When you drive you're responsible for the safety of your passengers, your fellow drivers, other people's property, pedestrians and yourself. Insurance helps ensure your ability to cover the costs of potential damages or injuries. It depends on the type of auto insurance coverages you have as part of your policy as to what it will cover.
In most states, liability coverages of property damage and bodily injury are required as the state's minimum auto insurance coverage. With liability auto insurance you are protecting your assets by having insurance that will pay for the damages you cause others to their property or for their bodily injuries. Without the benefit of insurance covering these claims you would personally be responsible for these expenses.
Liability insurance does not protect you or your car directly. Bodily injury liability insurance covers you if you cause an accident injuring other people. It protects you against their claims up to the stated amounts for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other losses. It does not pay for bodily injury you may sustain.
Property damage liability coverage pays for any damage to the property of others up to the stated amount provided by the policy (i.e., a crushed fender, broken glass, or a damaged wall or fence). Your insurance will pay for this damage if you were driving your auto or if it was being driven by another person with your consent. Property damage liability also pays if you damage government property like a light pole or signpost, up to the limit you choose.
If you add optional coverages, such as collision and comprehensive, to your auto insurance they will protect your investment (your car) and guarantees you a way of coping with the expense of accidents, vandalism or theft. It also secures your financial responsibility to the financial institution that lent you money to buy your vehicle.
Collision coverage covers damage to your vehicle when your vehicle hits, or is hit by, another vehicle, or other object. This type of physical damage coverage pays to fix your vehicle, less the deductible you choose at the onset of your policy.
Comprehensive coverage covers your vehicle, and sometimes other vehicles you may be driving, for losses resulting from incidents other than collision. The incidents listed on a comprehensive policy typically include your vehicle being stolen, damaged by flood, fire or animals. This type of coverage also comes with a deductible.
In most states, insurance is a prerequisite to registering your car. The state mandated auto insurance coverages differ depending upon state laws so before obtaining car insurance you will need to know what your state's minimum coverages are. If you owe money on your vehicle, then additional coverages of collision and comprehensive are normally required to be placed on your car by your lien holder.
There are other types of coverages that are available, and may be required depending upon your state's laws, such as: personal injury protection (PIP), uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist and medical payments. Visit our coverage definitions page to learn more about these types of auto insurance coverages.
In summary, depending upon what coverages you chose as part of your car insurance policy, auto insurance can help:
- Protect your investment in your automobile
- Pay for medical expenses in case of an accident
- Provide financial protection from lawsuits
- Cover losses caused by uninsured or underinsured drivers
- Pay for damage due to theft, vandalism or natural disasters
CarInsurance.com will help you meet your auto insurance needs. Remember, however, all coverage are not the same. Different types of coverage fit the different needs a person might have. When determining what kind of coverage applies to you, consider your specific situation. Then when you have all the information you are looking for, get a quote.
There are more resources on our site to help you choose what coverages are best for you: