Thursday, May 26, 2011

Auto Insurance

Along with your driver’s license and vehicle registration, it is mandatory to have auto insurance when you drive. There are several insurance companies competing to make your job easier. You can get the quote online or through an agent. I find getting it through an agent to be hassle free but online option is not a bad either.

What you need to know - Few terms you should understand before you talk to an insurance agent.

Bodily Injury Liability: Bodily Injury coverage is required by most states. It provides coverage for any injuries you cause to someone else.

Property Damage Liability: This is another coverage type that will be required by most states. It covers any damage you cause to someone’s property.

Personal Injury Protection: PIP provides for the treatment of injuries to the driver and passengers of the policyholder’s car.

Collision Coverage: Collision is typically an optional auto policy component that covers any damage to your car that’s the result of a collision.

Comprehensive Coverage: This coverage will protect you in case of any damage to your car that didn’t involve a collision. This includes theft, fire, and vandalism.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage: This offers you protection if you’re injured in a collision with a driver who’s either uninsured or insufficiently insured.

Rental Reimbursement Coverage: This is a fairly common rider that will cover you if you need to rent a vehicle to replace yours if it’s damaged or stolen.

Towing and Labor Coverage: This covers your out-of-pocket costs in case of a flat tire or if your car breaks down.

Gap Auto Insurance Coverage: A gap insurance add-on will pay out the difference between the actual cash value of your car and whatever amount is left on your auto loan if your car is totaled in an accident.

As you can see some of these are optional .As your vehicle grows old it is better to get the add-ons like Towing and Labor Coverage etc for a nominal increase in premiums.

What they need to know

The criteria used by the insurance companies to calculate your premiums vary from Gender,Age,Driving history, Marital status, Vehicle classification to your Credit ratings and if your  car has a Anti Theft Alarm.

Along with you vehicle VIN, Plate Number and Your license number you need to provide them with any past traffic violations or accident information. If you do not have the exact dates put in approximate dates. The providers pull the exact data from respective agencies using the details you provided. When you are buying your auto insurance for the first time the premiums are usually higher. One way to escape these high premiums is to buy the insurance for a few months and then switch to another provider. Most of the providers give you a discount when you sign up for home renters insurance or another kind of insurance along with your auto.When you call them don’t forget to ask for discounts.

They calculate the premium for six months while you have the option to pay monthly or pay in full and get the balance back if you cancel out.

911 - I am Hit, I am Hit

I hear that you are a safe driver and you follow the rules. But not everyone is at a given point in time. When accidents happen, do not panic. Call 911 - Even if the other party gives his insurance information right away and agrees or asserts that he was at fault. I have heard several incidents where they go home and change their story completely. And then you will end up playing the villain and paying the bills both yours and his. It’s rare for insurance premiums to sky rocket once you get your first speeding ticket. But if you were at fault in an accident there will be a hike in your premiums. They should be back to normal once you go without any accidents for the next one or two years. Otherwise switch to a different provider.

Where is my money?

Providers work with certain auto repair shops in your area directly. You can get their details either from the provider’s website or by calling the customer care. They will either pay the repair shop or will send you a check in case your car was totaled. If it was totaled in an accident ,they give you the depreciated price for your vehicle which usually is not bad.

Eyes All Over

Never Hit and Run. It is a very serious crime .Even if you hit their bumper and are sure nothing happened. There are eyes which you can’t see(Cameras ,Other People,Your Conscious etc).If it is in a parking lot and if the other party is not in the car, leave a note with your number and insurance information.


Although most of the companies remind you when you are due for a renewal recommend you to keep reminders and get it renewed before it expires. Never run out of insurance. It is not only illegal but it will be difficult for you to get coverage later. Very few companies will cover you charging high premiums.

Car Rentals

You can choose to have you covered on your rentals by paying a little more on the premiums. This is not a bad option if you are a FT (Frequent Traveler).Always keep the registration, insurance in the dash board and drivers license in your wallet and the wallet in your pocket/bag. Drive Safe!

Read the following articles for further details: