Car insurance is available in a variety of forms, just like automobiles themselves. It’s also a good thing because 47 states in the US have laws requiring it, so you might as well have choices. But do such choices cover the person or the car? Okay, both. We’ll examine precisely which types of auto insurance relate to what in this article.
Different types of coverage are available in bundles that include auto insurance. Some of them are specific to your vehicle, including comprehensive coverage, which covers theft, vandalism, and other types of non-accident-related damage. That means even though you aren’t driving it, your car is still protected if your brother borrows your car to get to work because his broke down. In this situation, your brother or anyone else you permit to operate your vehicle is referred to be a permissive driver.
However, imagine that as you are driving along, a street sign suddenly appears in front of your vehicle. Your windshield has a significant crack, and the sign undoubtedly lacks insurance. Do you have to cover the costs of the damage? If you have collision insurance, no. Collision coverage will always pay for your losses in the event of an accident, regardless of who is at blame [source: Kiplinger]. Naturally, this is useful when dealing with inanimate objects. Collision insurance, like comprehensive coverage, protects your car as long as a permissive driver is in control of it.
We’ll examine the other aspect of auto insurance on the following page, namely the kinds of policies that cover the driver rather than the vehicle.
Auto Insurance that Sustains the Individual
One sort of coverage that follows the person rather than the vehicle is liability insurance. It will cover any harm you’re proven to have caused to other people or other people’s property. The three forms of liability insurance are person, accident, and property. Individual insurance is the maximum amount your policy will pay for one person hurt in an accident (which, yes, covers property damage).
So how much protection do you actually need? That depends on where you live, I suppose. For instance, Pennsylvania mandates that all motorists carry a minimum of $15,000 in coverage for single-person injuries, $30,000 in coverage for all injuries sustained in an accident, and $5,000 in coverage for property damage. The amount required for multiple-injury coverage varies greatly per state, with Alaska having the highest standard at $100,000.
Two additional forms of insurance that accompany the person rather than the car are medical payments and bodily injury insurance. Regardless of who caused the collision, medical payments coverage (med pay) covers any injuries you or your passengers may sustain. Talk to your health insurance provider if you’re unsure if med pay coverage is necessary if you have good health insurance currently. Although medical pay insurance is typically an option, certain jurisdictions do mandate it [source: Auto Insurance Tips]. To learn what kind of insurance are necessary and how much you must be insured for, contact your state’s Department of Driver Services or Department of Motor Vehicles.
All of this means that if you match the following two criteria, you are still insured even if you are operating someone else’s vehicle:
- The driver of the vehicle you are using must first be covered by insurance. You’re insured as long as you have authorization to drive that car because most insurance follows the vehicle, not the driver.
Second, as a driver, you must be covered by insurance. Although the driver’s insurance already covers this, things like comprehensive and collision insurance won’t follow you to a car that isn’t yours.
- Additionally, regardless of the vehicle you drive, you are covered by your own policy for coverage like medical payments that does not accompany the automobile.
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Let’s face it: Writing about auto insurance isn’t the most exciting topic. However, I did found writing about it to be quite helpful because, if I drive a car, it’s good to know how it’s protected, right? Many of the agents I spoke with were unaware of how auto insurance functions in states other than their own, but it turned out that auto insurance-related websites were useful sources. However, since their clients truly do need to comprehend what they’re getting before they pull out the credit card, I was in fortunate. That’s not normally the case with websites that are attempting to sell you anything. The information about how state-by-state variations in coverage needs was also really intriguing, and I’ll definitely keep that in mind the next time I go on a road trip.