Auto Insurance Coverage for Personal Cars and Trucks
Owning a vehicle, no matter how often you drive it, likely means you need car insurance. Most people, experts or not, would agree that driving without auto insurance is simply an irresponsible act. In fact, many states consider it unlawful for motorists to operate vehicles without mandatory minimum insurance, so uninsured drivers risk facing considerable fines if caught driving without required coverage. Car finance and leasing companies may include auto insurance provisions in the repayment agreement requiring the registered owner maintain minimum coverage on the vehicle equal to at least the current payoff amount on the loan.
An auto insurance policy provides protection in some combination of collision, liability, theft, and related coverage(s) to protect you, others, and your car:
Auto Coverage Options
- Bodily Injury Liability
- Collision Coverage
- Comprehensive Coverage
- Medical Payments or Personal Injury Protection
- Property Damage Liability
- Replacement Value Coverage
- Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
- SR-22 (SR22) High Risk Coverage
Auto Policy Discounts and Rate Determination
Auto insurance carriers may use a combination of rating factors to determine a policy price and discounts, including but not limited to:
- No Car Accidents or Claims Past 3-5 Years
- No Moving Car Violations
- No Lapse in Insurance Coverage
- Credit Score - get a free Annual Credit Report to verify your the impact of your score on your car insurance rate
- Driver Education and Safety Courses
- Owning your motor-vehicle and/or home
- Vehicle Safety Rating - see how your car’s safety compares
- Anti-Theft Devices
- Location Car is Parked or Driving Mileage
Important Considerations for Insured Drivers of Cars and Trucks
Auto insurance policies do not cover vehicle damage that occurs prior to start date of the policy. If you buy a used vehicle, it is your responsibility to be aware of any previous damages from accidents or other types of disaster. CarFax is a trusted service that reports on a vehicle’s damage history and maintenance records.
If you do not own a vehicle, but often rent cars, you may find that a personal policy will provide a savings over the auto insurance rates charged by car rental companies. ZipCar is excluded from this however, because auto insurance coverage has already been included into their membership program for rental car drivers.
Personal auto insurance or car insurance typically does not cover liability or damages when using the vehicle for business or commercial purposes. There are a few instances, such as using a car or truck for pizza delivery, which some auto insurance companies do cover within the parameters of the insurance policy. Verify the terms and conditions in your policy documents. When in doubt, ask the auto insurance agency (insurance carrier) that issued the policy for your car. Our advice: “Get it in writing first!”
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