Passenger Seat: Are you Covered by the Drivers Insurance?

No matter in what state you drive, you’re responsible for the injuries that your passengers suffer during a car accident in which you are at fault.

This means that you need the proper amount of auto insurance to cover any medical treatment that your passengers might need following an auto accident. Personal injury insurance is what provides this protection. Fortunately, this type of insurance is required in no-fault car insurance states, meaning that the odds are high that your auto insurance policy will include this important coverage.

By having this coverage, you’ll provide peace of mind to the person sitting in your car’s passenger seat. This person, after all, might face expensive surgeries and other medical treatment should you get into a car accident. If this person knows that he or she is at least covered by the drivers insurance, this will give this passenger one less thing about which to worry following an accident.

When taking out a car insurance policy, it’s important to make sure that personal injury protection is indeed part of your coverage. You don’t want to find out after an accident that you’ll be paying the medical costs of the person in your passenger seat.

The importance of personal injury insurance also proves a point about shopping for auto insurance: It’s possible today to view live insurance quotes online. This makes shopping for auto insurance less of a hassle. But it also encourages consumers to look so closely at price that they forget to evaluate the amount of coverage that an insurance policy will provide, too.

When you’re shopping for an auto insurance policy, make sure to consider whether the person sitting next to you is covered by the drivers insurance. The savings you get with a cut-rate insurance policy might result in big medical bills in the future.

Why Liability Insurance is Required in Most States

Chances are, if you live in the U.S., you are required by your state’s laws to purchase minimum car insurance protection in order to own or operate a motor vehicle. In most states, minimum insurance laws require that drivers only purchase liability coverage, rather than a more comprehensive policy. There are several reasons why minimum liability insurance is required.

Protecting Other Drivers

Liability insurance is required to protect other drivers from any bodily injury or property damage losses that you cause. In most states, you are legally responsible for the harm and loss that you cause another person, and auto insurance helps guarantee that victims have access to the medical treatments, auto repairs and property replacement they deserve following an accident.

Protecting You

Minimum liability insurance not only protects victims of an accident you cause, but it also protects you. Regardless of whether you have auto insurance, you can still be held legally responsible for the losses you cause another person. If you do not have insurance, a victim may sue you directly, which could result in a liquidation or seizure of your personal assets if you do not have the cash to pay a judgment out of pocket.

Considerations

It is never a good idea to drive a vehicle without adequate insurance coverage. Unfortunately, even state minimum coverage may not be enough to protect you in the event of an accident. Talk to your insurer about the cost of increasing your coverage to provide full coverage protection for both yourself and others you are liable for. And as always, be sure to shop and compare premiums to be sure you are getting the most coverage at the most affordable rates. The rates you pay for state minimum coverage at one provider may buy you much more coverage through another.

Things that Will Cause Car Insurance Rates to Change

Drivers carefully shop and compare insurance rates to ensure they are getting the most coverage available at the most affordable price. However, auto insurance premiums are never fixed, and may fluctuate over time. Whether they rise or fall, there are several reasons why car insurance rates are subject to change.

What will Cause Car Insurance Rates to Change?

One of the most common reasons car insurance rates change is due to a traffic accident or citation. Speeding, driving under the influence or being ticketed for a traffic accident are all reasons insurance rates may rise. However, some minor traffic citations may not go on your permanent record or raise your insurance premiums if you take a defensive driver’s education course in the weeks following the citation.

Another reason your car insurance rates may change is if you file a claim. Whether you are responsible for a multi-car collision, or if you become the victim of a car break-in, filing a claim against your policy will likely result in a higher insurance premium. On the other hand, if you do not file a claim for several years, you may see a reduction in your insurance premiums.

Age and Credit

Some factors that influence your auto insurance premiums are unrelated to your driving and claims record. If you purchased your insurance policy while you were young, you may see your premiums drop as you get older. For example, insurers often provide significant rate reductions when women turn 21 and men turn 25.

