Auto Insurance

What is the minimum auto coverage required by each state in the United States?

Liability coverage, also known as third party coverage is the only coverage required to carry under State laws. It provides protection from claims by others for damages that might arise out of an accident for which you are found to be legally responsible.

What are the two parts of mandated liability coverage?

State required Liability coverage has two parts, mandated Limits for Bodily Injury and specified minimum limits for Property Damage.

What are the minimum required liability limits?

Each State Mandates and requires minimum liability limits. For example, in Alaska as of July 2019, the following are state mandated minimum liability insurance limits

Bodily Injury Liability

$50,000 per person / $100,000 per accident

Property Damage Liability

$25,000 per accident

This coverage is divided into Bodily Injury Liability and Property Damage Liability. Bodily Injury is the portion of your Liability coverage that pays for expenses such as medical costs, loss of income, and funeral costs of others who are injured or killed as the result of your negligence. Property Damage is the portion of your Liability coverage that pays for expenses to repair or replace the property of others which is damaged as the result of your negligence.

What is Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists Coverage, like Liability coverage, is divided into Bodily Injury and Property Damage sections. This coverage is designed to take care of your injuries and damage to your property. If you are in an accident and the other party is found to be responsible, but does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance to meet your expenses, this coverage is available to meet your needs.

This coverage also applies to hit-and-run situations or when your vehicle is hit while parked and you are unable to determine the identity of the other party.

When you complete an application for auto liability insurance, you must be presented with a written offer for this coverage. Insurers must offer you a variety of coverage choices, including limits equal to the Liability coverage which you selected, as well as several optional limits up to $1 million per person/$2 million per accident for Bodily Injury.

You must be offered Bodily Injury and Property Damage as separate coverages. You have the option of selecting both Bodily Injury and Property Damage at any of the available limits, rejecting both Bodily Injury and Property Damage, or selecting one coverage and rejecting the other. If your selection or rejection is not verified by your signature, Alaska law requires that the company issue your policy with coverage at limits matching your Liability coverage. If you reject this coverage, the company is not required to make another offer at renewal, but you may request that the coverage be added at any time.   

What is Collision coverage?

Collision coverage provides an option for taking care of damage to your vehicle. It pays for the replacement of your vehicle or the repair of physical damage to your vehicle caused by colliding with an object or by overturning. If the cost of repairs exceeds the vehicle’s current value, it may be declared a total loss by your insurance company and you may be paid for its actual cash value.

Because collision and comprehensive coverage often work hand-in-hand, your company may require that you carry comprehensive coverage when you carry collision coverage. Your lienholder may also require that you purchase collision coverage.

A deductible, the portion of the loss that you have agreed to pay, may apply to this coverage. In the event of a loss, the insurance company will pay for any covered loss less the deductible amount. If you have a $500 deductible and suffer a $1,500 covered loss, the company will pay $1,000 and you will be responsible for the remaining $500. Although selecting a higher deductible will lower your premium, you should be realistic about the amount you can afford to pay in the event of a loss.

What is Comprehensive Coverage?

Comprehensive coverage, sometimes called “other than collision” coverage, is an optional coverage that pays for repairing physical damage to your vehicle from causes not covered by collision coverage. If your vehicle is financed, the lienholder may require this coverage.

Damage from fire, wind or hail, vandalism, theft, and broken glass are commonly included in this coverage. Comprehensive coverage also generally covers running into a bird or animal.

You may carry comprehensive coverage with or without collision.

What is Medical Payments?

Medical Payments is an optional coverage that pays hospital, medical, and funeral expenses for you or others who are injured or killed while in your vehicle. Coverage also applies to you, your family members, or others insured on your policy when they are in another vehicle or when they are injured by a vehicle as a pedestrian.

Unlike Bodily Injury Liability coverage, payment under this coverage can be made without a determination of negligence. You may want to consider carrying this coverage even if you have health insurance that covers you and your family. Medical treatment for your friends, car pool partners, or your child’s soccer team that you take to practice could all be immediately covered without waiting for fault to be assigned at the end of a lengthy claims process or lawsuit. Check with your health insurance company to learn how it might share payment or coordinate benefits with this coverage.

What is Rental Reimbursement coverage?

Rental Reimbursement coverage (sometimes called “loss of use”) repays you for the cost of a rental car only when your vehicle is disabled after a covered loss. Reimbursement may be limited to a specific amount per day and for a limited number of days.

What is Towing and Labour?

Towing and Labor Coverage, sometimes called Roadside Assistance or Emergency Services, pays for the cost of towing your vehicle to a repair shop. Coverage may be limited to a specific amount per use and to a maximum number of times it may be used.

This coverage may also provide payment or reimbursement for other types of assistance provided by a mobile service unit such as locksmith, delivery of a part, a tire change, or a jump start.

What is Electronic Audio and Visual Equipment coverage?

If you have added audio, visual, or other electronic equipment to your vehicle, you may want to check with your agent or insurance company to see if you need additional coverage to cover damage to your equipment. Most policies may only cover the theft of electronic equipment that was installed in your vehicle by the factory or that is permanently installed in the dashboard.

What is the "loan/lease" Gap coverage?

These may include loan/lease gap coverage (pays the difference between the value of the damaged auto and any outstanding loan or lease balance, if greater), death/disability benefits, pet coverage, loss of earnings benefits, personal property coverage, customized equipment coverage, and more.

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