It’s time for part two of our blog series on the importance of reviewing your insurance coverage. We recently blogged on what to look for when reviewing your home owners insurance. Now, let’s take a look at how to review your automobile coverage. Don’t forget to stay with us in the coming months as we continue to explore what you should look for when you review various types of insurance. As always, we welcome your questions and suggestions on the insurance issues that matter to you most.
Before You Automatically Renew Your Automobile Coverage
It’s far too easy to just let auto insurance run on autopilot. We find a good policy at an acceptable rate and each time it renews we take the new insurance card and stuff it in our glove compartments nonchalantly. But when was the last time you took a good look at your auto insurance policy coverage? Do you know if you’re getting all applicable discounts? Do you know if you have any gaps or redundancies in coverage? Before you blindly renew your automobile insurance coverage, you should contact your insurance agent and work with him or her to review your policy. Just because you have insurance, doesn’t mean you’re covered.
Top 10 Auto Insurance Policy Review Considerations
Collision and Comprehensive
Curious what the difference between these two coverages is? Talk to your agent. In the case of a covered loss (i.e. an accident that's specifically covered by your policy), collision helps pay for the repairs up to the actual cash value of your car to get it driving again. The higher the deductible the lower your premium and the more you share in the cost of repairing your vehicle if an accident happens. Storm damage, fire, vandalism, theft and animal encounters (most often deer in NJ) are perils usually included under your comprehensive coverage. Similar to collision, the higher the deductible the lower your premium, though the savings are usually not as large. Wondering if you need either or both? Talk to your agent about what to consider when making this decision – factors like the value of your car, how much you could save by dropping the coverage, your ability to pay for repairs on your own and whether you would repair/replace a vehicle that was damaged or totaled in an accident.
If you cause an accident and are found at fault, your liability coverage will protect you from the expenses incurred with regard to damages to people or property, and cover the legal costs for your defense up to the limits of your policy. If you don’t have an adequate amount of liability coverage on your policy, the other party’s attorney may go after your personal assets.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
Reasonable and necessary medical and hospital expenses are covered by PIP, but so are income continuation, household services, funeral expenses and even child-care expenses while you heal. This is required automobile insurance coverage in New Jersey, so discuss your current automobile and health insurance policies with your agent to determine how much coverage you need.
Believe it or not, some drivers have little or no car insurance in NJ. If one of them damages your car, or injures you or someone riding with you, this automobile coverage option can help cover repairs and non-medical expenses.
Rental Car Reimbursement
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a car to drive if your vehicle is being repaired due to an accident? If you’re antsy to get on the road while your car is being repaired after an accident, this option will reimburse you for the cost of a rental vehicle.
If you’re involved in an accident, does your policy include coverage for towing? If you find yourself locked out of your car, out of gas or with a flat tire, does your policy provide for emergency roadside assistance? When included in your auto insurance coverage policy, how does the cost of these services compare to purchasing them elsewhere? Is there a benefit to getting them from your auto insurance provider?
Who doesn’t want to save some green? Make sure you get all available discounts and bonuses to help save you money on your car insurance policy coverage. Just a few of the discounts or bonuses you can get in NJ include paying in full, having more than one policy, having more than one car, completing a defensive driving course, being a resident student and being a safe driver with no accidents or tickets.
Will you be adding a teen driver to your policy soon? Visit with your agent to find ways to minimize the cost of adding a young driver to your policy, as well as your teen’s eligibility for driver’s training and good student discounts.
Rewards and Surcharges
If you or someone on your policy has a claim, is involved in an accident or gets a ticket, your insurance rate may go up. Check with your insurance agent regarding the steps you can take to minimize the impact of these situations to the cost of your insurance. And if you avoid accidents, you might be entitled to rewards or a reduced rate. Be sure to consult with your agent regarding this situation as well.
Thinking about changing the vehicles on your policy? Check with your agent to find out if you need to change your coverage and the possible impact to your premium before you buy or lease that new car.
There are many insurance companies out there today that want you to believe that the most important aspect of automobile insurance coverage is price. While insurance may be a commodity, advice is not and you may regret a decision made strictly on the basis of price when you need to use your coverage. An in-depth insurance policy review with your agent can help you maintain automobile insurance coverage that suits your lifestyle and your bank account.
Don’t miss the next topic in our insurance policy coverage review blog series, where we’ll take a look at personal umbrella policies. And be sure to check back often as we continue to explore the importance of reviewing insurance coverage. Email us with your questions or suggestions on future topics.
At John Hawk Agency we put the client at center of everything we do. Every single person at our agency is focused squarely on the customer.