If you own a house, you need homeowners insurance. If you have dependents, you need life insurance. And if you own a car, you need … you guessed it, automobile insurance. Understanding auto insurance is the first step towards ensuring that you have the right coverage at the best price. The cost of your individual coverage depends on many factors — factors that the insurance company calls risks. The lower risk you represent to the insurer, the lower your insurance will cost.
Coverage Options Many features of your auto insurance coverage will be based on your state of residence, but many are the same across state lines. Here are a few coverage options you will have to consider:
- Liability Insurance: This coverage protects the owner against losses from legal liability arising from bodily injury or property damages caused by an accident.
- Medical payment coverage: This provision covers medical and/or funeral expenses incurred though bodily injury resulting from an auto accident. The coverage is generally $5,000 to $10,000 per person per accident.
- Physical Damage Coverage: This helps to cover the physical damage to the insured auto. Collision covers collision costs. Comprehensive covers losses from non-collision incidences.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist: Although most states require car owners to have insurance, some motorists do not. Uninsured motorist coverage pays for injuries sustained in an accident with an uninsured (or hit and run) driver.
When purchasing auto insurance or in reviewing your existing policies, keep these basic guidelines in mind. Make sure the policy provides as much protection as is necessary. Know the maximum dollar amount the insurance company will pay. Be aware of your deductible amount, which is the amount you must pay before your insurance company will pay anything. Know what your responsibilities are if an accident occurs. And above all, drive safely and defensively!
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