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Beyond the Basics in Car Insurance

When you get beyond the basics in car insurance, you don't just think of your policy relative to the law. You also think in the context of protection and coverage for you and for your family. Basic auto protection is a very important concept, and one deserving of our attention as drivers and auto owners. It's worthwhile to spend time getting to know the ins and outs of the car insurance requirements in your home state to make sure you are always in compliance with them. But any policy holder who has been through a major claim situation will tell you that being compliant is only a small part of the whole picture when it comes to car insurance. To truly protect yourself and your family as a policy holder, it is always a good idea to take the time to consider other optional areas of protection beyond what is required by your home state. When you think in terms of the whole picture and not just on being compliant, you can get beyond the basics and start making well informed decisions on your auto coverage.

Basic Protection an Important Concept

The many different states and territories across the U.S. all have their different ways of designing and administering auto insurance rules and regulations for state residents. Most states have certain elements in common in terms of car insurance laws, but many are different from one another either in form or detail as well. For this reason, the concept of basic protection in any given state is an important one. It is critical to know and understand the rules and regulations governing auto coverage where you live. You should know, for example, what type or types of policies are required. You should know what the minimum limits of coverage are for each compulsory area identified by your home state. And finally, you should always have an eye on optional endorsements that might interest you. But more about that last part a bit later.

Liability insurance is the most common required element in a car policy. In fact, some form of liability protection is required of nearly all drivers across the country according to various state laws. Liability coverage protects the insured driver from direct financial responsibility in the wake of an at fault accident. It provides payments for approved medical and property losses incurred by innocent parties in such accidents. In other words, its intent is not to protect the covered vehicle or to insure the covered driver against injury; but rather, to insure him against financial injury due to financial responsibility laws on the books in many states. Auto liability insurance is the foundation for coverage. All other policies are built on this foundation.

Each state is different, of course; and some states have further requirements for policy holders in addition to liability protection. For example, no fault or PIP protection is standard in about a dozen states, and many geographical areas also require drivers to carry uninsured motorist protection as a compulsory element in their auto policy. Other states offer uninsured motorist coverage as an option beyond the basic requirements, but some regard it as essential. Once again, it is important to be well versed in the particulars of your home state's laws for car insurance. Start with the foundation and what is necessary to get registered and get out on the road, and make sure you keep the law as a driver and a car owner.

Compliance Only Part of Picture

But legal compliance is just one part of the overall picture in any discussion of the importance or the role of car insurance. To say that its purpose is to get you a legal license plate is to oversimplify or diminish the value of car insurance. If you are a single drive, it is much more appropriate to make remarks like this and to think in terms of bare bones compliance. But when others are involved, when you are part of a family, you need to think beyond yourself and beyond the basics. Think in terms of what your family needs. Think about the possible outcomes of not being fully insured with collision and comprehensive coverage or medical payments insurance on your policy. The cost of coverage has to be weighed against the potential cost of not being covered.

Make Well Informed Coverage Choices

Any honest discussion of car insurance must address the cost of a policy. This is simple financial reality. But the premium prices you pay for car insurance does much more than just get you that license plate. It also helps your family respond if one of you gets involved in an accident or other major claim. Think about that when you make car insurance coverage choices.


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