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What Does Auto Insurance Cover?
Auto Insurance is the most commonly purchase insurance product in the country with the exception of health insurance. Auto liability insurance is required by law for all vehicles on the road. Everytime you get behind the wheel, there is a very real risk that you may cause bodily injury or property damage to someone else. Likewise, someone else may cause it to you. Most people can not afford to replace someone else's vehicle with their own cash on hand, let alone medical bills, disability, lost wages, or wrongful death. So we all pay a little money to fund the inevitable chance that something very expensive happens to a small percentage of us.
-Liability to Others: Typically broken into three parts: Bodily Injury Per Person, Bodily Injury Per Occurrence, and Property Damage. This is the most common method, called "split limit". Example: Bodily injury $250,000 per person, $500,000 per occurrence, Property Damage $100,000. -expressed $250k/$500k/$100k.
There is a second method of insuring against liability to others called Combined Single Limit or CSL. This method does not stipulate separate limits for the three categories above. You would have one single amount of money to pay for any combination of property damage or bodily injury. Example: $500,000 CSL.
The choice is yours. There can be cases made for which method is better, but with either, the higher the limits you purchase, the larger loss your insurer could absorb on your behalf. Higher limits mean higher premium. It is sometimes necessary to do a balancing act between security and price, however, you can never have enough liability insurance, so purchase the maximum amount your budget allows. Personal umbrella policies providing additional coverage of $1,000,000 or more can be purchased to increase liability limits if you already have the maximum limits your primary auto insurance offers. Be sure to ask one of our licensed agents about these.
-Physical Damage to Your Auto (Full Coverage): Broken into two parts:
1) "Comprehensive" or ("Other than Collision")
- Things that damage your car, but are not your fault (wind, hail, smoke, vandalism, theft, damage by animal)
- Typically the "At-Fault" auto accident. Damage that occurs because your vehicle struck an object.
(Note: Not-At-Fault accidents that cause damage to your auto would be normally be covered by the at-fault party's liability insurance. Sometimes, however, a situation can be ambiguous, and collision coverage is the best coverage to repair your car quickly).
-Rental Car Reimbursment: Provides coverage for the cost for you to rent a car, typically with an assigned dollar amount on a per-day basis (ex: $50 per day up to $1,500) if your car is in the shop due to a COVERED loss.
-Roadside Assistance and/ or Towing and Labor:
Each of these typically cover the same things: towing, jump-start, lock-out, ditch-extracton, fuel delivery, and flat tires. Roadside assistance is pays as first-dollar coverage. "Towing and Labor" tends to be paid as a reimbursement.