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Auto Insurance Basics

Whether it is your first time looking for automobile insurance, or you are a seasoned shopper, most auto owners have many questions about how their coverage options. Hours can be spent combing the internet trying to find the information to even the simplest questions.

Not understanding insurance can turn costly for those who may not know what questions to ask. In that spirit, we have put together a list of common terms, their definitions, and a few questions our professional agents commonly answer.

What does my car insurance cover?

Your insurance policy covers any injuries you may incur in an auto accident. It may also cover damage to your car. Your auto insurance will also cover injuries to anyone else involved in the accident, as well as their vehicle.

Do I have to purchase auto insurance?

Yes, auto insurance is mandatory on new cars before a dealership will allow you to drive it off the lot if you are making payments. This is to ensure that if you do have an accident the car will not be a complete loss. Not only will a car dealer require you to have insurance, but also according to provincial law, you must have auto insurance to legally drive. If you are pulled over without insurance, you may receive a ticket and a fine.

What can happen if I don't have auto insurance?

If you are unlucky enough to get in an accident with someone and you do not have insurance, the other party can sue you requiring you to pay out of pocket for all expenses. If this happens, you could end up losing something important such as your life savings. There is also the chance you may go to jail since it is illegal to not have insurance on your car.

Can I afford auto insurance?

It depends on your driving history. Most of the time car insurance is relatively affordable. However, in some instances, accidents, tickets for speeding, or driving while intoxicated this will definitely raise the premium of what you would have to pay.

What is the cheapest policy that I can purchase?

Although not usually recommended, the cheapest option that you can purchase is an auto liability only insurance policy. Auto liability policies cover bodily injury and property damage. This policy will leave you with the cost of repairing or replacing your own car in the event of an accident.

Who can I add to my policy?

Members of your household can be added to your policy. Keep in mind this means only people that live at the same address. You would not be able to add a sibling, for example, who lives two blocks over.

What is the pay schedule for auto insurance payments?

Many insurance companies provide a few options of how you can pay for your policy. You can pay for a full six months or a year at once. You also have the option of making monthly payments on your policy. You just choose which payment option is best for you.

What happens to my policy if I forget to make a premium payment?

The first time you do not make a payment on your policy, your insurance company will mail you a warning letter. If you miss another payment, the company may charge you a late fee, or sometimes a company will cancel your policy.

What is the deductible on an insurance policy?

The deductible is the amount you have to cover yourself after an accident before your insurance company will pay the rest. You can choose how much this deductible is while you are setting up your policy. Common amounts are $500 and $1,000. Be sure to make a deductible choice that will help you most in the event of an accident.

Is my car insurance tax deductible?

This is a question that is truly only able to be answered on a case-by-case basis. That said, unless you have a circumstance allow your insurance to be deductible, such as owning a business, normally car insurance is not tax deductible.

Am I able to change my policy any time I would like?

Yes. You may call any time to make a change to your policy. However, additional premium may be required if adding or increasing coverage. While reducing coverage may result in a refund subject to any minimum premium requirements.

Is it possible for a car insurance company to deny service to me?

It is possible. If you have a DUI, which is driving while under the influence, or a serious accident where you were found to be at fault on your driving record, an insurance company may refuse to provide you with a policy.

Is it possible for a car insurance company to deny service to me?

It is possible. If you have a DUI, which is driving while under the influence, or a serious accident where you were found to be at fault on your driving record, an insurance company may refuse to provide you with a policy.

Is it possible my gender will affect my premiums?

Yes.  Your gender will have an effect on the amount that you will have to pay. Statistical data comes to the conclusion male drivers are more likely to be in a motor vehicle accident than their female counterparts. As a result, males do have a higher premium than a female.

What effect does my credit score have on my car insurance premiums

Your credit score will have an effect on your premium. If your credit score is high, your premiums will likely be lower than someone with a lower score will. When you renew your policy, your new credit score may be taken into consideration.

Is it true that the color of my car makes a difference in the amount of my premium?

This is just a myth. No matter if your car is red, white, or purple, your premiums will be the same.

Are there ways for me to get discounts on my car insurance?

There are several ways you can obtain premium discounts. Safety and security features on your car can help reduce your premium. If you are a student, be a good student. Having a good credit score will also lower your premium amount. Having a clean driving record is a great way to get a lower premium. And be certain to ask your agent for any other discounts available to you.

I drive a much older car, 20 years old. Will insurance cover my car?

It really depends on the condition of your car. Most older cars are not worth very much, so they don’t get provided a high amount of coverage when they are covered. In the event of an accident, most older cars are a total loss, meaning it would cost more to fix than the car is worth if it can be fixed.

Does it take a long time to file a claim?

No, filing a claim has become quick and easy. Some companies even have an app you can use. However, with most companies, you will just call and speak with an agent. The process should only take about twenty minutes.

Under what circumstances will my claim be denied by my insurance company?

If you have been proven to be driving recklessly, the insurance company may deny your claim. It may also deny your claim if they find that you are lying about accident damages, were fraudulent on your application, committing a crime, or intentionally trying to injure or harm.

My car was stolen, will my insurance company pay to replace it?

They will pay to replace your car if you have comprehensive coverage on your policy. This is the insurance option that covers theft and damages caused by something other than an accident.

If I am in an accident, will my car insurance cover a rental car?

Rental insurance is available on most automobile policies. In most cases, your car insurance will cover the cost of a rental. However, it is important to note many costs will not be covered, such as the rental company’s lost revenue, depreciation of the vehicle, and loss of use.

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