Am I Adequately Covered by 'Typical' Car Insurance?

If there's one thing you'll learn when doing research on auto insurance, it's that what some might call "average car insurance"—meaning a typical car insurance policy—can vary in what it offers. When you're shopping for auto insurance, you should be aware of some persistent myths about "typical," or basic, auto insurance as you look for a policy that fits your needs.

A man takes time to cover up his prized car.

Myth #1: I have to pay a lot of money to get comprehensive coverage.

Comprehensive coverage typically covers damages and losses that are not caused by a collision with another car. It may make sense to have this coverage, as your car doesn't necessarily have to be in operation to be at risk for damage. There are many things that can damage or destroy your vehicle, including natural disasters, vandalism and theft.

Comprehensive coverage is often optional, however. But, there are still reasons you may want to consider it. If you owe money on an auto loan, your lien holder may require you to have comprehensive coverage on the vehicle. But, even if you have paid off your loan, getting comprehensive coverage can still make a lot of sense, especially if your car is worth a lot of money.

To keep your premium payments down to a manageable level, you can consider raising your deductible, the amount of money you must pay out of pocket to repair or replace your vehicle before your insurance policy begins to pay the rest. The higher your deductible is, the less your comprehensive coverage will cost in premiums.

One factor to consider when deciding whether to raise your deductible, however, is that in the event of a claim you will need to pay the deductible amount before your policy pays the rest. So, you may want to make sure you can afford to pay the deductible if you need to.

Myth #2: Is Personal Injury Protection only for people without health insurance coverage?

A common myth about Personal Injury Protection (sometimes abbreviated and referred to as PIP) is that it's not necessary as long as you already have health insurance coverage. But, PIP is important for couple of reasons. One is that PIP is required by law in some states.

The other reason you may want to consider PIP is because of the coverage it provides. If you've involved in an accident and get injured, your health insurance will probably kick in. However, there are some things that PIP covers that probably are not going to be taken care of by your medical insurance plan, regardless of how good it is:

  • Income continuation. If you're hurt so badly that you have to stay in bed for two months as you recover, you might use all your paid sick time at work and could even lose your job as a result. In this case, PIP coverage may pay for some of your lost income.
  • Loss of services. If you have PIP, you may be reimbursed if your injury has caused you to have to spend additional money to have certain services performed for you that you normally would do yourself if you weren't injured. Examples of such services may include transporting your kids to and from school, mowing your lawn or shopping for groceries.
  • Child-care expenses. In the event you're not able to care for your children due to a serious injury, you may receive payment under your PIP coverage.
  • Funeral expenses. In a worst-case scenario, you may have some coverage for this expense through PIP

Personal Injury Protection is a widely available coverage that you can get through the majority of auto insurance providers. In other words, it's something that can come with typical auto insurance policies and doesn't require any extraordinary measures to obtain.

Myth #3: Meeting the minimum legal requirements is the only goal you should have when buying auto insurance.

In some cases, you may find that the minimum coverage that your state requires is sufficient to cover you for a variety of potential scenarios. In other cases, it might be wise to select optional additional coverages and increased limits to give yourself a buffer against more behind-the-wheel possibilities. Whatever you do, taking into account the value of your car is the first step in choosing the plan that will fit your needs. Once you've done this, it may be easier to tailor your policy to make your insurance needs align with your budget.

Ultimately, it's possible to acquire wide-ranging coverage for your vehicle and for yourself. In order to do this, your best bet is to get in contact with an insurance agent so that you can discuss the options and select the right car insurance policy for you.

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Published: May 2013

Coverage subject to terms, conditions, and availability. Policy issuance is subject to qualifications. Allstate Insurance Company, Allstate Indemnity Company, Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Company, Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Company, Northbrook, IL. © 2013 Allstate Insurance Company, Northbrook, IL.

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