When it comes to auto insurance, you may be confused by all the language and jargon filled out on policy documents. Have no fear! Premier Shield Insurance always helps to simplify the process of understanding the coverages and helping consumers select the right limits to hold on their policies to protect them in the event of a loss. To get started we’ll go over the basic requirements that states may require people to carry.
Whether a consumer is from Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, or New Hampshire insurance is a necessary requirement used in protecting an individual against lawsuits stemming from an auto related incident. New Hampshire doesn’t require individuals carry insurance – however – the insurance carriers have a minimum threshold for coverage that they are required to offer as seen in the above link.
Various carriers and agents elect to offer minimum protection levels to consumers based on various reasons. The reasons Premier Shield Insurance often hear are based on financial levels.
For instance, “you only rent so you don’t have a lot of things to worry about losing if you are in an accident and get sued so don’t bother paying for higher limits.” Another solid reason to balk at is “well you have young drivers in the household and it’s already pretty expensive to insure new drivers, so we should drop the limits to cut your costs dramatically.” Premier Shield Insurance hears a lot of these style of reasons for carrying low limits and the research shows it’s dramatically important for consumers to understand that the state minimums are only sufficient for individuals looking for the ability to drive a car on the roads not to protect against losses or lawsuits.
Insurance is meant as an asset protection against catastrophic loss. People pretend that catastrophic losses or accidents will never happen for the individual situation, but the truth is these types of losses and accidents are occurring more and more frequently as populations grow and roads become congested at unprecedented rates. Driving a car safely in these conditions is becoming closer to playing and winning the lottery than the country has seen in the past generations.
Auto Insurance Bodily Injury Liability Limits
Consumers should consider raising their liability limits (as a start) to a minimum of $50,000/$100,000 as a renter and $100,000/$300,000 as a homeowner.
The insurance protection and value associated with carrying these limits, despite still leaving room for higher limits, results in doubling or even quadrupling what states are requiring for individuals to carry. Consumers may feel this is overkill, but having wages garnished or selling personal belongs or even needing to sell a house is the real overkill.
After the liability limits are carefully researched and understood consumers may wonder about all the other coverages on a policy, such as Comprehension, Collision, Medical Payments, Personal Injury Protection, Towing and Labor, Rental Car, Accident Forgiveness, Diminishing Deductibles, and Glass.
The good news is all these coverages are optional consumers unless requirements are put forth by finance companies on auto loans.
Comprehension and Collision Coverage
Comprehension and Collision are the two main options that people select on auto policies to protect them from physical damage to the listed vehicle(s).
The deductible (the amount paid by the insured out of pocket) can range from $0 to $2500, depending on the carrier, and the insurance carrier will pick up the rest of the costs associated with having the vehicle fixed to the prior accident condition.
The deductibles generally lead to the biggest price point on the insurance policy so a consumer should select the deductible based on personal budget AND personal finances (if an accident were to happen tomorrow can the person come up with $1000 out of pocket or $2000 out of pocket to cover the deductible?
Is paying a little more per month worth saving an extra $1000-$1500 headache at a later time in case something goes wrong?).
Medical payments cover an insured’s passenger in the vehicle that may suffer injuries at the time of a loss. The coverage is state specific but is generally a nice “bow-tie” option for the super cautious individuals who care greatly about the well-being of passengers. The option is generally affordable with the price being less than $1 a month to the policy premium.
Personal Injury Protection or PIP for short is similar to Medical Payments in that it’s not always available because it is state specific, but the big difference is PIP covers lost wages for the passengers that are injured in an accident.
Towing and Labor vs Roadside Assistance
Towing and Labor or sometimes Roadside Assistance is a big feature for individuals who may not carry a separate a membership to private corporations that offer towing or roadside assistance. If a consumer breaks down the insurance carrier sends out a driver to tow the vehicle to a specific location to get fixed.
Towing and Labor is a reimbursed option which means the insured pays out of pocket for the towing and labor costs and then files a claim with the insurance carrier for reimbursement of funds up to a limit set by the insurance carrier.
Most carriers offer an upgraded version of this coverage to Roadside Assistance for affordable premium increases of a few dollars a year. Roadside Assistance from each carrier offers additional coverages built into the price so make sure to ask an agent for those additional coverages.
A note to keep in mind is most people elect for the insurance coverage of Roadside Assistance AND the separate membership through a private corporation for the situations where the private corporation may be delayed in servicing an area (due to weather conditions, availability of drivers in the area, time of day, etc.).
Rental Car Reimbursement Coverage
Rental Car coverage protects an individual from losing out on transportation if the vehicle is sent in for servicing after an accident occurs. The limits on this coverage are a dollar per day amount over a thirty-day window amount. For instance, $30 a day for up to 30 days is a maximum of $900.
The cost of renting a car out of pocket adds up quickly and consumers may consider raising the amount of the per day limit as most rental car businesses and corporations raise prices regularly only offer small compact sedans at the $30 a day price point.
The price of this coverage is also extremely affordable at just a few dollars a month in additional premium.
Accident Forgiveness is a coverage meant for individuals with no accidents, tickets, or major claims on their driving history from the last 5 consecutive years (sometimes 6 years for Massachusetts). Essentially this coverage protects an individual’s premium from increasing solely for the first accident (sometimes first ticket) that the individual suffers. The coverage must remain on the policy even after the accident (or ticket – depending on the carrier) occurs as this coverage is used to protect against financial burden for potential rate increases from the accident payout. The price for this coverage and availability depends on each carrier and insured’s situation, so make sure to ask an agent for more details on this subject.
Diminishing Deductibles reduces the deductible for a policy for each term designated by the insurance carrier (6 months or 12 months) by either $50 or $100. Essentially this coverage is meant for individuals that don’t file a claim or need to file a claim. With this coverage, over 5 years without a claim means that a $1000 deductible can drop to $500 if the insured stays with the same carrier and keeps this coverage on the policy. Accident Forgiveness and Diminishing Deductibles are reward coverages so if an insured wants these protections based on individual driving experiences, ask an agent to place these on the policy.
Glass coverage sees through a policy! All jokes aside this coverage is good protection from cracked windshields or fully smashed windshields. Glass claims are common especially in winter with freezing temperatures and sand trucks kicking up debris on the roads.
Massachusetts includes glass but gives the option to exclude the coverage to save money, and other states offer this coverage attached to Comprehensive by the designation of Comprehensive w/ Glass.
Many insurance carriers are now offering specific glass deductibles of $0 up to $100 in certain states to offer more pricing options for customers and often carriers will waive the deductible if the windshield is repairable rather than needing a replacement.
As time goes on more and more carriers are adding optional coverages exclusive to their agents, so make sure to reach out to Premier Shield Insurance every so often to see what else is being offered.
Feel free to request an auto insurance quote from one of our licensed indepent insurance agents. We have a ton of experience and we’re expert agents when in comes to dealing with complex auto insurance situations.