, along with those who can substantially decrease their annual miles driven.
Remember, consideration of your insurance needs is not a subject to be taken lightly. Accordingly, this information is not the substitute for advice of an insurance professional.