Auto Insurance Information
What is auto insurance?
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.
Auto insurance provides property, liability and medical coverage:
- Property coverage pays for damage to or theft of your car.
- Liability coverage pays for your legal responsibility to others for bodily injury or property damage.
- Medical coverage pays for the cost of treating injuries, rehabilitation and sometimes lost wages and funeral expenses.
An auto insurance policy is comprised of six different kinds of coverage. Most states require you to buy some, but not all, of these coverages. If you're financing a car, your lender may also have requirements.
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?
It's really all about protecting yourself financially.
- If you're in an accident or your car is stolen, it costs money, often a lot of money, to fix or replace it.
- If you or any passengers are injured in an accident, medical costs can be extremely expensive.
- If you or your car is responsible for damage or injury to others, you may be sued for much more than you're worth.
- Not only is having insurance a prudent financial decision, many states require you to have at least some coverage.
Questions to ask your agent
Your Independent Agent is an advocate for finding auto insurance that meets your specific needs. Here are a few things to consider as you prepare for the discussion:
- 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.)
Motorcycle Insurance Information
Why do you need insurance for your motorcycle?
You'll enjoy being out on the open road even more when you're not worried about the safety of yourself, your passengers or your investment. Here are a few things to consider:
- If you're in an accident or your motorcycle is stolen, it costs money, often a lot of money, to fix or replace it.
- If you or a passenger is injured in an accident, medical costs can be extremely expensive.
- If your motorcycle is responsible for damage or injury to others, you may be sued for much more than you're worth.
- Your motorcycle may be one of your most prized possessions. It deserves special protection.
Things to consider and questions to ask your agent
Your Independent Agent is an advocate for finding insurance that meets your specific needs. Here are a few things to consider as you prepare for the discussion:
- How much can I afford to pay if my motorcycle is in an accident, damaged or stolen? (Ask your agent what your cost savings would be if you raised your deductible.)
- What discounts and programs are available? (Ask about discounts for taking safety classes or having multiple policies. You may also save money if your motorcycle is stored in a garage or if you belong to a motorcycle association.)
- How much medical and liability coverage should I have?
- Does the insurance company have a good reputation for customer service? Is it known for paying claims fairly and promptly?
- What's the process for filing and settling a claim?
Tips for the cost-conscious rider
Many factors can play a role in determining what your insurance costs will be such as your age, your driving record, where you live and the type of motorcycle you own, or being a graduate of a rider-training course.
- Many companies offer discounts from 10 to 15 percent on motorcycle insurance for graduates of training courses, such as the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) rider course. Riders under the age of 25, usually considered a higher risk, may see some savings by taking this course. It's also a good idea for cyclists who have already had accidents.
- Maintaining a good driving record with no violations will also help reduce your premiums.
- In many northern states, riders may save money by buying a "lay-up" policy. With a lay-up policy, all coverage except comprehensive is suspended during winter months.
- Find out what discounts your insurance representative offers. Multibike discounts for those insuring more than one bike, organization discounts, if you're a member of a motorcycle association, and mature rider discounts for experienced riders, are just a few possibilities. Discounts can range anywhere from 10 percent to 20 percent, depending on the company and your state. Availability and qualifications for discounts vary from company to company and state to state.
- Keep in mind that the type, style (such as a sports bike vs. a cruiser) and age of the motorcycle, as well as the number of miles you drive a year and where you store your bike may also affect how much you pay for your premium.