Who is covered—and when?
Your auto policy will cover you and other family members on your policy, whether driving your insured car or someone else’s car with permission. Your policy also provides coverage if someone not on your policy is driving your car with your consent.
Your personal auto policy only covers personal driving, whether you’re commuting to work, running errands or taking a trip. Your personal auto policy, however, will not provide coverage if you use your car for commercial purposes—for instance, if you deliver pizzas or operate a delivery service. Note, too, that personal auto insurance will generally not provide coverage if you use your car to provide transportation to others through a ride-sharing service such as Uber or Lyft. Some auto insurers, however, are now offering supplemental insurance products (at additional cost) that extend coverage for vehicle owners providing ride-sharing services.
In many states, uninsured coverage is optional, but remember that about 13% of drivers don’t have insurance. You’ll usually have the option of choosing the dollar limits of your coverage. For the bodily injury portion that covers your injuries, consider matching the amount of your liability coverage. Some states will give you no other option but to choose identical limits.
For example, if your limits of liability are $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident, consider choosing the same limits for uninsured motorists coverage and underinsured motorists coverage. If you’re hit by an uninsured driver, each injured passenger(including the driver) can collect up to $50,000. If two passengers collect the full $50,000, then you’ve reached your $100,000 maximum per accident.
Your uninsured motorists property damage (UMPD) limit is a different (and much easier) story. This is the part that covers your car. You can select a limit that closely mirrors the value of your vehicle. If your car is worth $25,000, and you don’t have collision coverage, then you should consider that much in UMPD coverage.
If you rely on your car, rental reimbursement is an inexpensive and invaluable option that you’ll want to consider adding to your auto insurance policy.
On average, a car is in the repair shop for two weeks after an accident and renting a replacement vehicle for that amount of time can be costly. Many insured drivers are surprised to find out that their auto insurance does not automatically cover the cost of their rental because they’ve overlooked the policy option known as rental reimbursement.
Rental reimbursement coverage is available for a nominal extra amount with almost every auto insurance policy, although the option is often bypassed by those who are shopping for the lowest cost premium.
But there are a number of other ways to save money on auto insurance and, if your car is in the shop for an extended period, rental reimbursement can be a bargain. Even if your accident is another driver’s fault, the details of a claim may take time and you may have to wait get his or her insurance company to agree to pay for your rental car. With your own replacement rental coverage, there’s no waiting.
Collision is commonly confused with comprehensive. They’re both optional coverages and pay to repair or replace your car (if it’s totaled). But they cover separate events. In short, collision covers accidents (other than with animals) and comprehensive covers events that are beyond your control such as theft, vandalism, hitting an animal, fire, glass breakage or an act of nature.
Think of it this way: Collision is colliding with another vehicle or object (other than animals). Comprehensive is all other events. Accidents with animals are covered by comprehensive (and not collision) because these accidents are considered out of your control. Also, you can’t add only collision. You have to add comprehensive first and then collision.
People leave stuff in their cars every day. We drop our cell phones in the cup holder, leave a bag on the floor, and throw our golf clubs in the back seat. We’re human, so we forget about this stuff, park, and go inside. It happens. The thing is, sometimes when we come back to our cars, the things we left aren’t where we left them.
Does insurance cover this type of claim? If so, is it your homeowners insurance policy or auto insurance policy?
Some homeowners’ insurance policies treat your car as an extension of your house. That means your personal property coverage would protect almost anything (purses, luggage, camera equipment, electronics…all kinds of things) stolen from your car. This coverage may even be better than what’s offered by comprehensive car insurance! For instance, did you know comprehensive coverage usually doesn’t cover jewelry, clothing, and accessories kept in your car?
Keep in mind, though, that any claim would be subject to a deductible (most likely $500 or $1,000).
If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact our office.
- Towing — If your car breaks down, Roadside Assistance pays to tow it anywhere usually within like a 15-mile radius. It also pays to tow your car to the nearest qualified repair facility, even if it’s farther than 15 miles away.
- Flat Tire Change — We’ll send a professional to you who can change your tire and put the spare on while you wait.
