Auto insurance is a contract between you and the insurance company. You agree to pay premiums and the insurance company in turn agrees to pay any covered losses defined in the policy. A lot of what’s covered is up to you, there are many options you can choose based on your needs and I’ll go over those in this blog.
I’ll start with Liability coverage which you are required to have per state law.
1. Bodily Injury Liability – In Illinois The minimum amount of Bodily injury liability required by law is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. Commonly seen on your policy written as 25/50. Bodily injury liability covers injuries to someone else. For example if you pull out and hit an oncoming car you did not see and someone in the other car as injured as a result of that accident. If you only had the state limits your policy would pay out up to $25,000 per person up to $50,000 for those injured in the other car. Knowing how quickly medical bills can pile up I would always recommend much higher coverages than the minimum the state requires. The reason for this is because if the injuries were to exceed your policy limits you are on the hook to pay the remaining. Please speak with your agent about proper liability limits for you.
2. Property Damage Liability – This covers any property you damage while driving your car. Whether it is another car, a pole or even if you run into a house (yes it happens, just last week an SUV hit a ditch, got airborne and landed on the roof a house.) Property damage liability also has limits you can choose beyond the state required minimums so again speak with your agent to make sure you are covered properly
3. Medical Payments – This coverage applies to you and the passengers in your car. If your passenger is hurt while riding in your car they would have coverage to help with medical bills.
4. Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist – This will benefit you if you are hit by another driver that does not have insurance or does not have sufficient insurance to cover your medical bills. You get to choose these limits as well and your policy will only pay up to the limits you chose if you need to make a claim
5. Collision – This coverage pays for damage to your car resulting from an accident or even damage from potholes. This coverage comes with a deductible that you choose anywhere from $100-$2500. Any covered claim means that you must pay the deductible first and the remaining repairs will be covered by your insurance policy.
6. Comprehensive – This covers against a loss that was not to due to a collision with another car or object. It covers you for damage resulting from such things as hail, contact with animals, windstorms, etc. Similar to the Collision coverage comprehensive is also subject to a deductible.
7. Other Optional Coverages – There are several other coverages that you may want to consider. Roadside service being one. Also Rental car coverage that pays for you to get a rental car while your car is being repaired for a covered claim. If you have more cars than drivers in the household this might not be necessary. New car replacement, Gap coverage, and even custom parts can be covered depending on the company you are insured with.
Like always, work with your agent to make sure you are properly covered based on your needs.