Car Insurance is designed to protect you, and understanding your protection can be a challenge. These common car insurance faq will help you shed some light on this powerful, mandatory financial protection tool.
For more information, or for a question not found in our car insurance faq, please consult your state’s Department of Insurance or your insurance agent as the situation requires as auto insurance law varies from state to state.
Q. My auto insurer is not providing fair compensation on my total loss. How do is your vehicle’s value established?
Insurers tend to go with book value, and they may also consider dealer quotes. If you or your insurance company are contesting these sources, the only other approach for a fair assessment is to go with the value of similar vehicles in the marketplace. Your vehicle’s condition, mileage, and options all factor in to the determination of its value.
Q. I think an auto insurer is trying to rip me off by not offering to pay my full damages on a liability claim. Who can I turn to for help?
Your state’s Department of Insurance most likely is legally authorized to make the determination if your insurer has conducted a proper and full investigation before they made their decision regarding who was at fault. However, your Department of Insurance most likely is not authorized to determine accident fault issues. If you disagree with your insurance carrier’s fault determination, you’ll require court intervention so that it may rule on the matter or use your own insurance policy to make your claim. Please consult with your state’s Department of Insurance directly regarding issues of this nature.
Q. The other party’s insurer refuses to pay for my rental vehicle regarding my liability claim. Aren’t they obligated to do this?
Not in every scenario. If you do not have another car at your disposal, the insurance carrier should cover your rental cost as part of your damages sustained in the accident until they at the very least render the loss determination on your vehicle. We are currently unaware of actual insurance statutes regarding this issue and as such it should be consulted with the appropriate parties.
Q. Can insurers provide estimates using junk yard parts or non-original manufacturer parts?
Yes, insurers are not obligated to use new parts on used cars. Responsibility only goes as far as returning the vehicle in its pre-accidental condition.
Q. I gave the insurer a couple of estimates, and they in turn revised the estimate and made their payment to me per the revised estimate. Is this legal?
Indeed it is, as long as that revised estimate has appropriately repaired the vehicle’s damages. You have to consult with your body shop and have them review your revised estimate. If it is determined by them that they are unable to properly repair your vehicle based on this estimate revision, the facility in question should contact the insurance adjuster handling your case.
Q. Can my insurer dictate where to get my repairs done under auto and/or home insurance?
Yes, if they’re willing to guarantee their referral’s work. You can always go to the repair shop that you want, however any additional costs are your responsibility. Your insurer in turn could only be obligated to reimburse you based on the lowest estimate.
Q. I’m not familiar with comparative fault. What is that?
This varies from state to state. It should be discussed with your insurance agent so they can explain how, and if, it applies to the state where you live. Under comparative fault law, insurers are allowed to investigate an accident and make a decision as to the percentage of fault of all parties involved. They will make voluntary offers based on this opinion. If you disagree with their evaluation, you should consult an attorney or turn over the matter to your own insurance company to handle under your collision coverage.
Q. I had the misfortune of being on the business end of an accident with an uninsured motorist. Where do I go from there?
Contact your state’s Department of Insurance for additional information. Your state’s Department of Insurance can direct you to the official government body that handles the enforcement of your state’s financial responsibility (mandatory liability) legislation. They’ll investigate and, if required, will enforce the appropriate statutes applicable to your situation. Also, if you sustained injuries as a result, you’ll definitely want to report your loss under your the uninsured motorist provisions of your insurance policy.
Q. What does uninsured motorist coverage cover?
Uninsured motorist coverage only covers bodily injury. Your uninsured motorist coverage does provide protection from hit-and-run drivers. You’re also covered for injuries that you sustain in your car or if you’re hit by an uninsured driver as a pedestrian. Vehicle damage is not covered.
Q. Are you required to purchase uninsured motorist coverage on your car insurance policy?
Please consult your insurance agent regarding your state’s requirements.
Q. Can my family members’ driving/accident records compromise my ability to buy car insurance?
Yes, the records of other licensed drivers living in your home tend to affect the insurer’s decision as to weather or not to cover your vehicle(s). This can have the unfortunate consequence of you yourself being turned down for car insurance, or made to pay high risk premiums. It’s a good idea to inquire with your agent about a driver exclusion endorsement.
Q. Can the auto loan lender provide insurance for my car and then turn around and bill me for it?
Yes, if under your loan agreement, you agree to provide full coverage insurance, and then you don’t honor that agreement. The lender can get car insurance on the vehicle to protect their interests. However, policies such as these normally do not provide liability insurance coverage to meet your home state’s financial responsibility (mandatory liability) rules and regulations.
Q. Can an auto insurer legally make me accept high risk coverage if I have not had insurance coverage within the last 30 days?
Please consult your agent to learn if your state’s law does not prevent insurance companies from doing this. If it turns out that this is the case in your state, you can avoid this by making sure that you pay your insurance premiums on a timely basis so that you don’t experience coverage lapses.
We hope these car insurance FAQ have been helpful to you. If you have any specific questions relating to your current coverage or coverage that you’re shopping for, please contact your insurance carrier or State Insurance Regulator.
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