Do I Need More Than Liability Insurance?

more-liability-insuranceEvery state in the nation except for Wisconsin and New Hampshire requires that you have liability insurance. The level of mandatory coverage varies from state to state. It is easy to think that this is enough to protect yourself and your property in the event of an accident, particularly since you expect them to be a relatively rare event in your life. Liability insurance represents the bare minimum of coverage however. It is the lowest amount of insurance coverage that your state thought that you could get away with.

As a result, having only liability insurance can lead to your being woefully underinsured, particularly if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver. You might be covered, but if someone else is injured in an accident where you are at fault, their medical expenses might not be totally covered. If they decide to sue you for damages, you will have no protection for your personal property.

Additional insurance can cover the costs of repair for damages caused by natural disasters like fir or flood as well. It can even help protect you in the event of a breakdown, coving roadside assistance or towing. Although further insurance coverage can add up, you can raise your deductible to help keep your monthly costs down. In the end, you’ll be glad you have the coverage when the moment arrives that you finally need it.

How Do I Make A Car Insurance Claim?

car-insurance-claimIn the event of an accident, you will need to be prepared to make a car insurance claim. Knowing what to do ahead of time can greatly ease the stress of a potentially unpleasant process. The good news is that most claims are for physical damage to vehicles, not personal injury. Begin the process of filing a claim at the accident site, where you should make sure you call the police and medical assistance to treat any injuries. Exchange as much information as possible with the other driver, make sure you get contact information, license plate numbers, and complete insurance information from them. Ask the police to file either an accident or an incident report to provide a third party record of the accident. This will help determine the fault of the accident later on.

Once you have done all this, call your insurance company and file a claim with them. They will walk you through the process. They will consider your story, the other party’s story, the police report, witnesses, damage at the scene, and their own assessment of the damage in making decisions about the case. The accident can be either your or the other party’s fault or in some states, like Alaska, it can be considered comparative negligence and your settlement will be based on a degree of fault. If the accident is the other party’s fault, contact their insurance to file a claim. You will make a statement about the accident and an adjustor will determine the extent of the damage. Then, depending on the fault, you will receive a settlement from one of the two companies.

What Is Full Coverage Car Insurance?

full-coverage-car-insuranceFull coverage car insurance is a somewhat deceptive term. Although it has no concrete meaning in the insurance industry, it is frequently used to describe policies. It is most often used to describe physical damage coverage that consists of collision and comprehensive coverage. The term full coverage can also be used by an insurance agent describing physical damage coverage in combination with the state required coverage in your area. This can vary greatly from state to state, in Montana only liability insurance is required where as Georgia has minimum required bodily injury liability and minimum required property damage liability. These variances mean that the term full coverage can describe completely different things in different places.

Physical damage coverage is made up of comprehensive and collision insurance and is meant to cover the majority of types of physical damages that could affect your vehicle. Comprehensive insurance coverage covers the vehicle you are driving in the event of damage or loss due to events other than collision with another vehicle. This includes natural disasters like flood or fire. Collision insurance, as you might expect, covers collisions between your vehicle and others. These types of coverage are most useful in protecting newer vehicles in excellent condition as they generally pay out the blue book value of the car in the event of a claim. An older vehicle might cost more to insure than would ever be paid out if it were damaged.

Things To Look For In A Car Insurance Agent

car-insurance-agentAn insurance agent can be of invaluable assistance in guiding you though the maze of choosing the best insurance policy as well as the best insurance company for your needs. The first thing you should know about an insurance agent is whether he is an independent agent or one who works for a specific insurance company. Although most insurance companies are offering policies for direct purchase these days, there are still many with dedicated local agents in their employ. Unless you have a personal relationship with a specific agent or company, you may want to look at an independent agent whose knowledge of a variety of companies and their policies can provide you with a certain amount of flexibility in your choice.

An independent agent will know how the service a company offers varies and what the best options are for you in Washington versus your cousin in Nevada. He or she offers personalized service that a directly purchased policy might not. Still, you should ask your agent a few questions. Know how the agent is compensated and agree on any fee in writing before purchasing a policy. Ask your agent who they do business with and which carriers they work with most often. Finally, make sure that you feel comfortable with your agent, as you will need to discuss very specific financial information with them. You will need to be able to turn to them with all of your questions and concerns regarding the policy.

Things To Look For In A Car Insurance Company

look-for-insurance-companyChoosing an insurance company is both intensely personal and immensely important. By the time you need them, when you file a claim, it is too late to make another choice. You need the first company you choose to be the one that is right for you.

There are several different factors that you should consider when you make this choice. The obvious factor is price. You should be prepared to begin compiling a list of prospective companies by collecting a variety of personalized insurance quotes. Insurance money is money you don’t expect to get back so you want to make sure that you are not paying any more than you need to for your coverage. The next things you want to consider are your company’s ratings with services like J.D. Powers and associate, AMBest, and your state’s department of insurance website. If you can’t find your state look for trends in the numbers of complaints across several states. Choose a variety like Minnesota, Florida, and Vermont for a good picture. This will help you predict the quality of the company’s service. Check into the customer service and the claims systems of you choices as well. You can call the companies with simple questions to check customer service. For the claims system, you will need to talk with other consumers. Ask your friends and acquaintance about their insurance companies and their experiences with them.