Similarly, your credit score has an influence on your ability to secure a low insurance premium. Insurers often perceive individuals with good credit as safe drivers. If you received a preferred rate due to a good credit history, but your credit score subsequently dropped, you may see an increase in your auto insurance premiums.

Why pay more for auto insurance?

Why pay more for auto insurance?You know it’s illegal to drive without auto insurance in your state. You know, too, that if you’re caught doing so you could face hefty fines and the possible suspension of your driver’s license. But you worry, too, about the cost of obtaining and maintaining auto insurance. You don’t want to spend a fortune to insure your car.

Fortunately, you don’t have to. You simply have to be a savvy shopper.

The best way to pay the lowest rates for auto insurance is to compare live quotes from the top insurance agencies in the country. By doing this way, you’ll greatly increase your odds of nabbing the best insurance policy at the lowest cost.

There was a time when insurance shopping was a chore, an all-day event. You’d have to call individual insurance agencies, tell them your age, your address and how many miles a week you drive. You’d have to give them the highlights, or lowlights, of your driving record. By the time you’d accumulated enough live quotes to make a fair comparison, the entire day had slipped away.

That’s no longer the case. You can credit the Internet for this. Today, you can simply log onto an insurance-comparison Web site to instantly access live insurance quotes from auto insurance companies across the country. Today, you can enter your important driving information once to receive these quotes. What once took an entire day will now take minutes.

Of course, when shopping for auto insurance, price should be just one factor that you consider. Remember, an auto insurance policy that costs less is likely to come with a higher deductible. This means that you’ll have to pay more if you get into a serious accident. A cheaper policy, too, will often provide less financial protection should your car be damaged beyond repair during an accident.

Still, shopping for insurance remains the best way to avoid paying too much for auto insurance. If you need to change or upgrade your insurance policy, start shopping today. You might be surprised at how much money you can save just by shopping around.

Should I have Full Coverage on my Older Vehicle

Should I have Full Coverage on my Older VehicleChoosing the best type of car insurance for your vehicle will take a little bit of time and effort. There are many things you need to take into consideration before choosing a policy. Many people wonder if it is worth it to carry full coverage on an older vehicle. Before you say no – think about these options.

If you borrowed money from a bank or other lender to purchase the older car – you will probably be required to carry full coverage. Depending on the value of your vehicle, the lender will want to make sure they will get their money back if you are involved in an accident before your loan is paid off. Although, if you bought your car with cash, you will be able to save a significant amount of money if you only purchase liability insurance.

A second consideration is the value of the older car. Some sports cars or luxury vehicles retain their value even after they are several years old. When thinking about full coverage – you will need to realize that the insurance company will only compensate you for the value of your vehicle. If the car is still worth a lot of money – you can expect to get some money back if your car is totaled in an accident. Although, if you car has seen better days, you probably will not get any money from the insurance company, even if you have full coverage.

Finally, if you own an antique or specialty vehicle – you may want to carry full coverage. Whether you only take the car out on special occasions or to car shows – there is no guarantee you will not get into an accident. It is better to be safe than sorry. If you are still confused about whether you need full coverage for an older vehicle, speak with an independent agent who can help you decide how much coverage you need.

What Are the State Minimum Liability Limits?

What Are the State Minimum Liability Limits?Every state in the U.S. imposes minimum liability insurance requirements on its drivers. Although the amounts vary from state to state, they all serve the same intended purpose: To financially protect other drivers against bodily injury and property damage incurred in an accident for which they are not at fault.

The minimum amount of auto insurance you must personally carry depends solely on the state in which you live and drive. For example, New Jersey, California, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts all have very low property damage liability limits. In those states, you only need $5,000 of coverage for the damage you cause to another person’s vehicle or property. Many other states, however, such as Mississippi, Alaska and Maine, require a minimum of $25,000 of liability coverage for property damage.

State minimum bodily injury limits are typically higher and divided into two categories – the amount an insurer will pay for one person injured in an accident and the total amount an insurer will pay for all people injured in an accident. If you are in Oklahoma, Florida or Louisiana, you are only required to carry $10,000 per person, per wreck with a maximum of $20,000 per accident. Alaska residents, on the other hand, are on the hook for a bare minimum of $50,000 per person with a maximum of $100,000 per accident.

Driving Without State Minimum Coverage

If you choose to drive uninsured or underinsured, you could be facing serious consequences. The laws vary by state, but in some places, you could lose your license for as much as a year or have your vehicle impounded for driving without state minimum coverage. That is in addition to the fines, penalties and court fees you are almost certain to have to pay. Additionally, the offense could go on your permanent driving record for potential employers to see.

Considerations

Keep in mind that just because you have met your state’s minimum liability limits, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have enough auto liability insurance. Some states have notoriously low minimum insurance limits that wouldn’t even pay for half of the damage to a new vehicle. Others may have adequate liability limits for the average driver, but not enough to protect the assets of someone with a lot of savings, investments or property to lose.

You should speak with your insurance agent to determine how much coverage you personally need in the event of an accident. Remember, just because you max out your auto insurance benefits, it doesn’t mean you are not still liable for the damages or losses you cause another driver or passenger.

Do I Need More Liability Coverage?

Do I Need More Liability Coverage?Contrary to popular belief, you actually can purchase too much insurance. However, the amount of liability coverage that you need depends on several different factors that vary from driver to driver. All states have a minimum legal requirement that designates a limit for coverage per person and per accident. For example, a bodily injury coverage plan that is worth $150,000/ $450,000 means that each person involved in the accident could be compensated up to $150,000, but only $450,000 could be provided for just the one accident.

Although the standard liability coverage plans offered are usually pretty substantial, your own coverage amount should depend partially on the amount of assets you have to protect. For example, if you make $30,000 per year, rent an apartment, and have little savings in the bank, you will probably be best suited with a $50,000/ $100,000 plan. Alternatively, if you make $100,000 per year, are the owner of a house worth $200,000, and have $50,000 in savings, you should consider getting substantial coverage to protect your assets. It is recommended that you purchase at least $100,000/ $300,000 to ensure this protection.

One good tip when purchasing liability insurance is to forego personal injury protection, since these costs will usually be covered by your health, life, and disability insurance. In terms of property damage, some states require minimums as low as $5,000. Although this may appeal to your budget now, it likely won’t cover the full cost of getting into a car accident with a BMW. As a general rule, you should shoot for a minimum of $50,000 worth of coverage for each vehicle you own.

Collision coverage will pay for the full cost of repairs or replacement if your car is involved in an auto accident. Comprehensive coverage will cover damages caused by natural disasters, vandalism, or theft. In both cases, you will want to shoot for the highest deductible your can afford– preferably $1,000– to reduce your policy costs. Although this coverage option is important for newer, more expensive vehicles, you may be able to opt out of it completely if you have an older car that would be cheaper just to replace in the event of an accident.

Learn the Insurance Laws for Your State

Learn the Insurance Laws for Your State.Should you believe that “insurance is insurance wherever I live,” think again.While the primary components usually apply to insurance in general, individual states pass their own laws and publish specific regulations. Assume nothing. Learn about your state’s insurance laws and retain an experienced, licensed agent to advise you.

Whether you need auto, home or business insurance, become familiar with your state regulations to ensure that you purchase the proper coverage. For example, most U.S. states require a specified minimum of liability coverage for auto insurance coverage. However, the minimum amount of coverage can vary from state-to-state. Also, the necessity for multiple liability protection, including property damage and uninsured motorist coverage, may also vary.

Once you learn the minimum coverage your state requires, spend some quiet time thinking about the assets you are protecting. For example, if your state requires minimum liability insurance of $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident and $10,000 property damage, consider this coverage in light of your personal assets. Should you own a home worth $250,000, an $18,000 boat, personal property valued at $30,000, and bank savings, checking and investment accounts with total balances of $75,000, your state’s minimum coverage is not sufficient.

