Practical Insurance Solutions offers car insurance from dozens of leading auto insurance companies. Because we are an independent agency we work for you “the customer” to help you find the best carrier and protection for your needs. We can insure your Ferrari or station wagon, cover your mini van or your classic car, and we have policies for all type of drivers from teens to the retirees. We have products designed for those with perfect driving records and those in need of SR-22 insurance.
We have compiled some useful information to help you understand how your auto coverage works and some money savings tips.
The first and most important thing you need to know about Car Insurance is that it protects you against financial loss if you have an accident. It is a contract between you and the auto carrier. You agree to pay the premium and the company agrees to pay your losses as defined in your policy. A car policy protects your investment in your vehicle and your financial obligations to others if you are involved in an accident. Most policies offer other optional coverages, which we review below.
Here is how your auto insurance coverages protect you:
Most states require liability coverage and minimum limits can very from state to state. However, beware that state minimum requirements are almost never enough to protect you financially in a major accident. Liability protection covers bodily injury and property damage that you may cause to other people involved in an accident. It does not cover your vehicle or you injuries to yourself. It is critical that your policy has the proper amount of protection as it covers your legal responsibility to others for bodily injury or property damage.
Medical Payment Coverage
Medical Payment coverage can very from state to state. Some states require it, well others do not. Basic med pay can help cover medical costs related to an accident, regardless of who is at fault. This coverage is important, even if you have a health insurance, as it can help cover your medical deductible or other medical expenses that your health policy does not cover.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) was originally designed to give basic personal medical protection to you and any of your passengers, regardless of who was at fault. This coverage varies vastly from state to date. There is currently only about 10 state that require carriers to offer this type of insurance. States that require PIP coverage are usually referred to as “No Fault” states. These means that damages for injuries are paid by your own insurance policy, regardless of who caused the accident. Types of benefits PIP offers, deductibles available, and minimum coverage amounts can very from state to state.
Collision protection covers damage to your vehicle if you are involved in an accident, regardless of fault. Your carrier pays for damages, minus your deductible. Coverage kicks in when you collide with another vehicle or object. Collision protection usually covers the current actual cash value of the vehicle, but some policies allow you to state the value of the vehicle. Note: If your vehicle is hit by an uninsured motorist, you must have collision coverage in order for your policy to cover your vehicle’s damages.
Comprehensive protection pays for damages caused by an event other than a collision, such as theft, fire, falling trees, or vandalism. The deductible will apply just like on your collision coverage, with the carrier paying for damages above your deductible.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured motorist protection helps protect you against drivers who don’t have liability coverage or lack the money to pay for injuries and damages they cause to you or your passengers. Note: Roughly 16% of drivers are uninsured, according to the Insurance Research Council. Here is a state by state map.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Underinsured Motorist protection is similar to Uninsured Motorist coverage, but is distinctively different. This insurance helps protect you from drivers who do not have enough insurance to cover the costs of an accident they cause. Note: We see a lot of policies missing this important coverage, so we highly recommend that you review your policy to make sure you have underinsured coverage listed on your policy.
Gap insurance is a great coverage to have on when you owe more on your vehicle than the current value of the vehicle. Gap coverage can help cover the difference between the balance of a lease or loan due on a vehicle and what your insurance company pays if the car is considered a covered total loss.
Optional Accessories and Equipment
Comprehensive and collision coverage will only cover the factory standard parts on most car policies. If you have extras like chrome add-ons, customer wheels, towing equipment, or a custom paint job you may need Optional Accessories and Equipment protection. Some carriers may have some basic equipment coverage included in their policies, but it’s important to double check your individual policy to find coverage limits.
Roadside Assistance and Towing Coverage
This optional coverage can help you if you need a tow, run out of gas, or get a flat tire. We highly recommend this coverage as the cost is normally minimal and the coverage can be extremely handy when you are in a pinch. Note: What is the difference between Roadside Assistance and Towing coverage? At times the terms are used interchangeably. However, most insurance carriers would consider Towing Coverage to be protection for just basic towing when a car becomes mechanically disabled. In contrast, Roadside assistance is normally referred to a policy that includes a more services such as; towing, lockout, battery jump-starts and flat tire changes.
