Most people are searching for auto insurance based on getting the cheapest deal they can to afford compliance with the law. Life is expensive and this is not one of the items we love to spend money on. However, buying the cheapest policy can be a terrible mistake. Not many people want to sit for an hour listening to an insurance agent spewing legalese about all the various coverages. It takes about five minutes of this for your eyes to glaze over with boredom. The information goes in one ear and out the other.
Here is what you need. Call your agent NOW and make sure you have at least these vital coverages:
1. FULL TORT. If you have limited tort it will be a cold day in hell before you can bring a claim if you have injuries which are not extremely serious even if your car was a total wreck. No kidding. It is worth a few hundred more dollars a year. I don’t know ANY insurance adjuster who has limited tort. That should tell you a LOT.
2. UNINSURED MOTORIST AND UNDERINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE. In a nutshell, MANY people, including perhaps you, are driving around at high speeds on 309 and the PA Turnpike with inferior insurance limits or NO INSURANCE! What? Yes-some people know that it is illegal to drive without insurance but DON’T CARE or are unable to get insurance. If you don’t have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage and your car is demolished by one of these drivers who has little or no insurance YOU WILL NOT BE FULLY COMPENSATED for your injuries. In fact, for example-if you are hit by a drunk driver with no insurance (not as uncommon as you might think) you will not get ANY money for your pain and suffering if you are injured-even killed. How much coverage should you buy? As much as you can afford. This coverage is optional in PA so you don’t have to buy it under the law, but if you don’t have it, you are crazy. The minimum limit is $15,000 in PA, but think about how little that is. This insurance is a really cheap add on to your policy so go for the highest limit you can afford.
3. RENTAL CAR COVERAGE AND COLLISION COVERAGE (UNDER MOST CIRCUMSTANCES). I know this concept is beyond many people’s comprehension but it is possible that YOU could cause an accident. You could be the best and most careful driver on earth, but hit a patch of ice and, voila, you have caused a multiple car collision. Many people tell me their agent told them to ditch their collision coverage because their car is old. However, if you are going to dump your collision coverage which pays for damage to your car if you caused the accident, you better have enough money in a savings account to buy a new car because you will suddenly be WITHOUT A CAR. How will you get to work or pick up your kids from school? If your credit is not good, you may not qualify for a lease or loan. If you are going to cancel your collision coverage due to the age of your car, place at least $5000 in a savings account( or more if you like a nicer or newer car). Leave it there and forget about it. If you have an accident which is your fault you will basically be insuring yourself with this savings money plus saving the cost of the premium for the Collision coverage. Also, if you don’t have collision coverage, you will also not have rental car coverage so you better be prepared to rent a car with your own funds if you have an accident that is your fault. If you cannot afford to put this money in savings, do not get rid of your collision coverage and rental car coverage. And you will get no sympathy at all from your insurance company. They owe you nothing if you did not purchase collision coverage. And the adjuster will lose no sleep worrying about how you will get to work or that you might lose your job.
Many of these things may be news to you. Your agent may be hearing you chanting “cheap insurance, cheap insurance” and be afraid you will go elsewhere to shop for a lower price if they try to sell these important coverages to you, so they will not harp on it. They will write your inferior insurance policy to allow you to comply with the law, take your check and get a great night’s sleep, while they are leaving you seriously vulnerable. I interview clients every day who do not have adequate insurance and are enraged they cannot get reimbursement from any source. I hate telling my clients I cannot help them so get decent insurance and I will be able to get you what you deserve if you are injured.