As the cost of vehicle repair and medical treatment skyrockets, most state minimum coverage limits are too low to protect you should a serious accident occur. Understand that people who are injured in auto accidents can successfully sue you for their damages in excess of your liability coverage limits.

You should use a similar approach to your home insurance. If possible, insure your home for “replacement value,” instead of a specific amount only. Should serious damage occur to your home, the cost to make quality repairs often exceeds the amount of the covered loss, typically the pro-rated amount of coverage minus depreciation. With replacement coverage, your insurer should cover the total cost to restore your home to its former condition.

Always shop for the best deal within the parameters of your state laws and the amount of assets you must protect. You can save time using an independent agent with an interactive website. Instead of trekking all over town talking to agents, a multi-carrier insurance agency can give you multiple quotes from major companies that have attractive rates in your state.

Will My Auto Insurance Cover My Friend if I Let Them Borrow My Car?

Will My Auto Insurance Cover My Friend if I Let Them Borrow My Car?Many people lend their vehicles to friends and family members they trust without giving it a second thought, but this decision can lead to major consequences without the right auto insurance coverage. Determining whether or not your auto insurance will cover a friend driving your car will vary from policy to policy. At the very minimum, the law requires you to purchase liability auto insurance coverage. Liability insurance would cover you from the expenses that you would be liable for in the event that you are involved in an auto accident that causes property damage or bodily injury to another party involved. Considering the high costs of medical care and legal fees if a lawsuit were to come of the accident, liability insurance can protect you from having to drain your savings for one accident.

Unlike collision coverage, liability insurance covers the driver and not the car. This means that if a person were to borrow your car, their own insurance policy would be responsible for covering the damages that occur as a result of an accident. Therefore, it wouldn’t be a significant risk for you to let someone borrow your car, as long as that person had some form of insurance on their own. Alternatively, a friend without a personal insurance policy would be solely responsible for any incurring damages while driving your car. Although this wouldn’t necessarily affect you, it is usually best to avoid this scenario.

Letting a friend borrow your car occasionally is one thing, but if you live with someone who frequently drives your vehicle, you should consider adding him or her to your policy to ensure full coverage in case of an accident. If this situation applies to you, it’s best to talk to your insurance agent about authorizing this person to drive your car by officially designating it on your insurance plan. Having this authorization would guarantee that you both would be fully covered in case an accident were to occur.

Excluding Someone From Your Insurance Policy

Excluding Someone From Your Insurance PolicyIn instances where a driver under your insurance policy has gotten into multiple auto accidents and received several traffic tickets, it may be in your best interest to exclude this person from your auto insurance policy. Any traffic violations that occur under your insurance policy, whether a fault of your own or another driver, will negatively affect your insurance rates and cause your premiums to increase dramatically. In order to exclude a driver from your insurance policy, you will have to deliver a written “named driver exclusion” to your insurance carrier to specify exactly which driver you would like to be excluded from your insurance policy. Once this person is excluded from your policy, he or she will not be covered under your personal auto policy for future accidents.

Although a driver may be excluded from your policy, you or the excluded driver will still be responsible for any damages or injuries that may result from an auto accident in which the excluded driver is at fault. However, you will only be personally responsible if the excluded driver was driving your vehicle at the time, regardless of whether or not he or she was covered under your insurance policy at the time of the accident. For this reason, you will want to exclude an at-risk driver as soon as possible, and make sure to terminate this person’s access to your vehicle after you have excluded him or her.

Your insurance company may recommend excluding a driver from your coverage policy if this person is responsible for any of the following:

  • Multiple vehicle citations
  • A suspended license
  • Several at-fault accidents
  • A DUI or DWI conviction
  • Impaired mental ability

If your own record is relatively clean, having someone on your policy who has any of the violations listed could cause you to pay higher insurance premiums that you otherwise wouldn’t have to pay. Excluding this person from your policy would allow you to enjoy all of the benefits that you earned as a good driver, while eliminating and negative affects that this driver has caused.