Filing an auto insurance claim can be complex and overwhelming, being prepared can help you with the process. Learn the basics of car accident insurance, such as who is covered, what you need to do if you’re in an accident, what policy limits may apply, and how to protect yourself.
What Types of Insurance Do I Need for a Car Accident?
Generally speaking, your auto insurance policy must provide at least the following six coverages: Bodily Injury Liability Coverage, Property Damage Liability Coverage, Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage, Collision Coverage and Comprehensive Coverage. Depending on the type of accident and coverage you have chosen for your policy, all or some of these coverages may apply.
Bodily Injury Liability Coverage pays for an injured individual’s medical bills and other expenses if you are at fault in an accident. Conversely, Property Damage Liability Coverage pays for damages that you may have caused to another person’s property during an accident. Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage can help provide coverage when the person who has caused the accident either doesn’t have insurance or has too little insurance to pay for your injuries. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is a mandatory coverage in no-fault states, which provides additional coverage for medical costs after an accident. Collision Coverage can help pay for any damage incurred to your vehicle from a car accident, regardless of who is at fault. Comprehensive Coverage helps cover any non-collision related incident such as theft, vandalism or fire damage.
What Kinds of Damages Are Covered by an Insurance Claim After a Car Accident?
Generally, car insurance policies cover damages resulting from the economic costs of an accident, such as medical expenses, vehicle repairs and lost wages. Depending on the type of coverage you have chosen for your policy, additional costs may also be covered such as substitute transportation costs and other non-economic damages.
Damage to the accident vehicle can lead to significant costs. An insurance company will usually identify what repairs it deems necessary for making a car operational and safe again, before any compensation is released. Many car insurance policies will also provide rental coverage for obtaining a replacement vehicle while repairs are being made. In some instances, additional items covered by an insurance claim may include personal items that were lost or damaged in the accident, repair service fees, legal fees if applicable and in extreme cases, death benefits. Speak to your insurance representative to learn more about the details of the coverage under your policy.
How Do I Choose the Right Insurance Coverage for My Vehicle?
Choosing the right insurance coverage for your vehicle can seem overwhelming. Most drivers choose to purchase comprehensive coverage and collision. Comprehensive insurance covers damage caused by something other than a collision, such as theft, fire, or flooding. Collision coverage pays for damage caused by an accident with another car or object that you hit. Before deciding on an insurance policy, it's important to understand what is covered by each type of policy in detail and determine which option will best suit your needs.
Other types of coverage that can be added to your auto insurance policy include uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. These types of insurance policies protect your financial interests if you are in an accident with a driver who is not insured or is underinsured. Rental car reimbursement and roadside assistance are two more add-on options you may wish to consider for additional peace of mind. Finally, it’s important to weigh the costs and determine which level of coverage will provide you with optimum protection without breaking the bank.
Does my insurance policy cover someone else who is driving my vehicle?
Typically, yes. Most insurance policies will cover someone else driving your car as long as they have your permission. However, you should check with your specific insurance provider to make sure that other drivers are covered before allowing them to drive your vehicle. Additionally, many policies have restrictions on who is covered; for example, they may not extend coverage to drivers under the age of 25.
If someone is driving your car and they are not covered under your policy, then you will be responsible for any damage or liability from an accident. It’s important to ensure that anyone who drives your vehicle is listed on your policy, and that the limits of coverage are adequate in case of a damaging incident.
What is the Difference Between Liability and Collision Insurance?
Liability and collision car insurance are two different types of coverage. Liability insurance covers the cost of any damages caused by you to others; this includes property damage, medical bills, lost wages and other costs associated with an accident that you are liable for. Collision insurance, however, covers the repairs or replacement of any damage to your vehicle caused by a collision with another object such as another vehicle or a tree.
Liability insurance is a must-have for any driver and most states require drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability coverage. It's important to ask your insurance provider how much liability coverage you need to meet state requirements as well as for any additional protection you may want. Collision insurance is oftentimes optional but it can be beneficial if you are worried about the cost of replacing your vehicle in the event of an accident. Speak with your insurance provider about your needs and which type of coverage best fits your risk profile before signing a policy.