Using Your Car Insurance

Things You Didn’t Know About Using Your Car Insurance

You might be one of the lucky few who has never had to make a claim using your car insurance. Congratulations! The bad news is that at some point in your life you are likely going to make a claim, and you need to know how your insurance works or you could be in for even more trouble.

Instead of waiting until you need to use your car insurance to figure out how it works, here are some things you probably don’t know about using your car insurance.

Car insurance rates can vary greatly!
When you are first choosing a car insurance policy, it is best to find a broker. A car insurance broker has the advantage of searching several car insurance companies for you at once. Instead of calling, emailing or filling out several online forms for varying companies, just ask your broker to find the best rate.

Brokers should also be good at answering your questions. They should understand why the rates vary and what specifically is covered under your policy.

What is no-fault insurance?
Sometimes referred to as personal injury protection (PIP), no-fault insurance can be confusing.  A common misnomer is that if you have a no-fault car insurance policy it means that no one will be found at fault in an accident.  This is simply not true. If you cause an accident, it is likely you will be held accountable (by both the law and your insurance).

What no-fault insurance actually refers to is that when you are in an accident that is not your fault, you won’t be personally forced to go after the other driver’s insurance for compensation. Your insurance company will do that for you.

No-fault insurance may also cover medical bills, income loss and other related expenses incurred by you (or your passengers), so long as it is within the terms of your policy and after the deductible is paid.

Your belongings are not covered.
If you are in an accident, any belongings in your car that are damaged are generally not going to be covered. Your laptop, GPS unit, cell phone, laundry pile, tablet or anything else of value will not be covered should they get damaged, lost or stolen.

Your beloved pet might be covered
Some auto insurance policies are starting to cover pet expenses in case they are also involved in an automobile accident. Be sure to inquire with your insurance company if Sparky is covered, especially if he rides everywhere with you. Keep in mind they also might have a cap on the veterinary bill as well.

What about vandalism?
If you opted for a comprehensive auto insurance policy, then you can breathe easy. Vandalism should be covered with a comprehensive policy. If you have ever found damage on your car like scratches, scrapes, or dents, then you know how frustrating it can be. It is likely you will still have to pay for the deductible, but it is important to report the damage to police and your insurance company.

Are car seats covered?
If you have ever bought a car seat, you know how expensive they can be. Whenever you are in an automobile accident, the car seat(s) should always be replaced. Luckily, many insurance companies do see the car seat as being part of the car, and therefore they will most likely replace it under your collision policy.

How do I get around after an accident?

If your car was deemed totaled or not driveable, then you might be wondering how you will get around now. Some policies have rental reimbursement coverage that will essentially pay for your rental vehicle until your car is fixed. Of course there is always a cap on the amount per day you can spend and the length of the rental.

Roadside Assistance
These days, many auto insurance companies keep icing the cake by offering more benefits. Some insurance policies will include roadside assistance. If your get a flat tire, your car runs out of steam (or gas) or your battery dies, roadside assistance can save the day.

Bottom Line
The key really is to know your auto insurance policy before you need to use it, so there are no surprises when you need to make a claim. You may think you will never need to use your car insurance, but think again. It really is only a matter of time before you need to file a claim.

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