Auto insurance can be difficult to navigate through, particularly for younger car owners who have little experience navigating its waters. There are a number of common misconceptions about how your car insurance works, ranging from what it covers to how they determine what to charge you for coverage.
A responsible car owner should do their best to familiarize themselves with their insurance policy to understand how it works and what exactly it is they’re paying for. This can help you know your options should you ever get into a car accident without having to worry about learning everything as you use your insurance. Here are five common car insurance myths debunked.
Myth 1: Red cars are more expensive to insure
This persistent myth claims that red cars, being more attractive and thus more prone to theft, are expensive to insure and therefore will garner a higher car insurance payment for you. Up to 53 percent of millennials believe the myth that red cars are more expensive to insure. But of all the factors that go into determining what you will pay for insurance, the color of your car is not one of them.
Many insurance agencies don’t even ask what color your car is before assigning you a rate. Factors that are taken into account include year, make, model, body type, engine, and age of the car.
Other factors that are more likely to affect your rate than the car color include the age of the driver and the city the car will be used in most often.
Myth 2: Insurance only applies when you are not at fault
Although 44 percent of Americans believe that insurance will not cover you in an at-fault accident, the truth is, insurance companies will help cover repairs, even for accidents you caused.
Many states require liability coverage, or coverage to pay for repairs and medical costs associated with accidents in which you are at fault, but adding collision coverage and medical payment coverage to your insurance can help you out when you accidentally cause an accident so you aren’t left footing the entire bill alone.
Myth 3: Insurance applies to regular repairs
One thing your insurance will not cover are repairs for wear-and-tear and normal breakdown that happens from the depreciation of your car. You are responsible for maintaining your car, which means learning how to monitor it yourself or developing a relationship with a mechanic you can trust and taking your car in for regular check-ups.
In addition, reporting too many car problems to your insurance company in an attempt to get them to cover it will likely backfire. In fact, repeatedly telling them your car is giving you trouble will only make them want to raise your insurance premiums.
Myth 4: Insurance will pay post-accident values
When your car is completely totaled after an accident, your insurance will look at a number of factors to determine your car’s actual car value in order to decide how much to provide as payout. However, one thing they will not do is attempt to calculate the ACV of your car post-accident.
After a wreck where your car is totaled and you need an auto accident lawyer, the post-accident value is almost certainly going to be near zero. Your insurance company cannot use this value and will calculate pre-accident values instead. However, don’t be surprised when that number is lower than the Kelly Blue Book claimed value of the car, as insurance companies do look for legal ways to minimize payout.
Myth 5: Auto insurance protects things inside your car
If you have comprehensive insurance, you may have some form of theft coverage. However, this coverage is for the vehicle itself, not the goods inside of the vehicle, which means anything expensive or of value that’s taken from your car is up to you to replace, not your insurance company. A break-in is similarly covered only to the extent that you can replace a broken window or handle, but what is taken in the break-in must be replaced on your dime.
Of course, some forms of homeowner’s or renter’s insurance provide coverage for things inside your car, so you may want to look into the details of either of those policies if you have them because car insurance alone will not protect you from someone breaking into your car and taking your valuables.
Your car insurance is a valuable tool for peace of mind when you’re on the road, but it’s important that you make sure to know what exactly you’re paying for and what kind of coverage you have. It’s also important to consider what lacking coverage in certain areas can mean, and why you don’t necessarily want the simplest, cheapest plan available.
Featured photo credit: Saundra Castaneda via flickr.com