I’m one of those people who waves to other drivers and occasionally pulls over to have a civil conversation with them via the window. It’s probably too nitpicky to argue whether this is due to the friendliness of Midwesters or the state of the dirt roads I frequently travel on. However, a recent discovery that one in seven of those drivers is likely uninsured is somewhat unsettling. I suppose I should drive defensively and keep both hands on the wheel rather than wave them around.
The Insurance Research Council estimates that 14% of American drivers travel the country’s highways unprotected by auto insurance [source: Insurance Research Council]. Even if car owners have insurance, whether they have enough coverage is a different story. Driving an older vehicle, particularly one that is paid off and may not be in the best condition, can encourage one to reduce insurance rates. So how much insurance is required for an older vehicle?
According to Andrew Schrage, co-owner of Money Crashers Personal Finance, “the assumption that you can cancel all non-required coverage on your automobile just because it is older is just not accurate.”
You put your funds at risk from prospective lawsuits if you don’t have insurance or enough insurance. You can never be too careful when it comes to insurance coverage, according to Schrage, given the extremely litigious world of today.
The truth is that if you cause an accident and have only inadequate insurance, you’ll pay dearly for it since you’ll be held legally liable for any damages that aren’t covered by your insurance, and these expenses may quickly mount up. You can end up paying for any property damage, medical expenses, and legal fees associated with any potential legal disputes. Your other assets, such as your house, savings, and even the vehicle that got you into this issue, are all at risk because of this [source: Ohio Department of Insurance].
According to Schrage, a variety of variables, including your net worth, driving history, and the value of your automobile, will determine the amount of insurance coverage you should get for an older vehicle. (Use Edmunds, Kelley Blue Book, or a similar resource to find out how much your car is worth.) Additionally, your insurance policy should meet the minimum insurance requirements set forth by your state.
What kind of protection do you require?
While different states have different legal minimum insurance requirements, all save New Hampshire require liability insurance. Let’s start there to figure out how much insurance an older automobile will require.
Liability insurance consists of two types of coverage: physical injury liability, which pays for damages to other people’s property after an accident, and property damage liability, which pays for harm to other people’s property.
Even for older cars, a typical bodily liability coverage amount is 100/300 ($100,000 per person/$300,000 per accident), though it can be as low as 10/20 (the industry abbreviation for $10,000 per person/$20,000 per accident). For example, if one person were hurt in an accident, the insurance would pay up to $100,000 toward their medical expenses; however, if five people were hurt, the insurance would only pay up to $300,000. If you don’t have it, the cost of your medical care might financially devastate you in the event of an accident, according to Schrage.
Your net worth, which is the sum of the value of your assets less the value of your liabilities, determines how much property damage liability you require. You ought to decide to carry at least enough of this liability insurance to cover losses to other people’s property. The majority of the time, this will most likely be another driver’s car, but it may also contain other property. Property damage liability would pay up, for instance, if your car jumped a curb and you destroyed your neighbor’s privacy fence or living room.
Most jurisdictions have laws requiring uninsured motorist coverage, which provides financial security if you are found to be at fault in a collision but the at-fault driver has no insurance.
Although comprehensive insurance isn’t frequently required by the state, Schrage argues that it makes sense to include it in your coverage because it’s so affordable. In the event that your car sustains damage due to causes other than accidents, such as theft, vandalism, or fire, it will offer some financial protection.
Your car’s damages are covered by collision insurance in the event of an accident. “You must unquestionably take the value of your car into consideration when choosing the level of coverage. After your automobile turns eight years old, the majority of experts advise removing collision coverage because the premium just isn’t worth it “And Schrage.
Is it wise to get insurance “extras”?
If you drive an older vehicle, it’s probably acceptable to save money on your auto insurance. Knowing where to save money is crucial. Extra insurance benefits like rental car reimbursement or tow coverage aren’t necessary, especially if you live close to friends or relatives who would be happy to drive you to work if your car was in an accident or needed repairs.
However, there is some coverage that you shouldn’t omit. Glass protection can help you save hundreds of dollars, and it costs practically nothing: If you chose glass coverage, you may easily get your windshield repaired — frequently for no cost — if a rock from a passing truck breaks it. Without this protection, you’ll be responsible for paying out-of-pocket for windshield and window replacement or repair in an amount at least equal to any applicable deductible under your plan.
Personal injury protection, which can cover your medical expenses in the event of a car accident, may be a smart idea to have, even if it is not legally required and not available in all states.
This insurance normally pays 80% of medical expenses up to $10,000, with a ceiling of $8,000, and a medical payment rider of $2,000 can be added to cover any remaining costs. However, you should take into account the caliber of your individual health insurance policy while deciding on a level of coverage. You might not always want this additional coverage because your personal health insurance will be adequate, according to Schrage.
Compare insurance quotes from different companies and inquire about additional discounts for bundling your insurance services as you look for coverage for your older vehicle. To receive an additional 10 to 20 percent off your insurance costs, Schrage advises considering adding a homeowner’s or life insurance policy with your provider.
Most importantly, keep your policy active. If you are stopped by the police for whatever reason, what you are doing could be against the law, and you could face criminal charges. Additionally, your prices will be greater if you apply for auto insurance without already having a coverage.
I’ve been thinking about car insurance lately, perhaps since my dependable four-wheeled steed’s rear bumper now has a noticeable ding. I went back to my car after a breakfast meeting at a nearby restaurant and found that someone had backed into it and driven off without leaving a note.
I was informed by a police officer who drove into the parking lot as I was inspecting the damage that the other motorist most likely did not have insurance. On the plus side, I do, which will undoubtedly lessen the blow as I gather repair costs from nearby body shops.