The moment you sign those papers and own a car, you enter the realm of auto insurance policy, whether you like it or not. If you own a car or a street legal vehicle by law you are entitled to and are expected to have an auto insurance in the United States of America.
But do you understand your auto insurance policy? Are you at least in the know-how about the basics of your auto insurance policy? The answer you are most likely to give is “No”. (Or, else, why would you be here?) After buying a car and bringing it home, it is no longer possible to think without an auto insurance policy. You might not require to be an expert on auto insurance policy per se’ but you should be aware of the basics at least.
Parts of an Auto Insurance Policy
A typical auto insurance policy consists of a few parts. Like in most contracts, there’s a declaration that contains your personal information and details about your car or whichever vehicle you’re trying to insure. It also has details about your auto insurance policy and the kind of coverage you have chosen, its limits and its deductions. It is a good idea to be careful with your declaration because your claim might be denied if you’re found to have provided wrong information.
Next comes the coverage part. The coverage part goes into aspects like your insurance coverage options and insurance coverage limits. It gives you a picture of what your car insurance company will provide for your auto insurance policy. The next part is about exclusions, ie. aspects to which your insurance company has no liability. Conditions, are the next essential part of your insurance contract. All legal aspects pertaining to your policy is dealt in this part, like ways to file a claim and also the steps to sort out disagreements. The last part, popularly known as “fine print”, gives an explanation of the terms and gives information on the rights of the insurance policyholder and the insurance provider.
Understand Auto Insurance Terms
Some of the most frequently used terms involved in an auto insurance quote are coverage and liability. A typical auto insurance policy usually contains 2 kinds of coverage: collision coverage and comprehensive coverage. Collision coverage in effect helps you deal with points pertaining to the damage caused to your car through a collision. It is often, the most expensive part of an auto insurance policy as it pays for the repair of your vehicle. Here you should choose a deductible, ie. you pay a dollar amount of the bill and the insurance company pays the rest of the bill. Keep in mind, your premium rates will be lower if you pay a higher amount. Comprehensive coverage deals with other damages caused to your vehicle other than accident or overturn. The premium payable is similar to collision coverage. You can check out a more elaborate list of commonly used terms with auto insurance in our blog here: 51 Most Asked Questions About Car Insurance Glossary (And Their Answers!)
Liability takes care of the damages you caused to others. It takes care of the injuries and property damage caused by you. This is the rudimentary concept of any auto insurance policy but liability limits vary from state to state in the United States of America. The term other coverage might involve medical payments or funeral expenses for all involved in an accident irrespective of who caused it. Personal injury protection or no-fault benefits usually includes compensation for medical expenses, loss of income from work, accidental death and funeral expenses, and survivor benefits. You should know that each state in the United States of America has various different laws regarding traffic laws and auto insurance policy and you should do an assessment of your policy once in a while and see if you are sufficiently covered or if you’re on the right side of law.
Can My Car Insurance Rate Increase after An Accident?
Even if you one of the most careful or defensive drivers, anyone that has been on the road a certain amount of the time, knows that there is still a risk of becoming involved in the car accident. There are millions of traffic accidents in the United States per year, and the odds are quite staggering that you will be in one too, even if not fatal. And given such odds, you might be wondering to know, "How much can my auto rate increase after one accident?"
There are multiple factors that are considered in answer of this question. Even if the accident was not your fault, your car insurance company will still have to pay out the money in order to cover the costs of repairing the car or vehicle and the associated medical costs for the vehicle’s passengers. Eventually, if you become involved in a number of other such accidents, even if they are not caused by you, your auto insurance provider may consider increasing your vehicle insurance premiums because of your vulnerability to such occurrences.
But, in case you are the "at-fault" driver, ie. the driver who caused the accident, then you most probably will see a hike on your insurance rate. How much your rate increases depend on which state of the US you belong to, and also from insurer to insurer. Sometimes, insurance companies can take different routes to charging you more premium rates. For example, there was the the case of one insurance policyholder, who had his rate increased by 30% after an accident. Other insurance companies, might charge an at-fault insurance policyholder an increase of 10% or a loss of the 10% of the ‘accident-free discount’. Once you get the additional charge, it might remain in effect for a number of years before it is dropped. But according to the insurance company, they just removed his ‘good driver discount’ but did not hike the rate. If you are found to be at-fault in another accident after the first hike, you can expect an even bigger insurance premium rate increase to be imposed. Some insurance companies, might relieve you of your ‘good driver discount’ even if the accident was not your fault. In either case, you will end up paying more to stay insured if you’re involved in an ‘at-fault’ accident.
The answer to the question "how much can my car insurance rate increase after accident?" should be explored further with your insurance agent who will have more details on your specific policy and can fill you in on the details. And it’s also a good idea to keep in mind to help you drive safer and more carefully.
How to Claim My Car Insurance?
If having a car is a necessity in today's world, so is having an appropriate car insurance for it. Of course, we all hope that everything remains safe with our cars, but there is always a possibility that accidents and something unforeseen occurs. When such an event occurs, do you know the proper way to file auto insurance claims?
How to Claim Car Insurance after Car Accident?
If you are involved in a car accident, you need to notify your insurance company of the event as soon as possible. To fasten up the investigation process, make sure that you have your insurance card, to refer to data like the type of insurance you are carrying and emergency numbers you may need to call. It is also very helpful if you can document information about the accident itself. Note the contact information of all parties involved in the accident and other incidental information, wherever possible. Things like what the weather was like at the time of the incident, or what the condition of the road was or any other circumstantial information you can think of. And of course, do not forget to submit a completely filled out proof of claim form, as well as a copy of the police report.
How to Claim Car Insurance after Car Vandalism?
Car vandalism, often isn't life threatening, but it can still be a major inconvenience. If you suddenly find that your car has been broken into or vandalized, call the authorities and your auto insurance provider immediately. Try not to touch anything in the scene or attempt to clean your car. If you do, you significantly tamper with any evidence that might still be there. If you have a camera on you or even a smartphone, take pictures of the damage and surroundings to help the insurance company as well as the police with their assessment. As anxious as you maybe, don’t get too emotional or wound up about it, and try to not get in the way of the investigation.
How to Claim Car Insurance after Car Theft?
If you’ve been a victim of car theft, a lot of the same rules for car insurance claims apply. Call the police immediately, call your insurance company, report the theft, and let the authorities take steps to try to recover your stolen vehicle. After your car insurance company has verified the theft, agents will give you all the assistance to get you a replacement vehicle. A lot of insurance companies can even offer you a rental car during the investigation.
How to Claim Car Insurance in other situations?
Sometimes, only items in the car, and not your car itself is stolen. Depending on the kind of insurance policy you hold you could still get compensation. Again, follow the same steps as before and make a list of the stolen items. Try to provide as detailed description of the items as possible. It is good to have things like receipts or other documentation or pictures that can verify your ownership of the stolen items. These will help you across the insurance claims process faster and you'll get your compensation faster.
Claiming car insurance is not always hassle-free. But if you know the proper steps to file auto insurance claims, you can minimize your headache and financial impact of car accidents, car theft, and other such impromptu events.