For most of us, what we drive to work or school every day is just 4 wheels, a stereo, and a way to get from A to B. But make sure this metal beast protects you from potential lawsuits after an at-fault accident. There is much more to know and understand about auto insurance. We break it down for you here to help make a very boring and confusing topic a little less so.
Of course, the following are general terms and descriptions, not legal explanations or guarantees. Your goal is to get as much insurance protection as possible within your budget. The lowest price is never the best policy because it can cost you tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket, and when your insurance money runs out, people start suing each other. This is evidenced by the fact that you cannot drive 5 miles in Los Angeles without seeing a billboard for a car accident attorney.
Fortunately, even though there is no shortage of car insurance companies, they all offer the same coverage options in California, making it easy to compare prices or shop around. Whenever you receive auto quotes, be sure to send them in writing so you can easily compare them to your current policy line by line.
Injuries: Pays for injuries to others if you are legally responsible (fault) for an accident. The state minimum is $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident, but you should go much higher than that to protect yourself. It’s just not enough coverage, and while you might think, sue me, I’m broke. The reality is that any legal issues you may face are incredibly stressful and time-consuming, so any time your insurance company can pay out and make the situation go away, that’s money well spent! The maximum personal injury amount offered is $250,000 per person and $500,000 per accident, with several options between these low and high amounts.
Property damage: This is the property damage you cause in an accident and compensation for damage to your car(s) or building(s). This is not for your own car. If you choose to add this to your policy, your car is protected by comprehensive collision insurance. Given the number of expensive cars on the road and the potential for multi-car accidents, the state minimum of $10,000 for property damage should be much higher. The highest bid is usually $250,000.
Bodily injuries of an uninsured driver: This protects you and your passengers against bodily injury in the event of an uninsured driver collision, but also acts as an UNINSURED motorist when the other party is at fault, has insurance but has less injury protection than your own policy. In this case, on a covered claim, your company collects as much as it can from the other company and then pays you the difference up to your policy limits. The maximum is $250,000 per person/$500,000 per accident.
Uninsured Motorist/Accident Property Damage Deductible Waiver: If your car doesn’t have collision protection, it will pay for damages to your own car (up to $3,500) if there’s evidence that an uninsured driver caused the accident. In this scenario, hit and run may not work unless the person is caught. If you have collision coverage for that vehicle, this property damage clause does not apply, but it will turn into a collision deductible waiver that can waive your collision deductible in the same no-fault accident, so sometimes you you will not have to pay an insurance deductible.
Medical payments: Covers medical and funeral expenses for each person in your vehicle, regardless of fault, as long as those injuries are not covered by other means (another insurance company, your health insurance company, etc.). In some cases, you will have to pay medical bills and wait for reimbursement. Most policies offer up to $5,000 or $10,000 per person. As a general claims payment, it is important to add and keep medical in every car policy, even if you have good health insurance.
Complex and collision: Collision pays the current market value of your insured vehicle in the event of a collision, regardless of who is at fault, after your deductible has been met. Comprehensive protects you against things like vandalism and theft. Also glass damage such as stone impact and cracks in the windshield while driving. Deductibles range from $50 to $2,500. Although a higher deductible will lower your rate, it’s not always a big savings, so you shouldn’t assume that a high deductible is best because it could cause financial hardship for you. As cars age, you may want to remove comprehensive and collision from your vehicle. It’s called “Liability Only” and despite the nice savings, you’re giving up any damage protection for your car!
Car for rent: Pays for your car rental through a covered claim while your car is being actively repaired. $30-$100 per day, up to 30 days. Car rental coverage is only available for vehicles that have both comprehensive and collision coverage. Since it’s hard to find a car for $30 a day these days, we highly recommend being on the higher end of that coverage spectrum with at least $50 a day for a rental car.
Towing and decommissioning: Just like with AAA, your carrier offers 24/7 roadside assistance when you add this coverage to your policies, which are often available at different levels of coverage. Whatever level you choose, the prices will be very low. So much so that many customers end up canceling AAA instead of their auto insurance on the road, but of course there are many other benefits to having AAA. Also, sometimes it’s just fun to say AAA. Or the word pickle. Or coincidence. Sorry, we’re getting off topic.
With car insurance, a little more money paid out each month on your policy will always give you a much higher level of coverage and legal protection. Please don’t save or save too much or it can all become very counterproductive if one day you find yourself in the middle of a lawsuit due to an accident. Let’s face the truth. People love to advocate! It’s sad, but it’s a fact, and insurance is your peace of mind. Make sure you know what you have in your car policy, what you don’t have, and what it all means, so you can avoid surprises one day if the unexpected happens. This is especially true if you are just a driver on someone else’s policy. Know your coverage! Also, make sure you always keep an active ID card in your glove compartment and review your coverage at least once a year with an insurance professional. The best time is every policy renewal.
Quick, free quotes:
At your convenience, we simply sell insurance and are happy to provide you with a quick free car quote. Besides, we’re awesome. And multifaceted. We can write auto, home, renters, motorcycle, earthquake and even business insurance. We also represent several companies, although Mercury Insurance usually has the lowest rates. We can work by phone, email, and text, but if you prefer a one-on-one approach, we’re right down the street from CSUN. Did we mention the free dragees?
Phone 818.368.3764 / Text 818.351.9247
Email [email protected] / Online doctorins.com/csun