Traffic accident scenarios are common, from fender-benders to highway crashes. In fact, according to the Census Bureau, over 10 million accidents occur on U.S. streets each year. The key is to be prepared so that the costs involved in recovering from an accident are not devastating to your finances.
Trusted Choice® member insurance agents handle the concerns of drivers every day, answering questions like “How much car insurance do I need?” and “How do I choose my auto insurance deductible?” You can find an agent or get a quick insurance quote right now by entering your ZIP code.
Automobile traffic accidents cost $299.5 billion annually in the U.S.
Crashes cost $61,600 on average
A critically injured person can accumulate $1 million in medical expenses
Legal defense alone can cause devastating financial hardship, even if it turns out you are not found to be at fault. For this reason, it is important to think carefully about the coverage you may need in the event of an accident. If you buy car insurance online without professional advice, you may not be fully covered.
When you work with an independent agent, you are not stuck with one insurance company and the solutions that company provides. Instead, you will have a range of choices from top insurance companies.
Your independent agent will assess your needs based on factors such as the number of drivers in your family and their ages. Your agent will also look at bundling multiple vehicles together, or combining your home and auto policies under one insurance company, so that you can get the best value for your dollar.
Your agent can help you review several policy choices, coverage limits, deductibles and pricing and choose the best fit for you.
Drivers in every state are required to have auto liability insurance, such as personal injury protection (PIP).
Car insurance liability requirements vary by state, and include a minimum amount for bodily injury costs per person and per accident as well as a minimum for property damage liability. If you cause an accident, liability coverage pays those costs, up to the limits set for your policy.
In addition to required liability coverage, you may also want collision coverage to protect your investment in your vehicle. And depending upon your specific needs and risks, you may also want comprehensive coverage – now known as “other than collision.” Together, collision and comprehensive can provide protection for everything from accidents to theft and vandalism.
There are three primary types of insurance coverage:
Liability insurance: Covers the costs associated with injuries and property damage you are responsible for if you cause an accident.
Collision: Covers the costs to repair or replace your damaged or destroyed vehicle after an accident.
Comprehensive: Formally known as “other than collision,” this portion of your policy covers damage to your vehicle from causes such as auto theft and weather damage.
There are also several different types of coverage which may be available to you, including:
Medical payments: Covers the costs of injuries for you and others in your vehicle after an accident, regardless of who was at fault.
Personal injury protection (PIP): Similar to medical payments coverage, PIP coverage can pay your medical costs after an accident, regardless of fault. But PIP offers expanded coverage that includes coverage for lost wages.
Rental reimbursement: Pays a certain amount daily for a replacement vehicle if yours is in the shop for repairs.
Towing and roadside service: Provides emergency roadside assistance and towing to help you get your vehicle back on the road or to a shop for repair.
As you consider your policy needs, it is important to keep the coverage limits in mind. The costs of a severe crash can quickly exceed the limits. If that occurs, you will have to pay for costs out of your own pocket.
Shopping for insurance online may be a great way to get information and rough quotes, but there are drawbacks to actually buying your auto coverage that way. One of the drawbacks with buying car insurance online is that it may not match your needs. Many people go looking for instant online insurance, only to find that it is difficult to know whether it offers the right amount and type of protection. Buying a no-frills basic car insurance policy may meet state requirements, but may not provide the compensation you need to recover from an accident.
It is important to discuss your risks and coverage options with a qualified insurance agent who can help ensure that you don’t have coverage gaps. An independent agent can help you learn everything you need to know to make an informed decision about your car insurance.
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