Do you need standard auto insurance? There are several types of car insurance, which can make it confusing to know what kind you need. But standard auto insurance can be simple to understand and the best option if you have a clean driving record and don’t plan on driving other people’s cars or renting vehicles while you travel.
If this sounds like your situation, then standard auto insurance may be right for you and your family. Keep reading to learn more about the basics of standard auto insurance so that you can make an informed decision about what kind of coverage you need and what makes up standard auto insurance coverage today.
Benefits of Standard Auto Insurance
Guaranteed acceptance rates
Many companies offer guaranteed acceptance rates, which means you’ll never be turned down for insurance. You’ll save yourself from having to spend time searching for an insurer or from applying multiple times with different companies. While there are risks involved in guaranteeing that every applicant will be accepted, these risks can be mitigated by tracking customer claims over time and scoring each applicant based on their likelihood of filing a claim.
Finding a company with high acceptance rates is one way to get better value for your money—after all, if you don’t file any claims while using a specific provider, you didn’t really need that level of coverage! In fact, it may have been overkill to buy such a plan in the first place.
24/7 claims service
For many people, one of the most important parts of insurance is that when you have a claim, you can expect to get it paid for as quickly as possible. With 24/7 claims service, whether it’s a car accident on your way to work or hail damage to your house, you’ll get help fast. And with USAA members living all over the country (and beyond), we know how hard it can be if you don’t have access to an agent on call during unexpected hours. That’s why we offer 24/7 claims service across our products—so no matter what time or day it is, USAA members will be covered.
Uninsured motorist coverage
If you’re ever involved in an accident where there is no third-party liability, uninsured motorist coverage comes into play. This type of insurance protects drivers from damage and injuries caused by uninsured drivers or hit-and-run drivers who have insufficient coverage to pay for your medical bills.
In some states, drivers must choose between purchasing uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage and underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage; in others, these two types of policies are sold together as a combined UM/UIM policy. Regardless, UM/UIM covers you when accidents are caused by someone else who does not have any form of liability insurance at all.
If you have a loan or lease on your car, it’s essential to keep collision coverage. Otherwise, you could end up paying for repairs out of pocket—that can be thousands of dollars. Collision covers your vehicle in case it is damaged in an accident with another car or object that doesn’t have insurance. The cost is usually around $100 per year.
Without collision coverage, you would have to come up with money out-of-pocket to pay for damage to your car after an accident; again, potentially thousands of dollars depending on what was damaged and how much it costs to fix.
Underinsured motorist coverage
This type of coverage is a bit like medical insurance—you hope you never need it, but if you do, it’s invaluable. It pays to protect yourself in case another driver damages your car and can’t pay for all of their own medical bills or property damage.
Underinsured motorist coverage protects you if that happens by covering some or all costs up to your limits. Note: You may not want to purchase an underinsured motorist policy right away since it only covers accidents that occur while driving; if someone vandalizes your car while it’s parked, they won’t be covered under your policy.
Comprehensive insurance is one that protects you from damage or theft beyond what your standard auto insurance will cover. This will protect you in a number of situations, such as if your car is damaged in a flood or fire, or if it’s stolen and never recovered. If you’re interested in comprehensive coverage, find out how much it would cost to add comprehensive coverage to your policy at checkout. (Consider going with full coverage instead.)
Medical payments coverage
When your car collides with another vehicle or hits a pedestrian, medical payments coverage will help pay for any necessary medical expenses. A lot of people don’t know that regular auto insurance policies won’t cover you here, so be sure to pick up additional coverage (if your state has it). In some cases, you might need even more than basic limits. Medical payments coverage can also apply to other incidents, like if someone takes your car and crashes it. Like collision and comprehensive, there are different minimum limits required in most states.
Liability insurance covers your legal responsibility for bodily injury or property damage caused by your car. You must have liability coverage to drive in most states, and you may be required to buy it even if you don’t own a car. Make sure your policy includes bodily injury and property damage liability as well as personal injury protection, or PIP—you won’t be covered if you’re in an accident without it.
For example, if you accidentally hit a pedestrian who happens to sue you for medical costs, PIP will pay for those expenses out of pocket up to your coverage limit. Without PIP, you’d be on the hook to pay that amount yourself—which could easily end up costing more than all three types of coverage combined.
Personal injury protection (PIP)
If you’re hurt in an accident, PIP coverage provides money for your medical bills and lost wages. Personal injury protection is available to everyone who has car insurance. It’s required in only a handful of states, but it’s a good idea to have no matter where you live. If you live in a state where PIP is not required, consider adding it—particularly if you have health issues or are likely to have high medical expenses after an accident.