Almost every state has laws stating that people have auto insurance, but the actual regulations regarding auto insurance vary from state to state - so the type of coverage that you require depends on the state in which you live in.

Even if there are no laws, it is highly recommended that you have some form of cover; otherwise you may end up paying out huge amounts of money in the event of an accident, or even losing your home, in a worst-case scenario.

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Understanding Auto Insurance Coverage and Deductible Options

The first thing you need to understand about auto insurance is what your coverage and deductible options are in USA. A deductible is the minimum amount of money that you will have to pay to your car insurance company in the event of a claim. When choosing a deductible you should consider how much you are willing to pay if you need to claim. Generally speaking, the higher the deductible that you are prepared to pay, the lower the cost of your premium will be.

There are many people who want to know what their auto insurance policy cover, and rightly so. After all they are investing so much in it, and they are entitled to know what it covers. Basically an auto insurance policy can cover: You, your spouse, your family members that live at the same address, and other named drivers of your vehicle.

You also need to know what types of auto insurance coverage exist. There are various types of coverage that you can purchase. Many states have minimum amounts of each type, and different definitions as to what they type of coverage actually means. As a general guideline:

Liability coverage and Auto Liability Coverage are the most common. The latter covers you in the event of you causing injury or damage to another person and/or their property in an auto accident. It can be split into:

Bodily Injury Liability: This covers medical expenses, loss of earnings and various other damages.
Property Damage Liability: Covers damage to property.

Personal Injury Protection is another type of coverage. This pays an agreed amount of medical expenses for people in an auto accident, and can also pay for rehabilitation, loss of earnings, funeral costs and various other expenses.

Medical Payment Coverage: This will also pay medical and/or funeral costs in the event of an accident.

Collision Coverage: This pays for repair costs incurred by damage from another vehicle, a stationary object or a vehicle rollover. A deductible will usually be payable on this type of claim.

Comprehensive Coverage: Covers for loss or damage occurred by a means other than collision or rollover. Examples of this include fire, strong winds, theft, vandalism and damage by animals.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage: Coverage when an uninsured driver damages causes you injury in an auto accident. This can also include property damage, depending on state laws.

Underinsured Motorist Coverage: As above, for an underinsured driver causing the accident.

Rental Reimbursement: Pays for a rental car if your car is off the road due to an auto accident. The amount of reimbursement will depend on your policy and state law.

Emergency Road Services: Pays the costs involved, if you have you vehicle towed due to breakdown.

Car Insurance Q & A

Question: If someone borrows my car and crashes it, does my insurance apply, or does theirs?
Answer: Generally speaking, the liability follows the car, so your insurance would apply, as it is your car. The liability insurance of the driver often pays the additional amount if the costs payable are above your policy limits.

Question: If a child goes to college with mom or dad’s car, are they covered under the parents’ personal auto policy?
Answer: This can vary from company to company. Check with the insurance provider and make sure that the child is listed as an additional driver. Do this before the child goes to college, and it will avoid unnecessary disputes later on.

Question: Do I need ‘gap’ insurance?
Answer: If your vehicle is on finance, and its value is now less than the amount you owe, then yes you need gap insurance. If you owe less than its value, then no, you do not need gap insurance.