What If: Answers to Common Questions About Auto Insurance
If you’re thinking of joining the 12.6 percent of U.S. drivers who forgo auto insurance coverage, you might want to reconsider. You could end up having to pay thousands of dollars for repairs and medical bills if you are in an accident for which you are at fault. Not having auto insurance coverage is also probably illegal where you live; liability auto insurance is required by law in some form in every state but New Hampshire and Virginia.
People have a lot of misconceptions about whether or not they truly need car insurance. Here are some of the most common questions we hear about the subject.
1. Do I need car insurance if I never drive my car?
Technically, if you keep your car garaged or in storage, you don’t have to have coverage. But that doesn’t mean you don’t need it. Your car could be damaged or stolen even while in storage. Also, providers in the future may boost your premiums when you do begin coverage again because of your lapse in being insured.
Consider car-storage insurance or seasonal vehicle insurance. This bare-bones coverage protects your car or truck if it is damaged while it’s not being driven.
2. Is it legal for me to drive uninsured?
No. Most states require you to own car insurance for your vehicle, and those states that don’t require coverage want to see proof that you can pay expenses that might result from a car accident. In states where liability insurance is not required, you still must have proof that you have the assets you need to pay for damages and medical costs if you cause an accident.
The lender for your car loan may also require you to buy comprehensive and collision coverage as a condition of the loan.
3. What if I borrow a car? Do I need car insurance?
If you occasionally borrow a car, all you usually need is a driver’s license. The owner of the car should make sure their insurance policy will cover damages when someone else is driving the car. There are times, however, when it is advantageous to have non-owner car insurance. These policies include liability, and many providers also offer personal injury and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage you can add on. Comprehensive and collision coverages are not included. Learn more about types of car insurance here.
Keep in mind that if you borrow a car that is owned by someone in your household, their coverage may require you to be listed as a covered driver on the policy.
4. I need to borrow a car for business purposes, is the car still covered by the owner’s policy?
Sometimes a person may need to borrow a car for business use. You might be a delivery person, for instance. If the vehicle is covered by a commercial policy you’re probably in the safe zone. However, it’s recommended that if you are going to borrow a car for business purposes, talk with the auto insurance policy’s provider first to let them know and to make sure it’s allowed.
5. I’m thinking of buying a new car. Is it more expensive to insure an electric or hybrid car?
All things being equal in terms of your driving record and other factors, yes, it costs more to insure an electric car. As electric vehicles become more common, more insurance companies are providing coverage for them. You can expect higher premiums, but the cost gap is narrowing. If you do get an electric car, it’s especially important to compare coverage costs every year.
6. Do I need car insurance if I have a license but don’t own a car?
Generally, a policy follows the car, not the driver. So, if you borrow a car and get into an accident you are at fault for, it will be covered even though the policy owner was not driving.
7. Do I need car insurance to buy a new car?
If you have a policy for another car, it’s easy to add a new car to the policy. But if you start out with no insurance coverage at all, you’ll need to buy coverage for it. Once you know what car you’re going to buy, do some research by comparing insurance quotes, purchase your policy and make sure it has gone into effect when you drive your new car off the lot.
Get the right auto insurance for you and your circumstances. EINSURANCE.com can help you compare car insurance rates online using a quote tool. If you’re looking to insure another car or are doing your annual rate comparison, we can explain how to do a comparison correctly.