Rental Reimbursement Coverage
Rental car reimbursement helps pay for a rental car if your own vehicle can’t be driven after a covered accident. Tip: You can increase your rental reimbursement coverage with most carriers to higher limits, which can come in handy if you will be needing a larger replacement vehicle like a mini van, large sedan, or truck.
Tips to Save on Your Auto Insurance
Here you will find some information on discounts and other tips to help you save on car insurance.
Auto Insurance Discounts
Discounts vary from company to company. Below you will find a list of some of the most popular discounts.
- Good or Safe Driver
- Age 55 or Over
- Anti-Lock Brakes
- Anti-Theft Devices
- Passive Restraints
- Continuous coverage
- Reduced Usage
- Pay in full
- Safety training or drivers education
- Good Student
- Distant Student
- New customer
- Customer loyalty
Additional Money Saving Tips From the Expert:
- Your Vehicle- The type of car you drive can have a significant impact on your policy. There are a many factors that go into the cost of a policy on a particular vehicle; Safety Devices, the attractiveness to thieves, the cost of repairing or replacing the vehicle all calculated in the cost of insuring a car. You could have purchase a new inexpensive car, but because of poor safety features and high repair cost that car may cost more to insure then a much more expensive car that is less expensive to repair and has more safety features. Before you purchase a car, we highly recommend you check how the new car will affect your premium.
- Credit- Over the last 10 to 15 years insurance companies have shifted their underwriting to relay more on consumer credit reports and it has little to do with them being worried that you will be able to pay your premiums. Statistics used by carriers show that people with better credit are less likely to turn in claims. There are two major reasons for this. People with excellent credit tend to be more responsible in general and less likely to file small frequent claims. Statistics show that there is a correlation between people with good credit and how responsible they are as drivers and how well they maintain or safe their vehicles are. Some states have band this practice, but if you live in a state that allows credit to determine your rates, improving your credit can lower your premiums.
- Continuous Coverage- Insurance companies give big discounts for those who have had continuous coverage. The longer they have had coverage, the larger the discounts are with many carriers. On the flip-side, those that have not had previous coverage or who are looking for a coverage after a policy has lapsed will pay significantly more for their policy. Even if your policy has lapsed temporary, with a good reason, you will still face much higher premiums then those who carry continuous coverage without gaps.
- How claims effect your rates- Most insurance carriers do not hand out claim free discounts until you are claim free for 5 years. However, some carriers will ease surcharges against you after your claims hit 3 years. How your claims effect you varies from company to company and frequency of claims. “At Fault” accidents claims tend to have a significantly greater impact on your rates then comprehensive or “not at fault” claims. However, all claims file can have an impact on your premium depending on carrier and other factors like length of coverage with that carrier. Claim frequency is a major factor in your car insurance rates. Did you know… with most carriers claim frequency tends to impact your rates more then claim payout amounts.
- How tickets effect your rates- Much like accidents, tickets tend to effect your premium for 5 years after they post to your record. Some carriers only look back three years and some carriers will have different rates depending on how old the incident is. When tickets are combined with accidents you can face significantly higher auto insurance rates then those with clean driving records, so keeping a clean driving record can save you big! Did you know… In Missouri you can request ticket older then 3 years be removed from your record? Find out more here.
Note: We recommend that you talk to your agent, directly, prior to filing any non-emergency claims. For any serious accidents call 911 then the 24 hour emergency claim number on the back of your ID card.
Contact Us today for a free policy review and insurance quote. We currently service the states of Missouri, Illinois, Florida. Call us at (888) 539-7520 or feel free to email or fax us your current policies for a comprehensive review and comparison. Fax: (636-352-2878) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org