Finally, after an exhaustive search, you’ve zeroed in on an insurance company that you feel offers the best deal for your car. If you think your search has ended, think again! Many car insurers may not provide coverage for items inside the car or if other drivers use your car. Therefore, it is important to know what exactly you are getting into before signing on the dotted line.
When it comes to car insurance, “full coverage” can often be a myth. An insurer has a number of stipulations that may not always be made clear at the time of purchase. Many customers rarely read the fine print and often settle for attractive deals that are short-lived and prove to be expensive in the long run. First rule when deciding on your car insurance plan- know exactly what is covered and what is not.
Understanding what your car insurance will cover
Let’s first start with listing out what your car insurance usually covers.
Bodily injury liability
This coverage is provided under the minimum car insurance requirements of most states. It means that medical bills are paid if another person is injured in an accident which is caused by you.
Property damage liability
This type of plan covers the expenses required to repair the other individual’s car, when you are at fault. It goes side by side with body injury liability and is also provided under the minimum coverage requirements in most states.
This includes the physical damage that can affect your car other than due to a collision, such as the theft or vandalizing of your car or if a branch of a tree snaps and falls on your car, causing extensive damage.
This covers the damage your car suffers as a result of an accident that has been caused due to your fault. This is one of the most important aspects of the coverage provided by your insurer.
Other coverage plans include uninsured motorist coverage- damage caused to your car by an individual who is not insured and medical payments coverage which includes medical or funeral expenses for you or your family members who are involved in a collision. However, these may have certain exclusions which are explained next.
Knowing what is not covered
Then, there’s the flip side. Some incidences may seem to be included in the policy but can be easily misconstrued as they may not be clearly defined by the insurance company. These can also vary depending on the laws in different states as well as the plans offered by the insurance providers. Watch out for some of these that are listed below.
Damage to a rental car
Coverage for crashing a rental car may be included only in part in your insurance plan. There are hidden costs which may pop up later such as income loss for the company or additional charges for repairing the car.
Items inside your car
The items inside your car are not necessarily covered when your car is insured. Coverage includes only items that are part of the car such as CD players and a radio but if you leave your iPad in your unlocked car and it gets stolen, the coverage does not pay for it. Also, if your car is refitted with customized appliances that are not a part of the original car design, they do not fall under the insurance coverage if damaged or stolen.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist liability
Some insurance companies offer this coverage, but not all. As a number of drivers may not be insured, it is important to check if your plan covers this.
Although most insurance companies offer coverage for medical expenses in case of accidents, it is important to check the type of payments covered under it. For example, injuries caused by a vehicle with less than four wheels or injuries sustained as a result of using a vehicle as a place for living are excluded from medical coverage.
Some insurance companies like The Hartford offer features like First Accident Forgiveness and Disappearing Deductible, but make sure you read the fine print and understand the stipulations under which you can benefit from these features.
Being aware of what is covered by your car insurance and what won’t be covered is important as you invest a considerable sum of money in your premiums. Review your car insurance policy today and make sure that your coverage is providing you with benefits that are worth every dollar you spend on it.