Understanding Your Auto Insurance Quote

by : Jill Brennan

If you had the choice of going through several auto insurance quotes or reading the Saturday paper then its probably a fairly safe bet to say that hands down you'd prefer to read the paper.  Few people enjoy combing through semi-legal jargon to work out which policy they should choose.  But it doesn't have to be so hard.

The key is knowing a bit about what you're reading  Once you have a handle on the various aspects of your auto insurance quote you can then confidently choose which options you are prepared to forego in order to get a discount on your car insurance premium.  There are many terms perculiar to the insurance industry but there are four main terms that you need to understand. 

Here is an easy to digest overview of those terms that you need to know about:

Comprehensive Coverage – this is for the cost of repair or replacement of the insured’s car for reasons other than an accident.

Property Injury Liability or Property Damage Coverage – this covers any costs associated with damage to property as a result of a motor vehicle accident.  In many cases this is mandatory.

Bodily Injury Coverage – the funds that an insurance company would pay for damages caused to another individual involved in a motor vehicle accident. 

Collision Coverage – this covers the cost of repair or replacement of the insured’s car no matter who caused the accident.

Liability coverage – either bodily or property damage – kicks in if in the course of an accident there is damage to either another person or property.  For example, if you drive into the back of another driver or your foot slips off the brake onto the gas pedal and you plow down a mailbox. Your liability coverage will kick in and pay for the damages that you caused with your insured vehicle.

With Collision Coverage you can choose the level that you pay in the event you need repairs or replacements if your vehicle collides with another vehicle or property. This amount is called the deductible and basically the higher the deductible you elect, the lower your premiums will be.  How does it work?  Just like medical insurance, you pay the deductible amount, sometimes called an excess, first and then the insurance company pays the remaining repair costs. 

Comprehensive Coverage encompases things like damage caused from falling objects, fire, certain natural disasters, theft and vandalism. Deductibles work the same way as with Collision; the more out of pocket costs to you, the lower your car insurance premium will be.

The amount of coverage you decide on will be the amount that lets you sleep comfortably at night and drive your car without undue fear of your liabilities in the event of an accident.  Only you know what that level needs to be, no one else can decide what will give you peace of mind.  Thankfully there are enough insurance companies in the marketplace offering a wide range of car insurance variables that you will almost certainly be able to pick and choose just the right elements that you need for your car insurance.  While at first it maybe baffling sorting through the different variables available, it means you will not have to pay for extra services that you are unlikely to use and don't value enough to pay for.