In 2019, there were nearly 227.8 million licensed drivers and 287.3 million registered vehicles in the United States. As that number continues to grow, car insurance policies become ever more relevant in a society overrun by expanding technology. These policies operate to reduce the number of lawsuits that would otherwise be initiated due to a variety of setbacks. By carrying insurance, a driver is henceforth protected from the potentially disastrous effects of vehicle collisions, regardless of fault. As a result, liable drivers are safeguarded against unreasonably high claims from other involved parties, which provides peace of mind and financial freedom. In addition to lawsuit protection and fiscal security, car insurance guarantees reliable transportation and creates a safer driving environment for the entire community. While carrying the state minimum for automobile insurance is the law, there are many other policies available that provide even more coverage as a way to safeguard against unforeseen accidents or collisions. There are three main types of car insurance policies readily available in the American market:
- Liability Coverage. Liability coverage protects a driver from civil liability in the case that the driver is responsible for any damage inflicted upon another driver’s person or property. This type of policy can help drivers cover medical and repair expenses of any innocent party that incurred damages due to mistakes made by the covered driver. Liability coverage is the narrowest policy available in most areas; many states carry minimum requirements for how much liability coverage a driver must retain to remain in good standing with the state. While a driver is only legally obligated to retain minimum coverage, it may be a good idea to carry more to decrease potential out-of-pocket costs in the event of a collision.
- Collision Coverage. Collision coverage expands upon minimum liability policies and protects a liable driver’s own vehicle in addition to a third party’s. These policies cover a vehicle if the driver hits another car, person, or fixed object. Fixed objects include, but are not limited to, mailboxes, medians, and lawn decorations.
- Comprehensive Coverage. Comprehensive coverage protects a driver’s vehicle from disasters other than vehicle collisions. Such incidents include vandalism, fire, hail, severe weather, or general theft. As comprehensive coverage is a broader type of policy because it offers protection from even natural occurrences, comprehensive policies are usually sold in conjunction with collision coverage. Together, the two policies provide full coverage and protect a vehicle from any unexpected mishaps.
If an uninsured driver is involved in an accident, the individual could be subject to a variety of court fines or civil liabilities in cases of injury or death. In some situations, these uninsured accidents could result in felony charges, especially when involving reckless, distracted, or influenced driving. Many states require that drivers carry proof of insurance while operating a motorized vehicle; failure to do so could result in fines up to $600 depending on the jurisdiction. For more information regarding local laws and fines, drivers should be wary and research the regulations for the particular state of their vehicle’s primary operation. When deciding between car insurance policies, drivers should consider some important additions to ensure adequate coverage:
- Uninsured Motorist Coverage. This type of coverage protects a driver, when at fault, from any type of damage inflicted upon a third party not covered by the driver’s general insurance policy. Carrying this addition protects a liable driver from soaring out-of-pocket costs in the instance of a collision.
- Underinsured Motorist Coverage. This type of coverage is intended to cover damages that a driver receives from another motorist who does not carry adequate coverage himself.
- Accidental Death Rider. Some companies provide additional policies that afford death benefits to a driver in the event that the carrier or the carrier’s passengers are killed in an accident.
- Medical Expenses Coverage. This type of policy covers any medical expenses incurred due to a motor vehicle accident.
- Motorcycle Coverage. In general, automobile insurance does not cover motorcycle accidents. For this reason, motorcycle drivers should obtain policies solely dedicated to providing coverage in the case of a collision.
- Car Rental Coverage. Some providers offer car rental coverage as an addition to normal policies, which typically covers the cost of car rentals that a driver uses while their own vehicle is in the possession of a dealership or mechanic.
In an ever-developing society, protection against unwanted accidents is a requirement for the typical property owner. As commutes rise and families move farther away from large cities, vehicle ownership becomes increasingly important in the developing nation. By retaining some level of car insurance policy, drivers across the country create a more safe and cohesive driving community. As a result, such policies not only lessen the burden on individuals but also create a more secure future for the modern world.
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