From financial perspectives, auto insurance is both investment and waste of money.
· As an investment, the coverage protects vehicles and physical health in the event of accidents. Insurance company compensates for property damages and physical injuries.
· For safe driver or low-risk, this is a waste of money since the possibility of road accident is slim. With defensive driving techniques, auto coverage is almost useless.
Accidents do happen; even an expert driver can get into road accident due to bad weather, malfunction vehicle, sudden flat tire, and a lot of possible incidental reasons. Regardless of the circumstance, an accident almost always leads to collision. When that happens, other drivers sustain injuries and their vehicles need repair or replacement. In the attempt to avoid big expenses to compensate other drivers, auto insurance helps give the payout and keep everybody’s finances healthy.
Whether a collision is at policyholder’s fault or not, auto insurance company has the obligation to help its customers to settle financial disputes. The amount of financial assistance available, however, depends on the insurance policy. What makes things complicated is the fact that there is no one-policy-fits-all package. Everyone has different needs and personal preferences, so insurance providers must accommodate the needs with different sets of coverage and limits. There are plenty of coverage options and overwhelmed first-time buyers tend to make the wrong choices without guidance. Chances are they pay either too much or too little; both of which are wrong. Some factors that affect the types and amount of coverage include:
· Personal Liability: it is one of the most important types and mandatory in most states. In the event of accident where policyholder is at fault, this coverage provides compensation for other drivers’ and their passengers’ medical bills. Besides the protection from medical cost, Personal Liability also includes Property Damage coverage to compensate vehicle damage. The combination of those expenses can be too expensive to cover out of policyholder’s own pocket, so the coverage minimizes the risk of financial burden.
· Major Accidents: there can be thousands of vehicles on the road every day. With more of them, the risk of collision increases. In major accident situation which renders the policyholder’s vehicle damaged beyond repair, auto insurance Collision Coverage helps pay for the replacement. If damages are results of natural disasters such as fire and flood, Comprehensive Coverage kicks-in to provide assistance. Both collision and comprehensive are optional.
· Uninsured Driver: what if the at-fault party is uninsured? According to a 2014 study by Insurance Research Council, about 1 out of 8 drivers in the United States have no insurance. In ideal situation where all drivers have valid auto coverage, the cost for vehicle repair and medical bills are the burden of the at-fault party. Insurance providers offer Uninsured/Underinsured Coverage to prepare for such circumstance.
· Faulty Vehicle: regardless of how someone maintains a vehicle, there is a chance of engine breakdown, flat tire, or empty fuel tank in the middle of a trip. Roadside Assistance coverage helps to take care of the vehicle in this emergency situation. It is an optional purchase from insurance provider, but it can save you from hassles and difficulties. For those who drive dozens of miles on day to day basis may find the coverage as good preventive safety measure. Typical vehicle owners clubs tend to offer membership benefit that include roadside assistance as well. Members must pay annual fee to maintain the benefit, yet the service available from insurance company tends to be less expensive.
· Car Type: brand new vehicle that is still under manufacturer’s warranty has little chance of damage. On the other hand, old vehicle which has travelled thousands of miles or years of everyday usage is more prone to damages. Vehicles come in many different varieties such as SUVs, sport, luxury, off-road, and standard personal/family model without any excessive additional features. Performance cars come with higher premium rate due to higher possibility of speeding which can lead to accidents. Luxury vehicles with expensive replacement part also demand for higher premium. Some models have higher risk of theft as well, so the premium will adjust for the perils.
· Experience: insurance companies divide customers into two major categories: low-risk and high-risk. Teen drivers fall into the latter due to the lack of experience behind the wheel. Stand-alone teenage driver auto insurance can be expensive, but parents can include their children as secondary drivers to bundle the policy and get discounts. High-risk category also includes drivers with previous involvements in major accidents, recurrent traffic violations, and seniors.
Deductible and Premium
Premium is the payment policyholders have to make every month (or any agreed period). There are many ways to reduce premium such as deductibles and discounts. Deductible is a term to describe the amount of money that policyholders pay out of their own pockets to cover compensation. For example, an accident causes another car to sustain damage worth of $600. When policyholder pays $200 deductible, the insurance company only needs to pay $400. Many insurers offer discounts for safety devices, good students with good grades, multi-car policy, completion in Defensive-Driving course, and on time payment.