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Auto Insurance 101

By Chris Tolamalu

Auto insurance, as the term suggests, is insurance that you can purchase for your vehicle (cars, trucks, SUVs, motorcycles, etc.). It provides protection against losses incurred as a result of vehicle accidents. While the product seems simple, there are many different types of auto insurance policies available for purchase. Depending on the policy that you choose, your coverage levels and types will vary. Broadly speaking, these are the types of auto insurance programs on the market today:

Coverage:

• ‘Comprehensive coverage’ (Comp) – This kind of insurance insures your vehicle against the cost of purchasing a new vehicle if it is stolen or destroyed in a fire.

• ‘Collision coverage’ (Coll) – This kind of insurance insures your vehicle against the cost of repairing the vehicle following an accident or the cost of purchasing a new vehicle if it is damaged in an accident beyond economic repair.

Protection:

• Personal Injury Protection (PIP) - This insures against the cost of medical expenses and lost wages related to the use, ownership or maintenance of a motor vehicle. This insurance is mandatory in some U.S. states.

• Medical Payments (MP) - insures against the cost of medical expenses for bodily injury sustained in an accident beyond any expenses that may be covered by PIP.

• Legal liability claims against the driver or owner of the vehicle following the vehicle causing damage or injury to a third party.

While ‘Liability insurance’ covers only legal liability, ‘comprehensive insurance’ covers PIP, MP, as well as legal liability. In the United States, liability insurance covers claims against the policyholder and any other operator of the insured’s vehicle. If, however, any other operators live at the same address, they must specifically be covered on the policy. For rented vehicles, most rental car companies offer insurance to cover damage to the rental vehicle.

While comprehensive insurance covers most aspects of damage which can affect the car itself or the driver, there is one risk associated with buying a new car is not covered even by comprehensive insurance – once the car is bought, there is a sharp decline in its value. During this period (immediately after a car is bought), in which the remaining car payments exceed the value of the vehicle and thus the compensation the insurer will pay for a ‘totaled’ (destroyed, or written-off) vehicle, customers may consider purchasing ‘GAP insurance’. GAP insurance was established in the early 1980's to provide protection to consumers based on buying and market trends.

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Car Insurance in New York News

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Metro Denver has sixth-least expensive car insurance in the nation
The Denver metropolitan area has the sixth cheapest car insurance in the nation, according to a report released Thursday by insuranceQuotes.com.

Americans Spend More Time Researching a New Car Than Health Insurance Options
NEW YORK ( MainStreet ) ? While some consumers wait anxiously for the annual health care open enrollment period, other Americans are in a rush to choose benefits despite its lasting consequences.

K.W Oxnard: White Americans, white privilege
In the 1990s, when I lived in New York, a friend I'll call Adam and I drove out to his house in Montauk, Long Island. A few miles into town, we noticed a police cruiser behind us. Adam, a stockbroker in his 30s, began to panic.

Why Motor City is an Expensive Place to Drive
Detroit may have one of the lowest costs of living in the country, but its residents are paying 165 percent more for car insurance than the national average, according to a new analysis by InsuranceQuotes.com.  The average cost of car insurance nationwide was $797 in 2011 (the most recent data available), according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Motor City residents pay ...

Detroit Tops U.S. In Car Insurance Costs
Detroit isn't just the car capital of the U.S. ? it's also the king of car-insurance costs. According to insuranceQuotes.com, a subsidiary of finance-info provider Bankrate Insurance, the Motor City and its metropolitan area lay claim to the dubious distinction...

Renting a Car With Your Credit Card: The Devil Is in the Details
NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- Credit-card companies like to tout how you'll get free insurance if you rent a car using their card, but a detailed analysis finds that the coverage they provide sometimes excludes big SUVs, overseas rentals and more. "Most people probably have at least one card in their wallet that provides car-insurance coverage, but what's important to understand is that the devil is ...

Detroit Has Most Expensive Car Insurance, Charlotte Has Cheapest
SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Detroit has the most expensive car insurance and Charlotte has the cheapest, according to a new insuranceQuotes.com examination of average premiums in the ...

Update: It's Still Ridiculously Expensive To Drive In Detroit
Nothing new here, just more evidence that's car insurance is sky high in the Motor City. According to some figures, Detroiters pay 165% more than the national average. Read more...

Survey: Detroit Has Most Expensive Auto Insurance Rates In Nation
In the metro Detroit area, drivers pay a whopping 165 percent more than the national average for car insurance.

Housing Woes Worse in L.A. Than New York, San Francisco
Jeanette Cross took out a payday loan to cover her May rent of $1,600 in South Los Angeles. "I'm further and further behind," Cross, a 34-year-old single mother of four, said in a telephone interview. Angelenos use a bigger slice of their paychecks on shelter than people in New York, San Francisco or Miami, studies show. "They're bottom earners living in a high-priced housing market," said ...


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