You Maintain Your Car, But What About Your Car Insurance

Your car’s performance relies on a program of regularly scheduled maintenance, and so should your car insurance. In the same way that your car needs to be tuned up for it to operate safely and efficiently, your car insurance needs to be periodically reviewed to ensure it continues to provide the coverage you need.

When you review your car insurance, you should pay careful attention to the following:

·   The Declaration Page – This is usually the first page of the policy. It shows the insured’s name and address, policy dates, and a summary of the policy terms, the coverage limits and what is covered. You need to review and update the information on this page because it affects your coverage needs and the cost of your premiums. Never overlook any updates that need to be made, no matter how seemingly insignificant.

·   The Insuring Agreement – This specifies what the insurance company has agreed to cover in exchange for the premium. An insurance policy begins by declaring what it covers and then proceeds to restrict, limit and exclude coverages. You can’t just read the insuring agreement to understand the coverage your insurer is providing. You must read the entire policy and refer back to the insuring agreement. This will help you identify coverage gaps.

·   The Types of Coverage – The types of required coverage and minimums vary from state to state. The level of coverage is also affected by the age and value of your car. However, there are four types of common coverage that you should include in your insurance assessment.

The first is liability coverage. This protects you if you hurt someone or damage property while you are driving. As you accumulate more personal wealth, it is imperative that you increase your liability coverage. Without sufficient liability coverage, you could have your hard earned assets seized to cover a judgment against you.

The second type that needs to be reviewed and updated is your medical payments coverage. This covers you if medical expenses are incurred by anyone involved in the accident regardless of who was at fault.

The third type is your Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage. You will be extremely glad you upgraded this coverage if you are ever involved in an accident with a driver who has no insurance, has minimal insurance or is unidentified, as in the case of a “hit and run.”

The last type to be reviewed is your collision and comprehensive coverage. Collision covers damage to your car caused by an accident. Comprehensive covers damage caused by anything other than collision.  Both coverages are optional.  However, if you have a car loan or you are leasing a car, you will be required to carry both collision and comprehensive coverage. If you own your car outright, the decision whether to carry this coverage will depend on the age and value of the vehicle.