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Q. Does my policy cover anybody who drives my car?

A. In general, most policies cover any licensed driver when driving your car, but make certain to check with your insurance agent regarding your individual policy and possible exclusions. You would want to ask about exclusions when shopping for car insurance quotes too. Insurers ask you to list all licensed drivers in your household and failing to do so could result in a claim denial.

Q. Will my policy cover my child while they have a learners permit?

A. The answer to this question can vary with state laws or the insurance company policies. The best way to be certain is to check with your insurance agent long before your child starts driver’s education. Most insures do not require adding your child to your policy until they actually gain their license. A word of caution, recommended that you check on this before your child is of age because some insurers may automatically add them to your policy, just for asking about it.

Q. Why did my agent add my son to my policy even though he will not be driving my car?

A. All insurers require that every licensed driver (related or not) living in a household carry insurance. The odds are that they will drive your car at some point in time, and because they live in your home, the occasional driver clause does not cover them. If you cannot afford to include them on your policy, it is necessary for them to have their own and show your insurer proof.

Q. Am I covered by my policy when I drive someone else’s car?

A. Usually, the vehicle owner’s insurance will cover other drivers, and it is not until their coverage is exhausted that your policy (called secondary insurance) will take effect.

Q. Will my policy cover me if I rent a car?

A. Typically, yes. A rental car usually qualifies for coverage under the non-owned vehicle clause included in your policy. State laws vary concerning whether liability policies cover rentals for physical damages, so be sure to check with your agent for individual laws.

Q. What action should I take immediately following an accident?

A. Calling the police and 911 (if anyone is injured) should be the first thing you do. Exchanging information with the other driver (s) is helpful, but be sure to ask them to stay until the authorities arrive. While you are waiting for the police, it might be beneficial to write down what happened, and of course, call your insurance company to report the accident.

Q. I have full coverage, so why did my policy not pay off my car loan when they declared it totaled?

A. If decided that your car is a total loss and the cause of loss is covered by your policy, the insurer will pay the current fair market price for that particular vehicle. The insurance companies have no control over how much you paid when you purchased the vehicle, and often the amount they reimburse is not the full amount owed to your lender.

Q. Could you explain what full coverage means?

A. Full coverage is a subjective terminology, and insurance needs change from person to person, vehicle to vehicle, and state to state, but it is common to define policyholders who purchase comprehensive and collision in addition to the required personal injury protection, liability, and uninsured or underinsured motorists as fully insured.

Q. How does Comprehensive and Collision differ?

A. Collision insurance covers policyholders for repairs to damages caused by a collision with another vehicle or object. While collision covers repairs needed due to potholes or a flipped vehicle, you will need Comprehensive insurance to cover your loss when you hit an animal, your car is stolen, or damaged by an act of nature.

Q. What does No Fault insurance mean?

A. No Fault insurance policy means that a policyholder and usually their passengers will receive benefits in the event of an accident, regardless of who was at fault. A No Fault policy will cover medical expenses, rehabilitation, and lost wages to injured parties. Because of this, individuals cannot sue the policyholder for pain and suffering unless they meet certain criteria, so state regulators believe it lowers litigation costs.

Q. How does Pay-as-you-drive insurance work?

A. Pay-as-you-drive insurance will consider the amount of miles you drive as well as the other normal factors that an insurers use to figure your rates. This type of coverage is a savings if you drive your car infrequently, i.e. if you live on campus, work out of the home, or ride public transportation most of the time. How the different insurance companies determine your mileage can vary, and some states require your vehicle to have OnStar in order to purchase this type of coverage.

Q. How do insurance companies decide premium rates?

A. Insurers use many factors to determine rates, such as driving records, age, where you live, where you park, if there is a gap in insurance coverage, and how much you drive.

Q. What deductible is best for me?

A. A higher deductible means a lower premium rate, but it also means that if you have a claim, you will have to pay more before the cheap car insurance coverage kicks in. Because of this, it is best to be certain that you will always be able to afford your deductible.

Q. Why is my premium higher than what my agent originally quoted?

A. You may have a ticket or accident showing on your record that you forgot about. The insurer accepts your answers as fact when originally writing your premium, but all insurance company’s check on your driving record before deciding your actual risk and premium rate.

Q. Will my bad driving record make it hard or expensive to buy insurance?

A. Yes. Multiple tickets or accidents can not only increase your premium rates, but also be cause for an insurer not to renew your policy. If this happens, your only choice may be to buy insurance through a high-risk group at a much higher cost.