Providing Bob with alternatives for his clients, as a wholesale intermediary, is always a pleasure because he totally understands what his clients’ truly need to provide the balance sheet protection they need for their businesses.
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The basic personal auto insurance mandated by most U.S. states provides some financial protection if you or another driver using your car causes an accident that damages someone else’s car or property, injures someone or both.
But to make the best decisions about purchasing other types of auto insurance coverage you might need, you’ll want to understand what’s covered, what’s not covered and what’s optional. In addition to understanding types of coverage, you’ll also want to consider coverage amounts.
Why? Because state-required minimums may not cover the costs of a serious accident, so it’s worth considering purchasing higher levels of coverage.
Here’s a rundown of the types of coverage available—some are required; others are optional; all are priced individually (a la carte) to let you customize coverage amounts to suit your exact needs and budget.
Nearly every state requires car owners to carry the following auto liability coverage:
- Bodily Injury Liability — This covers costs associated with injuries and death that you or another driver causes while driving your car.
- Property Damage Liability — This coverage will reimburse others for damage that you or another driver operating your car causes to another vehicle or other property, such as a fence, building or utility pole.
Many states require that you carry the following coverage:
- Medical Payments or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) — Provides reimbursement for medical expenses for injuries to you or your passengers. It will also cover lost wages and other related expenses.
- Uninsured Motorist Coverage — Reimburses you when an accident is caused by an uninsured motorist—or in the case of a hit-and-run. You can also purchase under insured motorist coverage, which will cover costs when another driver lacks adequate coverage to pay the costs of a serious accident.
Even if these types of coverage are optional in your state, consider adding them to your policy for greater financial protection.
While basic, legally mandated auto insurance covers the cost of damages to other vehicles that you cause while driving, it does not cover damage to your own car. To cover this, you need to purchase the following optional auto insurance coverages:
- Collision — This optional coverage reimburses you for damage to your car that occurs as a result of a collision with another vehicle or other object—e.g., a tree or guardrail—when you’re at fault. While collision coverage will not reimburse you for mechanical failure or normal wear-and-tear on your car, it will cover damage from potholes or from rolling your car.
- Comprehensive — This provides coverage against theft and damage caused by an incident other than a collision, such as fire, flood, vandalism, hail, falling rocks or trees and other hazards—even getting hit by an asteroid!
- Glass Coverage — Windshield damage is common, and some auto policies include no-deductible glass coverage, which also includes side windows, rear windows and glass sunroofs. Or you can buy supplemental glass coverage.
If you lease or finance your vehicle, auto dealers or lenders will likely require you to purchase collision and comprehensive. But keep in mind that collision and comprehensive only cover the market value of your car, not what you paid for it—and new cars depreciate quickly. If your car is totaled or stolen, there may be a “gap” between what you owe on the vehicle and your insurance coverage. To cover this, you may want to look into purchasing gap insurance to pay the difference. (Note: For leased vehicles, gap coverage is usually rolled into your lease payments.)
Your auto policy will cover you and other family members on your policy, whether driving your insured car or someone else’s car with permission. Your policy also provides coverage if someone not on your policy is driving your car with your consent.
Your personal auto policy only covers personal driving, whether you’re commuting to work, running errands or taking a trip. Your personal auto policy, however, will not provide coverage if you use your car for commercial purposes—for instance, if you deliver pizzas or operate a delivery service. Note, too, that personal auto insurance will generally not provide coverage if you use your car to provide transportation to others through a ride-sharing service such as Uber or Lyft. Some auto insurers, however, are now offering supplemental insurance products (at additional cost) that extend coverage for vehicle owners providing ride-sharing services.
Learn More: Check out this handy infographic on the types of required and optional drivers insurance coverages.
Courtesy of iii.org
Insurance can provide limited coverage for property damage for small boats such as canoes and small sail boats or small power boats with less than 25 mile per hour horse power under a homeowners or renters insurance policy. Coverage is usually about $1,000 or 10 percent of the home’s insured value and generally includes the boat, motor and trailer combined. Liability coverage is typically not includedbut it can be added as an endorsement to a homeowners policy. Check with your insurance representative to find out if your boat is covered and what the limits are.
Larger and faster boats such as yachts, and personal watercraft such as jet skis and wave runners require a separate boat insurance policy. The size, type and value of the craft and the water in which you use it factor into how much you will pay for insurance coverage.
For physical loss or damage, coverage includes the hull, machinery, fittings, furnishings and permanently attached equipment as part of either an actual cash value policy or on an agreed amount value basis. These policies also provide broader liability protection than a homeowners policy. But there are distinct differences between the two types of policies.
Actual Cash Value policies pay for replacement costs less depreciation at the time of the loss. In the event of a total loss, used boat pricing guides and other resources are used to determine the vessel’s approximate market value. Partial losses are settled by taking the total cost of the repair less a percentage for depreciation.
Agreed Amount Value basis policies mean that you and your insurer have agreed on the value of your vessel and in the event of a total loss you will be paid that amount. Agreed Amount Value policies also replace old items for new in the event of a partial loss, without any deduction for depreciation.
