Auto Insurance FAQs: Your Questions Answered

When it comes to auto insurance, most consumers have questions about the kind of coverage they buy, what they’re required to have and if there are options for high-risk drivers.

Learning the answers to these and other questions can help you make better purchasing decisions when it comes to car insurance. And now, finding answers is easier than ever!

Frequently Asked Questions about Auto Insurance

Can I drive without car insurance?

No! Almost every state requires its motorists to carry liability insurance, which covers damages to people and property resulting from an accident for which you are at fault.

All states also have financial responsibility laws, which require you show the state that you have the funds to pay claims if you have a bad accident. If you don’t have proof of sufficient funds (which varies by state), you’ll need to purchase at least the minimum state-required coverage.

What are the minimum insurance requirements?

While minimum coverage amounts vary by state, all state-required insurance will cover your liability for bodily injury and property damage.

For example, if the minimum auto insurance requirement in your state is listed as 25/40/15, this means that you’ll have coverage up to $40,000 for all motorists injured in an accident, up to a $25,000 for one person in an accident and $15,000 for damaged property.

While this may seem like a healthy amount of coverage, purchasing the state minimum is really purchasing a bare bones insurance policy. The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) recommends carrying at least $300,000 liability coverage per accident and $100,000 per person–and your insurer will encourage you do to the same.

What happens if I can’t find car insurance?

If you’ve applied for car insurance and been turned down because of your driving record or other factors, fret not–you still have options available to you. According to the I.I.I., you have two options: join a state assigned risk pool or buy a policy from a non-standard insurer.

An assigned risk pool consists of insurers in your area, who under state law, are required to participate in proportion to the amount of voluntary business they accept. As a result, insurers must accept motorists assigned to them and write policies accordingly. But because insurers have to take a substantial risk on insuring high-risk drivers, premiums are significantly more expensive.

Non-standard insurers may also be able to write you an auto insurance policy. These types of private insurers typically write policies for motorists with a poor history of accidents, people who live in “high-risk” neighborhoods and those who drive high performance cars.

While both of these options may have you forking over some extra cash, they might be your only source of auto insurance until your circumstances improve. Just remember to keep shopping around so you can switch insurers once you find a better premium price.

What are the differences between nonrenewal and cancellation of a policy?

You or your insurer can choose not to renew your auto insurance policy after it expires for a variety of reasons. You might decide not to renew your policy if you find a better deal somewhere else or weren’t happy with the service you were receiving.

An insurer may not renew your policy if you did something to substantially increase their risk to cover you–or if the company decides to write fewer policies in your area.

Cancellation, on the other hand, is more serious. According to the I.I.I., insurers cannot cancel a policy that’s been in force for more than 60 days unless:

  • You fail to pay your premium
  • You defraud the company
  • Your driver’s license is suspended or revoked

Cancellation of your policy may also make it harder to find insurance in the future, thus forcing you to buy a high-risk policy for a more expensive premium.

What if I’m not satisfied with my insurer?

As a consumer, you have rights when it comes to your auto insurance. If you’re not satisfied with your agent, let him or her know. If your complaint still goes unchecked, see if the insurer has a consumer complaint department and file a complaint.

If your issues remain unsolved, contact your state department of insurance. The department of insurance exists for consumer education and protection, and they can provide you with help and resources to take your complaint to the next level, or find a new insurer. You can contact your department of insurance by phone or find them online for more information.

A knowledgeable consumer is a powerful consumer!

Finding questions to your auto insurance answers is the first step to becoming an educated consumer–allowing you to make wise purchasing decisions about affordable car insurance. Find more answers to your auto insurance questions by contacting your state department of insurance!

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