What's in an auto insurance policy?

The 6 parts of an auto policy

Your auto policy may include all 6 coverages or some of them. Each coverage is priced separately.

  • Bodily Injury Liability for injuries the policyholder causes to someone else.
  • Medical Payments or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) for treatment of injuries to the driver and passengers of the policyholder's car. At its broadest, PIP can cover medical payments, lost wages and the cost of replacing services normally performed by someone injured in an auto accident.
  • Property Damage Liability for damage the policyholder caused to someone else's property.
  • Collision for damage to the policyholder's car from a collision. The collision could be with another car, a light post, fire hydrant, etc.
  • Comprehensive for damage to the policyholder's car that doesn't involve a collision with another car. Covered risks include such things as fire, theft, falling objects, vandalism, and collision with an animal. Comprehensive with Full glass coverage is also available and would waive the deductible for any type of glass breakage - check your policy or ask your agent if this coverage is included on your policy.
  • Uninsured Motorist Coverage for treatment of policyholder's injuries as a result of collision with an uninsured driver. Underinsured motorist coverage can also be included in an auto policy. Underinsured motorist coverage comes into play when an at-fault driver has auto liability insurance, but the limit of insurance is inadequate to pay for your damages. Each state requires that you have certain types of coverages with minimum liability limits. The insurance industry recommends that your bodily injury liability limits be at least $100,000 per person and $300,000 per occurrence, especially if you own a home.

Other endorsements and credits you should know about

  • Rental reimbursement is available for an additional premium and would allow you to rent a replacement vehicle if your vehicle is damaged due to a covered loss. Most companies have a "per day limit" as well as a "maximum limit".
  • Towing and labor coverage is also available for a very small fee, subject to a maximum amount (usually $50 or $75).
  • Stereo equipment is only covered for comprehensive and collision if it is factory installed in the vehicle. If you need coverage for cell phones, cd players and stereo equipment that is not permanently installed, tapes, or other equipment, ask your agent about adding them to your policy. If you have any custom equipment (i.e. tv, carpeting, etc.) in your vehicle, make sure your policy is endorsed to include customized equipment.

Most insurance companies offer credits for such things as anti-lock brakes, airbags, factory installed theft systems, and driver safety courses. Driver education and good student credits are also available for drivers under the age of 21. Check with your insurance agent to see what credits are available.

Don't forget that most insurance companies offer a 5-10% credit on your auto insurance premium for having your homeowners insurance with the same company. Check with your insurance agent for a quote to combine both your home and auto insurance - it would be well worth your while!

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