Wondering About Is Minimum Car Insurance Enough
This article will help you decide if carrying only the minimum required car insurance coverage is right for you. We all hope to find low cost car insurance, since the cheapest auto insurance would decrease our car insurance monthly payment.
The cost of the car coverage for your motor vehicle alone is not the only thing to consider when shopping of discount auto insurance. You have to look at lots more.
Stupid mandatory car insurance
The minimum car insurance requirement is determined by law. In other words, it is the minimum auto insurance required by law in your state.
Maybe you believe it’s stupid that the government tells you to have an insurance card and required coverage. That’s okay if that’s your opinion. Lots of people do feel that way.
However, keep this in mind: Vehicular accidents can come out of nowhere.
We’ve all had the experience of driving down the highway when the traffic slows down and eventually you pass a serious accident. Lots of police or highway patrol cars, maybe a fire truck or ambulance are there.
For many people their first thought is, “I wonder if anyone was seriously hurt or killed?’
Few of us initially wonder about the driver’s insurance coverage.
Wait a minute. Maybe you should.
Like that driver, accidents can happen to us in the blink of an eye and totally unexpectedly. In a matter of moments extremely serious medical, legal and financial problems can be created and you must be prepared to deal with them.
That’s what your insurance for cars does.
Am I covered?
If it happens to you, in an instant, you’re no longer thinking about the grocery list, or school, or work.
The immediate questions you ask yourself become extremely serious.
- Are the kids in the back seat okay?
- Am I hurt?
- Is anybody else hurt?
- My car is destroyed, now what?
- What caused this?
- Did I do something wrong?
- Did someone else cause this?
- What will my insurance company say?
- If there’s another car, what about that driver’s insurance coverage?
After an accident
It’s very frightening.
You’ve got a lot on your mind.
You shouldn’t have to worry about your insurance.
Unfortunately answering those questions and working through the process of getting them solved can take weeks, even months to work through and that’s without any serious injuries. The answers to questions about insurance coverage in a major accident are complicated.
Many people don’t know until after the accident what their insurance will take care of, and what it won’t.
Plan ahead. You don’t have to be in that situation.
You can become informed about which auto insurance options are available to you.
You can learn, what’s required as a minimum in your home state and what your particular policy covers you for.
What minimum coverage policies are for
If you purchased the cheapest auto insurance required minimum coverage policy to meet your state’s requirements for proof of insurance to get a driver’s license (and in many states you need it to register any car), you might think you’re adequately covered now for everything. Wrong.
You buy auto insurance for two reasons, to protect yourself and to protect the other guy. When your insurance is protecting him, you’re protecting yourself.
Minimum coverage policies vary a lot from one state to another. One common denominator, though, is that such policies are designed to provide only some benefits in case of bodily injury and for damage to other people’s property. They are really not designed to cover you very well.
States of the union differ in what they require you to carry. State minimum coverage is not the same everywhere.
While many states have similar minimum coverage requirements, don’t count on your state’s requirements to cover you elsewhere.
Many states insist on, “bodily injury” coverage. Just what that applies to changes between states. Florida for example, doesn’t require a driver to have or show proof of bodily injury coverage until they’re involved in an injury accident, then they have to already have had it in place.
In South Dakota, you don”t have to have it at all.
In Colorado you need to be covered for twenty five thousand dollars per person, up to fifty thousand total per accident.
Pennsylvania and Alaska require residents to have some the most complete and in depth minimum policies of any states, whereas California and Florida are among the most lax in their requirements.
Michigan and some other states are “no fault” insurance states. That means for the civil aspects of settling an accident, it doesn’t matter who caused it. All insurance companies involved work together to settle the claims.
In some states, if you have no car insurance at all, you are automatically at fault, and in huge trouble civilly and criminally. In other states uninsured drivers effectively get a pass. Driving without insurance makes you an uninsured motorist. This could be bad, bad news for you.
Going beyond the very minimum
Do you want to carry a policy according to the minimum insurance requirements? Do you want more than minimal car auto insurance liability coverage? These are all things you get to decide.
Read the info that follows carefully and start to get a feeling for your particular situation and your needs.
As you can see, because of state to state variability in requirements, you may have adequate minimum coverage in your home state, but if you cross the border and are in an accident, you can be judged to be under-insured.
There are a number of other categories of coverage to check your policy for and discuss with your insurance company. You might find these convenient or even essential for you. What follows next are some car insurance policy options you might add to the minimum insurance coverage the law requires to be purchased.
Comprehensive coverage is part of most policies which are not minimum coverage. Comprehensive car insurance repairs or replaces the car if it’s damaged by wind, fire, falling objects, water damage, theft or vandalism.
Insurance carrier companies write different exceptions, exclusions and limitations into this section.
They specify just what’s covered, when coverage applies and when it doesn’t. For example, two cars can be sitting side by side in a flooded parking lot. Both are a total loss. One can be covered, the other one not, depending on how the owner’s comprehensive coverage is written. It can be worth a lot to study this section of your policy.
Your vehicular collision coverage, which is also fairly standard in non-minimum policies, pays to repair your car in the event of an accident. If you hit something and other cars are not involved, or if you experience a hit and run, collision pays to fix the damage.
The company will set limits on collision coverage, based on the car’s value, age and condition.
You’ll determine your coverage and its premium cost, to some extent, by specifying the deductible limit amount (i.e., how much you’ll pay out of pocket before the company covers the rest).
Towing and roadside assistance is an optional coverage, and you’ll have to decide if it’s worth the money.
This may be also covered by your auto club membership, a dealer or manufacturer’s warranty, or elsewhere, to a limited degree, in the policy.
Read the policy and ask questions to avoid paying twice, if you don’t want to. On the other hand if you are driving an elderly aged junker car that breaks down a lot, consider that factor also.
Personal injury protection can be a bit complicated. It parallels bodily injury coverage but varies by state.
Some states require companies to provide these benefits only through the bodily injury section and you simply cannot buy personal injury protection in those states.
In other states you can have both. They cover different services or parallel each other somewhat. But personal injury protection will be the section which pays first.
Bodily injury will be applied only after the personal injury limits are reached or when services are required which aren’t covered by the personal injury section.
Uninsured or under-insured motorist coverage is an important section to consider.
It covers your losses when another driver is involved, who either has no insurance, or a limited or minimum policy, which won’t fully pay for your injuries or losses.
What should you do?
Which automobile car insurance coverage is best for you?
For most people with any assets or any financial obligations, bare minimum coverage isn’t enough. You potentially have a lot to lose.
Selecting the coverage options which are right for you is complicated. Each person, and each family has different needs because our lives are unique.
Meeting those coverage needs is confounded because insurance is regulated and controlled by each state.
Shop again for car insurance
Your needs are not static and may change.
You and your family may investigate, make decisions and purchase the best package, at the best price, from a company you’re satisfied with. End of story?
Then along comes a change of jobs, with a longer commute.
Maybe you have to relocate to another state.
You’ll find that any of these variables alone or in combination will create a need to reevaluate your coverage.
The other thing that can (and does!) happen is that your legally required auto liability minimum insurance amounts can be scheduled by the state or DMV to increase to a higher amount, which would require you to increase your coverage so that you are compliant with carrying this new (higher) minimum amount of mandatory insurance. States announce the date that the insurance law will change– common dates for this to occur can include January 1st, April 1st, July 1st, and October 1st (can depend on how the state keeps its calendar year).
Only you can answer whether your coverage is enough and at the right price. To get there, you have to spend the time to assess your needs, then go comparison shopping for the insurance company and the policy which fits you best. You will want to compare auto insurance coverage and rates.