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15 Most Frequently Asked Questions About Car Insurance

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Written by
Greg Fowler
Auto Expert
Reviewed by
Jennifer Benson
Licensed Agent

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 claim denial.

If your parents or friend need to borrow your car, that is generally allowed. Be sure to check with your carrier first, though.

Q. Will my policy cover my child while they have a learner’s permit?

A. The answer to this question can vary with state laws or 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 insurers 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, they must have their own and show your insurer proof.

In some cases, the insurer may exclude your child from your policy if you do not want your child listed as a driver.

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.

Car insurance follows the car, not the driver. Before borrowing someone’s vehicle, you may want to ask them if their car insurance is up to date.

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.

If you do not have full coverage on your auto policy’s vehicles, you will want to purchase the rental company’s insurance.

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.

Be sure also to take pictures of all the vehicles using your phone. 

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

A. If you decided that your car is a total loss and your policy covers the cause of loss, 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.

When purchasing a new vehicle, ask your insurance agent if GAP insurance is an option to add to the policy. This will cover the difference between the value of the vehicle vs. the loan amount. 

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.

Still, 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.

Comprehensive also covers glass replacement should a rock hit your window.

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 number of miles you drive and the other normal factors that insurers use to figure your rates.

This type of coverage is saving 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 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, insurance credit score, 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 you will have to pay more before the car insurance coverage kicks in if you have a claim.

Because of this, it is best to be certain that you will always be able to afford your deductible.

Have your agent quote the different deductibles to see which one is best for you based on your saving amount.

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 when originally writing your premium, but all insurance companies check on your driving record before deciding your actual risk and premium rate.

You may have also changed your coverages from the original quote, which would affect the premium.

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

A. Yes. Multiple tickets or accidents can increase your premium. Depending on the insurer, they may not renew your policy.

If this happens, your only choice may be to buy insurance through a high-risk group at a much higher cost.

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