There are approximately 327 million American citizens with about 88% of them owning or driving a vehicle. However, according to the most recent available data, at least 13% of those owning or driving a vehicle are not carrying any form of auto insurance. That is around 42 million people without insurance who are instead putting insured drivers at risk.
Most of the time it is likely that you get auto coverage super quick because you need the insurance to drive your new car off the lot. However, shopping around for different rates is a smart idea. To help you understand a little more about what you should be looking for Keystone- Deibler Straub & Troutman is providing the answers to some common car insurance questions including those you may be too embarrassed to ask.
1. Is going without car insurance illegal?
The answer to this question is pretty simple. In Pennsylvania, state law does require you to carry auto insurance. In fact, most states and Washington D.C. have laws that require you to carry auto insurance. However, there are two states with exceptions which include New Hampshire and Virginia. In Virginia, interestingly, if you opt to not have auto insurance you are required to pay a $500 fee per car annually to not have coverage.
2. Is the minimum required amount enough for me?
The answer to this question is mostly up to you. Depending on where you live the minimum required is going to be different. Some states may have low minimum requirements such as liability insurance. This type of auto insurance would only cover the damage or injury you cause other people. If you wanted to protect yourself or your car, you would need additional auto coverage. In Pennsylvania where we are located, the minimum required includes bodily injury liability coverage, property damage liability coverage, and medical benefits coverage.
3. There are different types of car insurance?
There sure are! The main ones are Bodily Injury (BI) and Property Damage (PD) liability coverage, which covers any damages you cause to other people and/or their property; Personal injury protection (PIP) which covers medical expenses and typically lost wages regardless of whose fault the incident was; Collision coverage, which pays for damage resulting from a collision; comprehensive coverage, which covers any damage to a vehicle outside of collisions such as fire, vandalism, or theft; and Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage which will protect you if you’re involved in an accident and the driver at fault doesn’t have insurance. There is also a type of coverage called gap insurance which we discuss in the next question.
4. What is gap insurance and do I need that?
Gap insurance is that wonderful little thing that covers the difference between your car’s current value and the amount you owe on it. If you owe a chunk of change on your vehicle it may be a good idea to have gap insurance as the car’s value depreciates daily, but it is not necessary. Gap insurance may also be helpful if you only put down a small amount for a down payment, have a long loan term, are low on emergency funds, or bought a car that depreciates quickly or is known as a popular model among car thieves.
5. Should I get every type of car insurance?
No, you don’t need to have every type of insurance. For example, if you don’t own a car yourself but do still drive someone else’s vehicle, you can look into insurance policies that cover just liability instead of everything. Just do your research and decide which policies are best for you and your wallet. As always Keystone- Deibler Straub & Troutman is always here to help you answer any questions and decide what is best for you.
6. You need car insurance even if you don’t own a car?
No, you do not need car insurance if you don’t own a car. However, as we mentioned before, if you drive other people’s cars often or rent a lot, you can look into a non-owner auto insurance policy that would offer basic liability coverage which would cover the injuries you instate on others. You wouldn’t need collision or comprehensive as they provide coverage to your car which, in this case, you don’t own.
7. What do personal details about myself have to do with car insurance?
All insurance rates are based on risk, so for car insurance it’s how likely you are to be in an accident. If you have a poor driving record, your rate may be higher. Other demographics may play a role too such as young drivers versus older drivers, men versus women, and single individuals versus married individuals. Many states do have laws that bar using demographics to calculate rates but many companies are still allowed to use your years of driving experience as a factor to determine your risk level.
8. Do red cars cost more to insure?
This is a total myth. What determines how much your rate will be is the make and model of your car. If you car has more expensive parts, it will cost more to insurance regardless of color; it’s that simple.
9. What kind of car insurance discounts are out there?
There are plenty of discounts for you to look into. The biggest ones include good driver discount, group affiliation discounts, low mileage discounts, and car safety feature discounts. You may also qualify for a lower rate if you bundle two or more policies. If you decide to bundle, just be sure to check that you’re not losing any coverage when switching.
Of course, here at Keystone- Deibler Straub & Troutman, we have the talent and answers to help you shop around for the right car insurance options and more! We are proud to serve the central PA region including the areas of Elizabethville, Halifax, Millersburg, Upper Dauphin, and Line Mountain. Wishing you Happy Holidays and a wonderful New Year’s celebration!