Why Should I Purchase Auto Insurance?
When you or any member of your family drives an automobile you are financially responsible for any losses due to the injury of passengers in the car in case of an accident. You are also financially responsible for injuries to other individuals in an accident caused by you, and for any property loss. You can also incur massive legal expenses where the causes of any accident are contested or where the damages claimed are in dispute. Insurance provides a way to give you peace of mind, knowing that all covered costs, even legal fees, will be covered by the insurance company up to the limits of the policy coverage.
Your car is a major investment, and commonly critical to your income. The potential loss from even a minor accident can be very difficult to cover from available funds without badly damaging the family budget. Auto property damage insurance protects your investment and reduces your out-of-pocket expenses stemming from damage caused by accidents, vandalism, theft, or acts of God. Depending on your deductible, you may be able to completely restore your vehicle for $250 - $1000. If your car is financed, the lending institution will require you to carry comprehensive and collision coverage.
What are the Types of Auto Insurance Policies?
Bodily Injury Liability insurance covers you or a family member for injury or death to others as a result of an at-fault accident. The state of California requires every vehicle owner to carry minimum limits of $15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident. In order to properly protect your assets and/or future earnings, since you may be held personally responsible for judgments above your policy limits, we recommend bodily injury liability limits of at least $100,000 per person / $300,000 per accident. You may wish to carry substantially higher limits, and consider adding umbrella excess liability as well.
Property Damage Liability insurance covers you for damage you cause to other people's property, including; vehicles, buildings, walls, streetlights, etc.California's mandated minimum limit of $5,000 is totally inadequate to protect you. We recommend at least $100,000 of property damage liability coverage. The annual cost for these higher limits is very affordable, and could help you to avert financial disaster in a major accident or one that includes a luxury vehicle.
Collision insurance covers damage to your own vehicle in an accident. The most important decision you will make in purchasing this coverage is how much deductible you want to be responsible for. The higher the deductible you choose, the lower the cost in premium. Your Jaffe Insurance professional can help you make this decision
Comprehensive aka Other Than Collision (i.e., fire, theft, vandalism, earthquake, flood, and other non-collision damage) insurance covers losses due to break-ins, vandalism or theft, fire damage to your vehicle, earthquake, flood, and more. As with collision insurance, the big question for most insureds is how high of a deductible to carry.
Medical Payments insurance, usually in the range of $1,000 to $10,000 per person, provides immediate "good faith" payments for expenses for injuries to anyone involved in an accident involving a covered person or vehicle, regardless of who was at fault. It also covers you and members of your household in any accident involving an automobile. This coverage even includes accidents where you or a family member are involved as a pedestrian, on a bicycle, or in another person's car.
Uninsured Motorist (UM) and Underinsured Motorist (UIM) insurance provides coverage if you are injured in an accident caused by another motorist either without liability insurance (UM), or with liability limits that are lower than your own uninsured motorist coverage limits (UIM). Pays for your injuries, lost wages if you are unable to work, and any other sums you would have been legally able to collect from the other driver if they had had adequate insurance.
Uninsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD) or Collision Deductible Waiver (CDW) If you have chosen not to carry collision coverage, and your vehicle is damaged by an UM, UMPD coverage would pay up to $3,500 to repair it. If you do carry collision coverage on your vehicle, and are hit by a verifiable UM, the CDW coverage will waive your collision deductible.
Other coverages or endorsements available include Rental Reimbursement, Towing, Emergency Roadside Assistance, and Loan/Lease Gap coverage.
How Does the Car I Own Affect My Premium?
In addition to their cost, vehicles are rated according to the likelihood of that particular model being damaged, vandalized or stolen. For example a new SUV is expected to hold up better in an accident than a sports car or a subcompact. Some cars are rated better than others in safety tests and from statistics gleaned from actual accidents.
What Discounts Are Available?
Most insurance companies discount their rates for having multiple policies (auto/home), good drivers, those who take safety precautions, and those who add security measures. You can often lower your rates from 5 to 40 percent. The steps you take to increase safety or security benefit you no matter what, and you get a double benefit in terms of reduced cost of insurance.
Safety Features - Anti-lock brakes, air bags and passive restraint systems.
Good Driver - Clean violation record, drivers education courses for teenagers and defensive driving or accident prevention courses for drivers 55 and over.
Security Systems - Alarms, disabling devices, and tracking systems.
Changing Driving Habits - Any activity which might reduce miles per month: Commuting by public transit; using a company vehicle for work-related travel; car-pooling.
Multiple Policies - If you own a home and an automobile, many companies offer a discount for having both policies with the same company.