Physical damage exclusions might include normal wear and tear, damage from insects, mold, animals (such as sharks), zebra mussels, defective machinery or machinery damage.
Boat insurance also covers:
- Bodily injuryfor injuries caused to another person
- Property damagefor damage caused to someone else’s property
- Guest passenger liabilityfor any legal expenses incurred by someone using the boat with the owner’s permission
- Medical paymentsfor injuries to the boat owner and other passengers
Most companies offer liability limits that start at $15,000 and can be increased to $300,000. Typical policies include deductibles of $250 for property damage, $500 for theft and $1000 for medical payments. Higher limits may be available. Additional coverage can be purchased for trailers and other accessories. Boat owners may also consider purchasing an umbrella liability policy which will provide additional protection for their boat, home and car.
Boaters should also inquire about special equipment kept on the boat, such as fishing gear, to make sure it is covered and verify that towing coverage is included in the policy.
Boat owners should also inquire about discounts for the following:
- Diesel powered craft, which are less hazardous than gasoline powered boats as they are less likely to explode
- Coast Guard approved fire extinguishers
- Ship-to-shore radios
- Two years of claims-free experience
- Multi-policies with the same insurer, such as a car, home or umbrella policy
- Safety education courses, such as those offered by the Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Power Squadrons, or the American Red Cross.
There are thousands of recreational boating accidents per year. Contributing factors to these accidents include traveling too fast for water or weather conditions, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, failing to follow boating rules and regulations, carelessness and inexperience.
To prevent boating accidents, we offer these safety suggestions:
Care and protection of vessel
- Check weather forecasts before heading out.
- Let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to return.
- Check engine, fuel, electrical and steering systems, especially for exhaust-system leaks.
- Carry one or more fire extinguishers, matched to the size and type of boat. Keep them readily accessible and in condition for immediate use.
- Equip the vessel with required navigation lights and with a whistle, horn or bell.
- Consider additional safety devices, such as a paddle or oars, a first-aid kit, a supply of fresh water, a tool kit and spare parts, a flashlight, flares and a radio.
Care and protection of crew and guests
- Make sure that every person on board the boat wears a life-jacket.
- Know and obey marine traffic laws, the “Rules-of-the-Road.” Learn various distress signals.
- Keep an alert lookout for other watercraft, swimmers, floating debris and shallow waters.
- Pay attention to loading. Don’t overload; distribute the load evenly; don’t stand up or shift weight suddenly in a small boat; and don’t permit riding on the bow, seatbacks or gunwales.
- Don’t operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Skippers can obtain free advice and boating-safety courses from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. Upon request, the auxiliary will conduct a Courtesy Marine Examination (CME) on your boat, checking electrical and safety equipment and fuel hoses. Boats meeting safety standards are awarded the CME decal “Seal of Safety.”
Courtesy of iii.org
For parents, the excitement of having a first-time driver in the house is usually tempered with worry. With little driving experience, immature drivers are at a higher risk for accidents. Of course, safety concern is uppermost in most parents’ minds but other stressors—like the high cost of insuring your new driver and the financial liability implications of a teen driving mishap—can be reduced with these steps.
Your agent or rep can clearly explain the costs involved in insuring a teenage driver. The good news is, as your teenager gets older, insurance rates will drop—providing he or she has a good driving record. Therefore…
From the outset, it’s important to talk to your kid about the relationship between driving a car and the attendant responsibilities, including insurance costs. Explain and reinforce driving safety tips and the serious consequences of driving infractions or accidents, including increasing the cost of insurance.
Auto insurers offer discounts or reduced premiums to:
- Students who maintain at least a “B” average in school
- Teens who take a recognized driver training course
- College students who attend school at least 100 miles away from home and don’t bring their car to campus
It’s generally less expensive for parents to add teenagers to their auto insurance policy than it is for teens to purchase one on their own. By insuring your teenager’s car with your insurer, you may also qualify for a multi-vehicle discount. That said, insurance companies differ in how they price policies for young drivers, so do some research into prices to be sure to find the best fit for you and your teen.
Find out how your insurer assigns drivers to cars—some insurers will assign the driver who is the most expensive to insure (generally the teenager) to the car that is the most expensive to insure. If possible, assign your teen to the least valuable car.
Note that with this kind of arrangement there can be no exceptions; your teen must use only the car to which he or she is assigned, even in an emergency. If your teenager is involved in an accident with an unassigned car, penalties could be imposed and your own premiums might increase.
If your teen gets into an accident, state minimums for liability insurance will not be enough to fully protect you from lawsuits. Consider purchasing higher amounts of liability coverage—if your teenager is found negligent in an accident and the damages exceed your insurance limits, you will be held financially responsible and could be sued in court for those amounts not covered by your insurance. Depending on the value of your financial assets, you may even want to have the extra protection that a personal umbrella liability policy provides.
The higher your deductible, the more money you can save on your premium, so consider raising your deductible from the minimum amount required. You may want to use those savings to increase your liability insurance.