Automobile Insurance 101

There is a lot to know about auto insurance in order to fully understand what you’re paying for. The following information provides a quick education to help you navigate the twists, turns and choices involved in buying auto insurance.

Auto insurance includes three broad coverage categories designed to protect you from financial loss if you have an accident:

Property coverage pays for damage to or theft of your car.

Liability coverage pays for your legal responsibility to others for bodily injury or property damage.

Medical coverage pays for the cost of treating injuries, rehabilitation and sometimes lost wages and funeral expenses.
Within the three broad coverage categories listed above, an auto insurance policy is comprised of six different kinds of coverage. Most states require you to buy some, but not all, of these coverages. If you’re financing a car, your lender may also have requirements.

  • Liability
  • Medical payments
  • Uninsured motorist/Underinsured motorist
  • Damage to your auto
  • Personal injury protection (no fault)
  • Additional, optional coverages
Remember that in order for your insurance coverage to take effect, all drivers and cars must be specifically listed on your policy. You should also refer to your automobile contract for the specific terms and conditions of the coverage that you have purchased. If you have any further questions, you should speak directly with a Tri-Town agent.

Liability

Let’s face it. If you have an auto accident, the legal costs could be devastating. Liability coverage offers protection against claims, property damage or bodily injury to a third party that you or a member of your household accidentally caused while driving your car. This coverage applies only if the driver is considered legally responsible for the damage.

Medical payments

The last thing you need to worry about at the time of an accident is your medical insurance. The medical payments portion of your policy assures that you, your family members and passengers in your car will receive necessary medical and dental services resulting from an auto accident, regardless of who caused the accident. We also provide coverage if you and your family members are involved in an accident as a pedestrian.

Uninsured motorist/Underinsured motorist

Uninsured motorist coverage will pay for injury expenses incurred should you, your family members or passengers be involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist. This coverage also provides protection for a hit-and-run accident or an accident with a driver who has less insurance than required by law.

Underinsured motorist coverage comes into play when the other driver is found legally responsible for an accident and has coverage, but not enough to cover your injuries. If your coverage limits are higher than those of the at-fault driver, this coverage will absorb the additional expenses.

Un/Underinsured coverage is not identical in all states since each state has its own uninsured motorist laws. In most states this coverage applies to bodily injury only. However, property damage coverage is available in some states.

Damage to your auto

We’ve discussed legal and medical damages. Another common loss is the physical damage to your vehicle that can result from an accident. There are two types of physical damage coverages: Collision and Comprehensive.

Collision coverage pays for any damage to your car caused by accidental impact with another vehicle or object, or if your vehicle overturns. The maximum amount to be paid is limited to the actual cash value of your vehicle, which is often referred to as the “local market value,” less the collision deductible. Please remember that the local market value is only a starting point. The actual cost of the car may be more or less depending on the actual condition of the car.

Comprehensive coverage pays for most types of damage to your car resulting from a situation other than a collision. Typical examples include breakage of glass, falling objects, fire, theft, windstorm, hail, water, flood, malicious mischief, vandalism, or impact with a bird or animal. The maximum amount paid is limited to the actual cash value of your vehicle less the “other than collision” deductible.

Situations where damage is not covered: Please be aware that your policy will not pay for damages due to normal wear and tear such as mechanical or electrical breakdowns and flat tires.

Personal injury protection (No-fault)

Your policy will provide no-fault insurance for residents of states where it is required. This means that you, your family and any passengers are covered under your policy regardless of who is responsible for the accident. This coverage includes medical, surgical, dental, hospital, work loss and certain other related expenses. This same coverage extends to you or your family member in an accident as a pedestrian.

Additional, optional coverages

Some coverages are not included as part of the basic auto policy. However, you can customize your policy to your needs by adding the following coverages:

  • Towing and labor: Pays for towing and labor costs each time your car is disabled. Covered labor must be performed at the place where your car is disabled. There’s usually a limit to the dollar amount that will be applied to each loss.
  • Rental reimbursement: Pays for a rental car if your car is damaged by a situation covered by comprehensive or collision coverage and if your car is out of commission for more than 24 hours.
  • Tapes, records, CD coverage: Pays up to a certain amount for loss of tapes/CDs used with your car’s stereo equipment, as long as they are in your car at the time of loss.
  • CB radio/car phone: Unless installed by the manufacturer, these items are not covered under your basic policy. This additional coverage pays for loss to your CB or two-way radio/telephone if the equipment is not permanently installed in your car at the time of loss.

Auto Insurance
Complete Protection for Your Car

Have you ever overpaid or underpaid for something? Why not have a better understanding of your auto policy, which means a better understood policy to fit your specific car coverage needs.

Auto policy provides:

  • Collision coverage – Covers auto damage from a collision with another car.
  • Comprehensive coverage – Covers auto damages from causes such as fire, theft, hail, vandalism or many other events.
  • Bodily injury liability – Protects against a claim or lawsuit if others are injured in an auto accident that you or your family are considered legally responsible.
  • Property damage liability – Protects against a claim or lawsuit for any damage you may cause by an auto accident to someone else’s auto or property.
  • Medical payments – Pays for reasonable medical expenses, or certain other expenses resulting from an auto accident for you, your family and your passengers.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured motorist – Covers injury resulting from a hit-and-run accident or uninsured driver.

Additional coverage options:

  • Rental reimbursement – Covers the expense of a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired.
  • Towing and labor – Provides towing service for a disabled vehicle.
  • Easy Use Claim Services

We offer important extras:

  • Fast, efficient claim handling available around the clock, 365 days a year
  • Countrywide, guaranteed auto-repair program
  • World-class auto glass repair shops that can provide service at your home or office

You can save with:

In addition to competitive rates that recognize customer differences, many companies offer a variety of discounts and credits:*

  • Multi-car discount
  • Hybrid Auto Discount
  • Good driver discount
  • Driver training credit
  • Good student discount
  • Savings for vehicles with passive restraints, airbags, anti-lock brakes and certain anti-theft devices
  • Many more additional credits available
For even greater savings, convenience and simplicity, you can bundle your auto policy with another policy.

This material is for informational purposes only. All statements herein are subject to the provisions, exclusions and conditions of the applicable policy. For an actual description of all coverages, terms and conditions, refer to the insurance policy. Coverages are subject to individual insureds meeting our underwriting qualifications and to state availability.