Car Insurance 101: What it is, what it does, and why you need it
Auto insurance helps protect you financially from the costs of damages to or caused by your car. Those costs can add up quickly: damages to your vehicle, damages to another vehicle or property, medical bills if you're injured, medical bills if your passengers are injured, and that's just to name a few. What if the other driver doesn't have enough insurance to cover the damages? You could be left on the hook for that money, too. Car insurance provides valuable protection from these costs, including liability and medical costs, too.
Car insurance can be a lifesaver. Your insurance can cover what you need to get back on the road, whether that's a new car part or medical payments to get you back to healthy. Don't just take our word for it - car insurance is so important it's required in some form in all states. The levels of required coverage vary from state to state; however, you should make sure your coverage not only meets the required minimums, but also offers enough protection for your vehicle and assets.
How it works
When you get an auto insurance policy, you agree to certain coverages and limits, which will dictate what is covered and how much it's covered for. The types of coverage and how much coverage (the coverage limits) you choose will affect how much you'll pay in premium, which is the cost of your policy. The deductible you choose will also affect your premium. A deductible is a set amount of money you agree to pay out of pocket before your coverage kicks in. The lower the deductible, the higher the premium, and vice versa. Your policy is essentially an agreement between you and the insurance company you pay them however much in premium each month, and if you get in into an accident, they'll pay for the covered damages up to the limits.
If you damage your car and need the insurance company to pay for it, you'll need to file a claim (as we say in insurance speak). How to file a claim and what's required will vary based on the situation, the insurance company, and how much damage has been done. Often, you'll need to give them a call and they can walk you through it. At the time of the accident, you'll want to take to photos of the damages and file any police reports necessary. The insurance company will use these to help process your claim.
If it's a covered damage with the proper documentation, your insurance company will help pay your claim! You'll be off the hook for paying for damages; all you'll have to pay out of your own pocket is what's left of your deductible. However, claims can affect your premium going forward and may temporarily raise your rates in the future, since getting in an accident is an indicator of risk.
Why you need it
Car accidents can be incredibly expensive. Car insurance offers you financial protection from accidents and damage.
This content is made available by AutoBlog's partner, MyLifeProtected. Copyright 2009-2016 MassDrive Insurance Group, LLC.
- Most and least efficient car companies
- Fastest-depreciating cars in the United States
- Find and compare 2017 Models