As drivers, we humans can make bad decisions and cause accidents. Consider how easy it is to drive while distracted. And we drive in a world full of perils — damaged and congested roads, flooded streets, fallen branches … the list is endless.
If you find yourself in an auto accident or if your car is damaged, regardless of the cause, a rock-solid auto insurance policy will minimize the resulting inconvenience and expense to you.
Here are 13 tips for a rock-star coverage. Review them with your Insurance Agent to ensure your policy is up to speed:
- Remember that your business is your auto insurer’s business. Report any intended business use of your personal vehicle to avoid a potential denial of your claim.
- Ignore state law. Wait a second … let us explain: Purchasing only the minimum amount of insurance as required by state law is dangerous and that minimum often will not be sufficient to pay the high costs of a lawsuit filed against you should you cause an accident that hurts someone or damages their property.
- Like your car but love your financial security: Stock up on liability limits and medical payments. It’s true that your lender may require you to have at least some insurance on your car, and to keep your loan, you must comply. However, don’t forget that your financial security is considerably more important than your car, and you can protect it with liability and medical payments insurance. If you’re buying on a budget, consider raising your physical damage deductibles (if your lender allows) and putting the premium savings towards higher limits of liability, medical payments, and toward uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.
- We repeat: Buy uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Why? Because placing your financial fate in the hands of others is dangerous, especially when it comes to auto accidents. According to the Insurance Research Council, in 2015, 13% of drivers in the U.S. had no insurance at all. And in some states like Florida, the number of uninsured drivers exceeds 25%! And we ask, do you trust a reckless driver to drive wreck-lessly?
- Make sure you have an umbrella policy that adequately covers your auto insurance policy. Contact your insurance agent to discuss options that may exponentially increase your liability insurance protection for little additional cost.
- Make sure your auto policy will pay for your alternative ride. If your car is damaged in an accident and requires time in the shop, you’ll need an alternative ride. Make sure your policy will cover the cost to get you where you (still) need to go.
- Raise your collision and comprehensive deductibles (often collectively called “physical damage”) to lower cost. This one has been a tried and true cost savings tip since the dawning of auto insurance.
- Is your car old and paid for? Get an estimate on its actual value and weigh that against the cost of your physical damage insurance. And if you can drop physical damage coverage to save some bucks, (once again) put the cost savings into higher limits of liability, medical payments, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and an umbrella policy.
- Always ask about insurer discounts. Have excellent credit? Have a child who recently completed a safe-driving course? Can you purchase another type of insurance — such as homeowners insurance — possibly from the same insurer? Auto insurers often offer discounts for these and other factors.
- Choose an insurer that offers “telematics” or “usage-based insurance” technology. It’s estimated that by 2020, 70% of all auto insurers will offer such app-based or device based options that collect data on your driving habits and could save you money.
- Follow the easy rules to avoid accidents. For example, would you drive with your eyes closed? Of course not. But typing that text or any other activity that distracts you is the equivalent of doing just that. According to enddd.org (“End Distracted Driving”), at least 15% of crashes are distraction-related and more than 58% of teen crashes are attributable to driver distraction. Keep your eyes on the road.
- Use the tools on your phone to help you avoid the temptation to talk or text. For example, your iPhone can be easily programmed to not disturb you while driving.
- Purchase the damage waiver if you rent a car. The cost of the waiver makes it easy to say “no, thanks” to the guy at the counter, but not having it could wreck your finances if you wreck the rental. Contact your insurance agent to learn more about possible limitations in your auto policy if your accident takes place in a rental car.
Follow our 13 lucky tips, and you’ll be an auto insurance rock star! Okay, maybe “rock star” is a stretch … but using this list to review your auto policy with your insurance agent will put you on the fast track to avoiding financial devastation resulting from an auto accident.
To review your current coverage or if you have questions, please contact Professional Insurance Programs at 800-637-4676 or [email protected].