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Auto insurance protects you against financial loss if you have an accident. It is a contract between you and the insurance company. You agree to pay the premium and the insurance company agrees to pay your losses as defined in your policy. When you work with an independent agent like Crosswinds Insurance Agency, you have the benefit of advice from an insurance professional and the convenience of having all your coverage needs handled under one roof.
There are three primary types of insurance coverage:
Liability Insurance. Covers the costs associated with injuries and property damage you are responsible for if you cause an accident.
Collision. Covers the costs to repair or replace your damaged or destroyed vehicle after an accident.
Comprehensive. Formally known as "other than collision," this portion of your policy covers damage to your vehicle from causes such as auto theft and weather damage.
There are also several different types of coverage which may be available to you, including:
Medical payments: Covers the costs of injuries for you and others in your vehicle after an accident, regardless of who was at fault.
Personal Injury Protection. Similar to medical payments coverage, PIP coverage can pay your medical costs after an accident, regardless of fault. But PIP offers expanded coverage that includes coverage for lost wages.
Rental reimbursement: Pays a certain amount daily for a replacement vehicle if yours is in the shop for repairs.
Towing and Assistance. Provides emergency roadside assistance and towing to help you get your vehicle back on the road or to a shop for repair.
As you consider your policy needs, it is important to keep the coverage limits in mind. The costs of a severe crash can quickly exceed the limits. If that occurs, you will have to pay for costs out of your own pocket.
Most auto policies are for six months or a year. Your insurance company should notify you by mail when it's time to renew the policy and to pay your premium.
Why do you need auto insurance?
When you get behind the wheel, you take a risk. You may attempt to be the best possible driver, but you also have to trust that everyone else on the road is driving well and paying attention, too. Auto insurance provides a safety net when drivers make mistakes.
In the event of an accident, you are at risk financially. If the accident is not your fault, and the other driver does not have adequate insurance, you have to pay for all damages to your own car plus pay for any medical bills if you are badly injured.
When you are at fault, you are typically liable for damages to the other person’s vehicle as well as the medical costs of injured victims. Additionally, you must cover the repairs to your own vehicle and the costs of legal fees if you are sued. All of your assets are at risk if you are uninsured or underinsured.
Questions to ask your agent
How much can you afford to pay if you get in an accident? (To keep premiums low you may want to have a higher deductible and be willing to pay more for repairs.)
What is the insurance company's level of service and ability to pay claims?
What discounts are available? (Ask about good driver, multiple policy and student discounts.)
What's the procedure for filing and settling a claim? (Ask who to call and what happens after you file a claim.)