This week is car insurance week at Serious Accidents.
Forty-seven states require that you have at least some kind of car insurance, but what the law requires may not always be the best car insurance policy. Fulfilling your legal requirement for car insurance does not make you properly insured. Our car accident attorneys in San Diego want you to consider getting more than the minimum when shopping for car insurance. Remember, having too much coverage is better than not having enough.
Tips for Finding a Good Car Insurance Policy
Here are some simple tips to from our car insurance checklist:
1. Know how car insurance works. A bad car accident can cause personal injury, wrongful death and property damage that can exceed what the minimum amount of car insurance covers. Do you want to be stuck with the remaining medical bills or property damage if your insurance does not cover those costs?
Before buying insurance, there are some important factors to consider:
- The kind of car you have can influence your decision making. Auto insurance for a sports car is going to be more expensive than most other automobiles.
- Your driving record can negatively affect your car insurance if you have moving violations or car accidents on your record.
- You should also determine the amount of money you are willing to pay each month.
Understanding the basics will help you in knowing if the policy you choose will take care of all of your needs after a car crash.
2. Determine which type of auto coverage in case of a car accident.
Liability coverage pays for accidental personal injury and property damages to others. Injury damages include coverage for medical expenses, pain and suffering and lost wages. Property damage includes your own vehicle and damage to other cars.
Collision coverage pays for damages to your car caused by a car accident with another vehicle or object. Comprehensive coverage pays for loss or damage to the insured car from something other than a car accident like fire, wind, vandalism or theft.
Medical coverage pays medical expenses regardless of fault when caused by a car crash. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) pays medical expenses for the insured driver, regardless of fault, for treatment due to a car accident.
Uninsured Motorist coverage pays your car’s damages when a car accident is caused by a driver who does not have liability insurance. Underinsured Motorist coverage pays damages when a car crash is caused by someone who does not have enough liability insurance.
Rental reimbursement is simply used if a car accident causes an insured driver to have to rent a car while their car is being repaired.
Know the laws in your state because many insurance policies combine different types of coverage. Remember that even though you have the minimum car insurance for your state, your minimum coverage may not be enough if a car accident causes high medical bills or property damage.
3. Know your car insurance needs. First, know your state laws. Forty-seven states require liability insurance. Fifteen states — including New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania — also require personal injury protection.
Second, weigh your options. With so many options out there, knowing what you will need if a car accident happens is the key to making sure you have enough coverage for when a car crash occurs.
Next, determine how much money you want to spend. If you know the laws and you know what you need, you can piece together a policy, but make sure you have enough coverage. Did you know that if an insurance policy is not enough in a car accident, attorneys can go after your personal assets? Too much insurance is better than not enough. It is much better for the insurance company to be responsible for expenses than you if a car accident happens.
Finally, think about your vehicle and your finances. If your car is completely totaled in a car accident, would you be able to afford a replacement? If not, having comprehensive and collision coverage is a good idea. The decision to have this depends on the price of your car. More expensive cars are usually harder to replace if the car is totaled in a car crash.
4. Auto insurance prices vary. Several factors affect the price of auto insurance. Prices vary by company, and comparing prices thoroughly before buying a policy is always a good idea.
The first thing that affects your insurance price is what kind of car you drive. A sports car usually costs more to insure than a family sedan. Did you know that where you live can affect insurance costs? If you live in an area where there are a lot of car accidents or vandalism, insurance will cost more.
The final factors that affect the price of auto insurance have to do with who you are. Your age, sex, marital status and driving record are all factors. Accident rates are higher for drivers under the age of 25 as well as for young males and single males.
There are four main factors that can help you keep your car insurance down:
- Consider buying one that “looks good” to car insurers. Insurance companies know what kinds of cars are prone to problems and which cars are stolen most often.
- Most insurance companies offer discounts for reasons like good students, having more than one car insured and accident-free driving.
- Consider carpooling or using public transportation to get to work. Using your car less can save money.
- Drive carefully! Insurance companies are not friendly to accident-prone drivers. The safer you drive, the more your rate will drop.
5. Understand your deductible. Purchasing car insurance is not always about the value of your car or how often you get into car accidents. Car insurance can also have to do with how much money you are willing to pay for your coverage. All car insurance policies have a deductible — the amount an insured person must pay before the insurance pays the remainder of each covered loss.
You are required to pay for some of the damages in a car accident, but the amount depends on your policy. Deductibles vary but are usually in amounts of $100, $250, $500 or $1,000. For example, if a car accident causes $2,500 worth of property damage and medical bill costs, having a $500 deductible means you are required to pay the $500 and the insurance company will then pay the other $2,000.
Finding the Right Insurance Policy Takes Work
Buying insurance does not have to be as complicated as it seems. There are simple tips and rules every consumer should know when shopping for car insurance. If you are ever in a car accident, having the right types of insurance can be the difference in how much you pay for your coverage per month as well as what you have to pay after a car accident.
As car accident lawyers, we want you to be smart about what type of car insurance you buy. Always remember that a little more out of your pocket now can mean a lot less out of your pocket later if you are involved in a car accident. The bare minimum is barely enough.
Call our San Diego law firm now at 1-858-551-2090 for a FREE consultation with an experienced car accident attorney or click here to submit your case for a FREE online review. We have a large bilingual staff that can assist you in either English or Spanish.
SENIOR PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY & FIRM FOUNDER
Michael Pines is a former insurance company attorney who graduated from the University of California Hastings College of the Law in 1987. While he was an insurance attorney, he learned from behind the scenes how insurance companies work and how they decide how much to pay injured people. Now that he works against insurance companies, Michael’s inside knowledge has resulted in significant benefits to his clients injured in car accidents. Learn more about Michael Pines