Auto insurance is a contract between you and an insurer that protects your finances if you are involved in a car accident. There are a number of coverages to choose from.
Your rates are individualized and can vary based on your driving history, credit-based insurance score and other factors. This means it’s important to shop around.
Comprehensive coverage helps pay for damage to your car that’s caused by events outside your control, such as a natural disaster or an animal. It also covers theft and vandalism.
A comprehensive policy is a good idea for drivers who live in areas prone to extreme weather, such as hurricanes and tornadoes, or in a high-crime area. It can also be helpful for people who buy cars with a lot of value, like SUVs and luxury vehicles.
Often, comprehensive coverage has a high deductible that reduces your premium. However, it’s important to weigh the costs of any repairs against your personal finances and car’s value before deciding whether or not to buy comprehensive auto insurance.
Liability insurance provides financial protection if you are found legally responsible for another driver’s injuries or property damage. It also pays legal costs if you are sued after a car accident.
Bodily injury liability covers medical expenses, lost wages and other damages if you cause an injury to someone else. Property damage liability covers repair and replacement costs of the other driver’s car or their property (such as fences, mailboxes, buildings or lamp posts).
A standard liability policy may have three numbers that represent bodily injury and property damage limits. These numbers are called split limits.
Some insurers offer a single limit that can be used to cover both the bodily injury and property damage you cause, called combined single limit liability. This type of liability coverage can be more flexible than split limits, and can offer a higher level of protection.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
While car insurance is a legal requirement in every state, some drivers are not required to have coverage or may not have enough to cover their expenses after an accident. Uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverages offered by auto insurance can help fill the gap.
UM coverage pays for your medical bills and other expenses if you’re injured in an accident caused by an uninsured driver or hit-and-run driver, regardless of who was at fault. In some states, UM can also pay for property damage.
UIM coverage pays for injuries or damages incurred by you, your passengers and pedestrians in an accident caused by a driver who does not have adequate bodily injury liability insurance. Like UM, UIM can be purchased separately or as part of your policy.
In some states, you can buy a full coverage policy that includes liability, comprehensive and collision insurance as well as uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Check with your Travelers representative to find out if you’re required to carry these coverages in your state.
Medical Payments Coverage
Auto insurance provides many different types of coverage to help you pay for car repairs, medical bills and more in the event of an accident. One of these optional coverages is called medical payments, or Med Pay, which pays for accidents that occur inside your vehicle, as well as outside it, like when you walk or ride a bicycle.
The amount of coverage you can receive depends on the state you live in. In some states, it is required; in others, it is an option to consider.
A key point to remember is that medical payments coverage doesn’t cover the cost of injuries you cause to other drivers, which would be covered by liability coverage.
However, it does help to fill the gaps that your health insurance might not cover. This coverage can be used in addition to health insurance deductibles
and co-pays, so it’s a good way to get extra financial protection from your medical expenses.