When searching for car insurance or making changes to your current policy, you’ll need to have an understanding of the various types of coverage to tailor your auto policy to meet your needs. Coverage requirements can differ between states. Some may be mandatory while others may be optional. In this post, we address the six most common types of car insurance as well as a few tips on how to save on car insurance.
Liability coverage provides insurance coverage for other people’s expenses if you’re in an accident that is legally determined to be your fault. In other words, liability covers you when you’re “liable” for the accident. There are two types of liability coverage. The first is Bodily Injury, which covers costs from injuries or deaths that are a result of the accident. This includes others people’s medical bills and if sued, in some cases, their legal fees. Property Damage, the other type of liability coverage, covers the costs of other people’s vehicle and property repairs related to the accident.
Liability coverage is mandatory to legally drive a car in most states. It’s best to have liability coverage greater than the minimum in your state if you can afford it. The extra coverage, if you’re found at-fault for the accident, can save you from having to pay a large amount of money for claims exceeding the lower limit on your policy.
Collision coverage covers your car repair or replacement costs in the event of an accident. Collision coverage covers damage from hitting another car, a fixed object (like a fence, tree, guardrail, etc.), or an accent involving only your car (such as rolling or falling).
When financing or leasing a car, lenders usually require collision insurance. If you own your car already, collision insurance is typically optional on your auto policy. Depending on your car’s value, it might be worth dropping collision coverage. For anyone concerned with keeping out of pocket costs down in the event of an accident, having collision coverage is a wise idea.
Comprehensive insurance usually covers damage to your car that results from an unrelated covered event. In other words, comprehensive coverage covers damages to your car that are not a result of a collision. Examples of events covered may include hitting an animal, damage from the weather, theft, and vandalism.
Those financing or leasing cars are usually required by lenders to have comprehensive coverage. If your car has been paid off, you may choose to skip comprehensive coverage. If you’re not required to have comprehensive coverage but are concerned about out of pocket costs, you might want to add comprehensive coverage to your policy.
4. Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage covers you in the event of an accident involving drivers with no insurance or not enough insurance as well as hit-and-run accidents.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage may or may not be required depending on the state where you live.
5. Medical Payments
Medical payments coverage covers health care costs of you and others riding in your car in the event of an accident. Health care costs from injuries sustained in a car accident can cost thousands of dollars. If a friend riding in your car were to break an arm in the accident, your medical payments coverage may reimburse the friend’s health care costs, such as doctor’s bills or treatments.
In some states, medical payment coverage is required. Medical payments coverage is similar to the last type of coverage we’ll address below: personal injury protection. You usually don’t need to have both types of coverage, but it’s important to understand the differences between the two so that you can decide which best fits your policy needs.
6. Personal Injury Protection
Personal injury protection coverage is similar to medical payments coverage. Personal injury protection (PIP) usually provides coverage for a broader range of expenses compared to medical payments coverage. PIP may cover costs related to medical and rehabilitation, funeral costs, and work loss.
Most states require a minimum amount of PIP coverage. If it’s not mandatory in your state, consider choosing one or the other: PIP or medical payments coverage. It usually doesn’t make sense to have both.
Your auto policy needs will be personal to your own situation. Most types of coverage are required, but the amount of each that your policy contains should be tailored to your situation and budget. If you still have questions regarding car insurance coverage, consider contacting your local insurance agent.