Auto insurance is a contract between the insured and the insurance company. The insured agrees to pay the premium and the insurance company agrees to pay losses as defined in the policy.
Auto insurance provides property, liability and medical coverage:
Property coverage pays for damage to the car.
Liability coverage pays for the policyholder’s legal responsibility to others for bodily injury or property damage.
Medical coverage pays for the cost of treating injuries.
Most states require drivers to have auto liability insurance before they can legally drive a car. (Liability insurance pays the other driver’s medical, car repair and other costs when the policyholder is at fault in an auto accident.) A basic auto
This coverage applies to injuries that the policyholder and family members listed on the policy cause to someone else. As motorists in serious accidents may be sued for large amounts, drivers can opt to buy more than the state-required minimum to protect personal assets such as homes and savings.
This coverage pays for the treatment of injuries to the driver and passengers of the policyholder’s car.
This coverage pays for damage policyholders (or someone driving the car with their permission) may cause to someone else’s property. Usually, this means damage to someone else’s car, but it also includes damage to lamp posts, telephone poles, fences, buildings or other structures hit in an accident.
This coverage pays for damage to the policyholder’s car resulting from a collision with another car, object or as a result of flipping over. Collision coverage is generally sold with a deductible of $250 to $1,000—the higher the deductible, the lower the premium. Even if policyholders are at fault for an accident, collision coverage will reimburse them for the costs of repairing the car, minus the deductible. If the policyholder is not at fault, the insurance company may try to recover the amount it paid from the other driver’s insurance company. If the company is successful, policyholders will also be reimbursed for the deductible.
Uninsured motorist coverage will reimburse the policyholder, a member of the family or a designated driver if one of them is hit by an uninsured or a hit-and-run driver. Underinsured motorist coverage comes into play when an at-fault driver has insufficient insurance to pay for the other driver’s total loss.
This coverage reimburses for loss due to theft or damage caused by something other than a collision with another car or object, such as fire, falling objects, windstorms, hail, vandalism or contact with animals such as birds or deer. Comprehensive insurance is usually sold with a $100 to $300 deductible, though policyholders may opt for a higher deductible as a way of lowering their premium. Comprehensive insurance may also reimburse the policyholder if a windshield is cracked or shattered. Some companies offer separate glass coverage with or without a deductible.