Most of you reading this post probably have an auto insurance policy in place at the current time; however you may not completely understand the benefits your insurance policy provides you.

The most common phrase we hear as agents when someone wants to add a vehicle to their policy is to put “full coverage” on it.  When this is stated, clients want to add the three most common coverages to their vehicle (auto liability, comprehensive, and collision).  Keep in mind that with any insurance policy no one can be “fully covered”, they can only be covered up to the limits of their policy.

This post will cover the above common coverages regarding auto insurance as well as some other coverages that we recommend to our clients.

Auto Liability – Auto liability covers property damage and bodily injuries that result to another person due to an incident you or anyone driving your insured vehicle is liable or at fault in.  On most auto insurance policies you will see that your liability limits are split such as the following example, 250/500/250.  In this example the first number represents the maximum limit of $250,000 bodily injury per any one person, the second number of 500 represents the maximum limit of $500,000 bodily injury for all people, and the last number of 250 represents $250,000 property damage liability (this covers all property damage including the other vehicle, posts, utilities, etc.)  Our office recommends to carry as high of limits that you can afford as these claims are the most expensive and the state minimum limits will not offer enough coverage in the event of a major accident.

Comprehensive (Other than Collision) – Other than collision or comprehensive covers the damage to your insured vehicle from instances other than getting in a collision.  The main losses from this coverage include:  hail, wind, fire, theft, and hitting an animal.  If your vehicle is not a total loss the insurance carrier will pay to repair the damage less your deductible and if the vehicle is a total loss the insurance carrier will pay the Actual Cash Value (ACV) of the automobile less your deductible.

Collision – Collision covers the damage to your insured vehicle in the event it is in a collision with another vehicle or piece of property.   The settlement of the claim will work the same as how it does in the event of a comprehensive loss.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist – Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage protects you and those in your vehicle in the event you are in a collision with another vehicle that does not carry auto liability coverage or enough liability coverage to pay your bodily injuries.  These coverages are also listed as a split amount as the auto liability does.  Unlike the auto liability you will see these two coverages listed separately and have an example limit of 250/500.  The first number 250 represents the maximum limit of $250,000 that your policy would for any one person’s injuries and the second number 500 would represent the maximum limit of $500,000 for all people in your vehicles injuries.

Medical Payments – Medical payments are a coverage that will cover a per person limit for you or anyone in your vehicle.  This coverage is paid regardless of who is at fault in the accident.  We recommend carrying a limit that is as high as your health insurance deductible.

Rental Car – Rental car coverage will pay up to a per day limit not to exceed 30 days in the event your vehicle is involved in a comprehensive or collision claim.  Our office recommends that if you do not have a spare vehicle to drive in the event your vehicle is in a repair shop to add this optional coverage to your policy.

Emergency Roadside Assistance – Emergency roadside assistance (ERS) will pay for the labor in the event you need towing, locksmith service, run out of fuel or replace a flat tire.  This coverage does not cover any parts, supplies, or fuel that may need to be purchased in the event your car becomes disabled.  This is a coverage that is very inexpensive and is also a coverage we see the most claims on, therefore we recommend it to every customer.

With any policy your auto insurance policy will be subject to conditions, exclusions, and other coverage that can be added.  Hopefully this helps you to understand your car insurance a little better.