Who Gets Covered By Your Car Insurance Policy
The answer to this question is not as simple as you may think.
This is why it is important to know the details of your auto policy well before you ever let someone else borrow your car.
Chances are, letting your friend drive to the grocery store is not going to result in an accident that is his or her fault, but because you never know what could happen, you need to be prepared.
Ask to Look at the Coverage Parts of Your Policy
Meet with your insurance agent in person, if possible, and ask to look at the coverage parts of your policy. If you do not have a local agent, ask the customer service agent to provide a copy of your policy via email, and then look at it while they go over each piece with you. The typical car insurance policy is broken down into the following coverage parts:
- Bodily injury to others: Covers medical expenses to those injured in the accident, not in your car.
- Personal injury protection: Helps to cover your medical expenses, but can also help continue income while you recover from the injuries of the accident, should you be out of work for an extended period of time.
- Bodily injury caused by an uninsured auto: Covers medical expenses to those injured in an accident caused by a driver who is not personally insured.
- Damage to someone else’s property: Covers damage to another person’s property, such as homes, etc. if you damage a building during the accident.
- Optional bodily injury to others: Extends your coverage amounts, and provides protection and extends to guests in your vehicle who are injured.
- Medical payments: Covers medical and funeral expenses for you and anyone who was in your car at the time of accident; also covers household members should they be hit by a car as a pedestrian.
- Collision: Helps to pay the cost to repair or replace your vehicle if it’s involved in an accident. This coverage is typically optional, unless you’re leasing or financing your vehicle.
- Limited collision: Covers damage on vehicles when you are less than 50% at fault for the accident, and the other vehicle(s) involved can be identified.
- Other than collision (also known as comprehensive): Takes care of non-accident related costs, such as Acts of God, theft, vandalism, etc.
- Substitute transportation: Refers to rental car coverage.
- Towing labor: Refers to covering towing bills if you’re involved in an accident or your vehicle breaks down.
- Bodily injury caused by an underinsured auto: Covers medical expenses caused by someone who is driving your car who does not have enough insurance coverage on their own to cover the cost of the accident.
Your policy may or may not contain all of these parts, depending on the types of coverage you have.
After you have the different coverage parts, you’ll have a set of definitions to determine what and who is covered. Just because you know what these words mean in the “real world” doesn’t mean you know what they mean in the “insurance world.”
- You or your: This refers to the person or people listed on the coverage pages–typically the policy holder.
- Household member: This refers to anyone who lives in your home, and is related to you through: blood, marriage, or adoption.
- Occupying: This refers to anyone who is in, getting into, or getting out of a vehicle.
- Pedestrian: This is anyone who is injured in an auto accident, who is not occupying a vehicle at the time of the accident.
Understanding your coverage is critical before an accident. If you don’t, you may find yourself in a bad situation.