General Auto Insurance 101


fredjacksonsan
05-09-2006, 12:58 PM
All of us will have some dealings with the auto insurance company at one time or another. It can be daunting, especially for a first time car buyer, to deal with and understand all the issues. Here is a quick overview of the coverages generally available in the US; of course this list is not all inclusive, and you should always consult your agent or insurance professional for exact details and laws of your state.

Collision
This coverage is used when you collide with another vehicle or object, such as a house or fence, or if another vehicle hits yours. In some states, this coverage will be used if you strike an animal.

Collision pays only for your vehicle, and is often an optional coverage. Your loan company may require that you maintain collision coverage, since until the loan is paid off they have an interest in the vehicle. Collision can be used whether you or the other driver is at fault.

Comprehensive (sometimes called "Other than Collision")
This coverage is as defined; "Other than Collision". Mudslides, floods, hail, fire, tree branches, broken windshield, and other things not specifically excluded by the policy are covered under this optional coverage. Comprehensive covers only your vehicle.

Deductible
The deductible for Collision and Comprehensive is the amount you will be responsible for each time you use these coverages. Higher deductibles (where you are accepting a certain amount of $$ for each accident) result in lower rates for insurance; however don't fall in the trap of having your deductible so high that you can't pay it in the event of an accident. It's better to pay a bit more for your insurance than to only receive 1/2 of the money you need to get your car repaired and be stuck with your vehicle in the repair shop.

Liability
This mandatory coverage takes care of damages to someone else's property or person if you are at fault in an accident. It is a good idea to have a large amount of coverage here. States have a minimum amount that you can carry; however in some states the amount is ridiculously low. Example: Pennsylvania requires drivers there to carry only a minumum of $5,000 of liability coverage for damage to others' property. If you have this amount and are found at fault, the maximum your policy will pay to the other driver/property owner is $5K. We all know the price of cars today and that is clearly inadequate - since after your policy pays the $5000, you'll be stuck paying the rest! Wrapped into this coverage is not only the property damage amount discussed above, but also the Bodily Injury portion; medical bills can add up very quickly, especially when a hospital ER visit is involved, and the other person may seek pain and suffering, which is part of their claim against you (again, if you are at fault).

Some states lump all these together, while others have separate amounts for each one.

Medical
Whether it is called PIP or Medpay or has some other name, there is usually some sort of medical coverage available in case you are in an accident. Laws vary by state, but in general this coverage is no-fault, which means you can use it without penalty to your insurance premium. This coverage takes care of you, and usually your passengers if you're injured in an accident - regardless of who is at fault. Again, laws vary by state and there can occasionally be circumstances that will cause your passengers to fall back on their own coverages. As always, check with your insurance professional so you'll be informed.

No Fault
I never handled a no fault state, but in these states you usually take care of your own vehicle, regardless of fault in an accident. If you live in a no fault state then make sure you get a very good explanation of how the insurance works.


Again, just an general overview of your basic auto insurance policy. I didn't go over anything like towing and rental because these are generally pretty straightforward.

Got a vehicle? Get good insurance and be sure you understand it. Don't be nervous about asking questions about your coverage; a good insurance agent shouldn't brush you off and should be able to explain, in required detail, everything about your policy.

JLad10687
05-14-2006, 12:22 PM
No Fault
I never handled a no fault state, but in these states you usually take care of your own vehicle, regardless of fault in an accident. If you live in a no fault state then make sure you get a very good explanation of how the insurance works.

In a no fault state it does not refer to if you pay for your own vehicle, it is regarding MPC or you Medical Payments Coverage which means that no matter who caused an accident, if someone is hurt, their own insurance covers it. So that way liability does not need to be determined before they can get paid for their doctor bills.

What you are refering to is the different ways which states handle claims. Some states have a law stating that if you are even 1% negligent, you can not collect from the other insurance company. Some have comparitive negligence in which one company may only pay for part of the claimants losses. There are many other but I dont want to get into too much detail. If anyone has any questions regarding this, feel free to send me a message.

fredjacksonsan
05-16-2006, 08:32 AM
Jlad, you're 100% correct about the medical payments portion of the policy being no-fault.

However there are states that have no-fault clauses for Collision also; I think it's either Minnesota or Michigan, somewhere up north.

JLad10687
05-16-2006, 06:38 PM
Jlad, you're 100% correct about the medical payments portion of the policy being no-fault.

However there are states that have no-fault clauses for Collision also; I think it's either Minnesota or Michigan, somewhere up north.

Really? I believe you, I just never heard or it. The closest thing in regards to collision that I can think of is the Contributory negligence law where if youre even 1% negligent you are barred from collecting.

But I guess I stand corrected.

CBFryman
05-16-2006, 07:20 PM
Florida is a no fault state. Example: a friend of mine reareneded an SUV, though she was issued the ticket she didnt have to pay for the SUV's damage...she "helped with the removal of the rear bumper" to put it simply... :)

Sport2005
07-19-2006, 10:39 PM
Tonight I bumped into a person. I was driving into the sun and there was a glare, next thing I knew I was jamming on my breaks because the man had stopped. There is absolutely no damage to my car, and his has a few scratches on it. However, his car is an older car (2000 Maxima) and had some prior scratches. I am not sure whether I should tell him to get a quote and I will pay out of pocket, or if I should go through my insurance company? I have had my license for 10 years and have never been in an accident. What do you think is the best thing to do. I am not exaggerating when I say there is NO damage to my car and his car looks like after a few years of parallel parking very little marks on it. Please give me some advice so I may act on this tomorrow, 7/20/06, morning. Thanks for all your input.

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03-10-2008, 01:10 AM
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'97ventureowner
03-10-2008, 01:22 AM
Please do not resurrect old threads. Make sure the thread you are replying to has it's last post within the last 3 months.
Closed.

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