Car Accidents and Car Insurance
Car accidents are a fact of life, something that we can work to reduce the risk of but that we still might not be able to avoid. Dealing with car accidents is normally the domain of your car insurance policy, but it wouldn't hurt to buy car repair manuals. Different parts of an insurance plan offer different types and areas of coverage, and it is important to know the function of each one if and when an accident ever arises so that you are prepared when the time comes.
Liability Insurance and Auto Accidents
In most states, liability insurance is the minimal requirement for drivers. No fault states and a few others also have additional requirements, but generally speaking the average driver has to have a liability policy in place in order to driver legally and get a vehicle registered. Liability coverage is important because it takes on the cost of medical bills and property damage done to others in accidents that are your fault; and it also handles your legal expenses in civil cases stemming from these accidents. But it provides no coverage for your car or your medical expenses.
This is where collision coverage comes in. A collision policy pays out for property losses you suffer as a result of car accidents, regardless of fault. This means that in an at fault accident, you can get your car repaired or a check written if it is totaled for up to the limits of coverage less deductible. Of course, if drivers feel that the other motorist was at fault in the accident, they might also want to go after that person’s insurance company for payment and save the deductible and possible increase in rates on their own policy. Along with comprehensive, collision makes up the most expensive part of an auto policy.
Comprehensive and Non Accident Losses
While you are looking at collision insurance for your car, it is also smart to check into comprehensive coverage. This is property protection that covers non accident related losses. Many different claim types are covered, including fire, theft, acts of vandalism, and storm damage. Like collision, in most cases the limits of comprehensive coverage are usually based on actual cash value rather than replacement value. You ought to find out for sure which coverage type you’re getting when you sign on, and also check out any exclusions and limitations that could be attached to the policy.
Medical Payments Coverage and PIP
Medical payments coverage is required in some states and optional in others. It pays for your medical expenses and those of covered passengers in the event of an accident up to a set limit. Generally these plans also apply when the covered driver is operating someone else’s automobile as long as they have permission to do so. In many cases this coverage is superfluous because of the overlap with health insurance; check on both of your policies to see if this applies to you.
PIP (personal injury protection) is also known as no fault. It is similar in many ways to medical payments coverage plans that are available in tort states, though the specifics of what is covered might be different from state to state. Be sure you know exactly what kind of protection you are getting when you sign on with an insurer. Child care expenses and lost wages are two good examples of coverages that may or may not apply.
Both car accidents and insurance are hard to deal with, but good insurance makes things a little easier at least. Check into these areas of coverage as well as uninsured and underinsured protection to make sure you are fully covered as a driver.