With So Many Car Insurance Companies, How Do I Choose?

choose-car-insuranceCar insurance companies proliferate these days. With the removal all over the country of laws protecting local insurance companies, national and internet-based chains have expanded the consumer’s options immensely. All of these companies, local, national, and internet are in fierce competition for your insurance dollar. The result can be pure confusion for the inexperienced insurance shopper. Luckily there are several commonly available sources of information on insurance companies that can help you arrive at an informed decision. The key, as always, is to do your research.

Begin an insurance search by determining the type of policy you are looking for and gathering the quotes you need to narrow the list down to a few competitors. Once you have done that, take your list to the authorities. Look the companies you have chosen up on your state’s department of insurance website. Whether you are in Iowa or Ohio, you can use this resource to discover what the rate of complaint against each company is. You want an insurance company that will process your claim quickly and pay on time and in full. Try talking to local body shops that you have a relationship with. They can share their experiences with the companies in question and reveal who processes claims without a hitch and who pushes aftermarket parts. There are other resources that can reveal information about your prospective choices as well; the J.D. Power and associates ratings and the companies’ financial standings are good places to start. One other resource you might consider is an insurance agent. An agent has a vested interest in your happiness

What If My Car Insurance Lapses?

car-insurance-lapsesA lapse in your car insurance coverage is something that you should avoid at all costs. The results can have a powerful impact on your credit history as well as your legal right to drive and even your ability to obtain coverage in the future. Everyone makes mistakes however, or allows an odd bill or notice to slip through the cracks. If you realize that you have allowed your insurance to lapse you should contact your insurance company immediately to try and resolve the problem.

If you do not realize this in time, your insurance company will notify the proper agencies that you do not have insurance coverage. Your non-payment will appear in your credit history and lower your credit score. Once government agencies have been notified of your lapse, you will receive a notice requiring you to pay a lapse fee and obtain the minimum legal coverage. You will be required to show proof of insurance to the proper authorities when you have done so. Failure to comply can result in the suspension of your license or registration. It gets worse; if you are caught driving without insurance you may be subject to fines and vehicle impoundment.

If you are involved in an accident while you are not insured you may be responsible for the damages to one or both vehicles depending on whether you are at fault. In states like Louisiana with no pay, no play laws, you cannot collect on bodily injury or property damage claims if you are uninsured. Without insurance, you are completely unprotected. If your car insurance lapses, do your best to reinstate it as soon as possible.

Do I Really Have To Have Car Insurance?

car-insuranceYes. You not only really have to have car insurance; you will inevitably find that you really need it. To begin with, in most states some level of insurance is required by law. Getting into an accident without proper insurance coverage in a place like Oregon can land you in a world of hurt. But even without the law, having some car insurance is just sensible. The fact of the matter is that a car is one of the most expensive items that you will buy in you life. It’s an investment and you want to treat it as such.

No matter how skilled and defensive a driver you are, you will inevitably get into an accident at some point in your life. Car insurance cannot protect you from that, but it can help you protect yourself financially in the event of an accident. If the accident is your fault, the proper insurance will help you cover the damages to the other parties involved. Regardless of whose fault it is, your insurance will help you protect your investment. Car insurance can also have other benefits. It can help pay for medical bills after a crash, protect you from uninsured or under insured drivers, and it can cover the effects of natural disasters. Some policies include perks like roadside assistance or free towing service. These services can greatly ease the stress and difficulty associated with a breakdown. Car insurance is literally, legally required and even if it weren’t, it just makes sense to have it. It is the single most important thing you can do to provide yourself with peace of mind on the road.

Getting Overseas Car Insurance

car-insurance-overseasThe key to a pleasant trip is planning ahead. When it comes to car insurance, this is especially important. Whether you are living overseas, or just visiting you need to know that you will be covered ahead of time, so that if something does happen, you’ll be protected. Although most stateside insurance policies are ineffective once you are overseas, you can arrange for coverage purchased specifically for overseas use.

Begin by finding an insurance company that will cover you in the area where you will be. There are U.S. companies that have subsidiaries and partnerships with overseas insurance companies. This means that its possible that the same company that will cover you in South Dakota will also be there for you in Belgium. This can be reassuring if you already have a relationship with a specific insurance agency. You should be able to get liability, collision, and comprehensive insurance from your chosen company in most countries.

Generally you should plan for coverage similar in nature to what you have at home. Do your research and make sure you know what types of coverage are required for visitors to the country in question. You can get this information, as well as other important information on requirements for foreign drivers, from the local embassy. Make sure you will be able to sign and read any necessary documentation in English. With the proper insurance, you can drive comfortably throughout your stay overseas.

When Traveling To Other Countries, Will Your Car Insurance Cover You?

car-insurance-countriesThere are a lot of variables to consider when planning a trip to another country. One important, although easy to overlook, consideration is car insurance. If you are going to be driving outside the U.S. you want to know that you will be covered in the event of an accident. Coverage outside the U.S. is dependant on a number of things. For instance, if you are driving your own vehicle from Arizona to Mexico, you’ll need to purchase insurance from a Mexican insurer. These are the only insurers recognized in that country. If you are driving a personal vehicle in Canada, however, you are covered by your American insurance as long as you are a tourist. If you are renting a vehicle you may be covered adequately by your own insurance, you may need to purchase rental insurance, or you may be able to access limited secondary insurance via the credit card you have used to pay.

For your peace of mind you should be aware of your insurance needs before you leave the country. Know whether you plan to driver your own vehicle or rent. Contact the embassies in the countries you plan to drive in for information on the legal requirements for insurance as well as for driver’s licenses and permits. Above all, make sure you contact your insurance company to let them know your plans and learn about your coverage.