- Locksmith Service — If your keys are lost, stolen or locked in the car, Roadside Assistance covers you. We’ll send a qualified service provider to help recover them. If the keys need replacing, you simply pay for the cost of the keys.
- Battery Jump-Start — When your battery dies, we’ll come to you and jump-start it.
- Emergency Fuel and Fluid Delivery — If you run out of gas, you can have fuel delivered to you. You simply pay for the cost of the fuel; delivery and service are free. Same goes if your car overheats: We’ll deliver the necessary fluids to get you running again, and you pay only the cost of the fluids.
If you lease a car in Colorado, you still need to buy your own auto insurance policy. The auto dealer or bank that is financing the car will require you to buy collision and comprehensive coverage in addition to other state-mandated coverages like liability insurance.
Collision covers the damage to the car from an accident with another automobile or object.
- Comprehensive covers a loss that is caused by something other than a collision with another car or object, such as a fire or theft or collision with a deer.
The leasing company may also require “gap” insurance. If you have an accident and your leased car is damaged beyond repair, there could be a difference between the amount that you still owe the auto dealer and the check you’ll get from your insurance company. That’s because the insurance company’s check is based on the car’s actual cash value which takes into account depreciation. The difference between the two amounts is known as the “gap.”
On a leased car, the cost of gap insurance is generally rolled into the lease payments. You don’t actually buy a gap policy. Generally, the auto dealer buys a master policy from an insurance company to cover all the cars it leases and charges you for a “gap waiver.” This means that if your leased car is totaled, you won’t have to pay the dealer the gap amount. Check with the auto dealer when leasing your car.
If you have an auto loan rather than a lease, you may want to buy gap insurance to protect yourself from having to come up with the gap amount if your car is totaled before you’ve finished paying for it. If you have questions about this coverage, please give our office a call.
There are a number of key factors most insurance companies use to calculate how much you’ll end up paying for your car insurance.
The coverages you choose, where you live, the kind of car you drive, how your car is used, how far it is driven, and who drives the car impact the cost of your car insurance. Below is a look seven key factors that affect your car insurance premiums, as well as some suggestions for keeping the costs down:
1. Your Coverage And Deductibles
Car insurance providers allow you to choose your deductible and decide whether to add additional coverage that isn’t necessarily required by the laws in your state. The specifics of your coverage and deductibles play a major role in your monthly payment.
Additional coverage gives you added financial protection, depending on the claim, but will also add to your monthly costs. Remember that while adjusting your deductible will affect your premiums, the differences in premiums are usually very small.
2. What You Drive
Some insurers increase premiums for cars more susceptible to damage, occupant injury, or theft, and lower rates for those that fare better than the norm.
Some SUVs, for example, rate highly in terms of driver protection and passenger protection, which means discounts on insurance. While some small cars will cost more because of their lower-than-average safety ratings and desirability to car thieves make them more expensive to insure.
3. How Often, And How Far, You Drive
People who use their car for business and long-distance commuting normally pay more than those who drive less. The more miles you drive in a year, the higher the chances of an accident – regardless of how safe a driver you are. If you reduce your total annual driving mileage enough, you may lower your premiums.
4. Where You Live
Generally, due to higher rates of vandalism, theft, and accidents, urban drivers pay more for car insurance than do those in small towns or rural areas.
5. Your Driving Record
Drivers who cause accidents generally must pay more than those who are accident-free for several years.
And even though you can’t rewrite your driving history, having an accident on your record can be an important reminder always to drive with caution and care. As time goes on, the effect of past accidents on your premiums will decrease.
6. Your Credit History
It has been shown certain credit information helps predict future insurance claims. Where applicable, many insurance companies use credit history to help determine the cost of car insurance. Maintaining good credit can have a positive impact on the cost of your car insurance.
7. Your Age, Sex, And Marital Status
Accident rates are higher for all drivers under age 25, especially young males and single males. Insurance prices in most states reflect these differences.
If you’re a student, you might also be in line for a discount. Most car insurers provide discounts to student-drivers who maintain good grades. In some states, younger drivers are also able to take driver safety courses that will lower premiums.