We see auto insurance as something that protects us financially after a car accident. But really, at its core, auto insurance is all about protecting other drivers from you. If you want to protect yourself, you usually need to go beyond the auto insurance coverage required by your state. Here are some examples of things that are not covered by a typical auto insurance policy.
1. Natural disasters
Vehicle damage due to hail, flood, or other types of extreme weather conditions is not covered by your state minimum auto insurance policy. Drivers need full coverage for this. This takes care of any damage to the vehicle caused by things other than collisions with another car. This includes damage caused by storms, theft, vandalism, and collisions between animals and vehicles.
Lenders generally require motorists with leases or loans on their vehicles to have this coverage. This is how he protects his investment if the car is wrecked in an accident. Drivers who own their cars do not need this coverage, but it is often a good idea to have it anyway. Otherwise, they will have to pay for vehicle repairs out of pocket after an accident.
2. Personal effects inside your vehicle
It may seem logical that personal property damaged in an accident or stolen from a vehicle is covered by an auto insurance policy, but it is not. Auto insurance only covers damage to vehicles, people and property of others if the policyholder is the cause of the accident.
Personal effects are covered by a home or tenant insurance policy, even if they are stolen or damaged in a car. If you don’t have one of these policies, consider adding one. This could help you save on both policies, as many companies offer discounts to policyholders who bundle their insurance.
3. Commercial use
A typical auto insurance policy does not cover cars driven for work. This includes carpooling. Drivers who work for Uber, Lyft, or a similar service should find an auto insurance company that offers a ridesharing add-on. It will cost more, but it ensures that the vehicle is fully protected, whether the driver uses it for personal transportation or to transport customers.
Not all auto insurers currently offer carpooling coverage, although this is becoming more and more common. If you’re doing this as a side job or full-time, be sure to use an insurer that supports ride-sharing drivers.
4. Vehicle accessories
Things like a custom paint job, a fancy stereo system, and custom wheels aren’t usually covered by a standard auto insurance policy. Drivers should purchase additional coverage if they hope to replace these additions as a result of theft or accident.
Because there are virtually endless options for customizing vehicles, it’s important to read your policy carefully so you understand what it covers and what it does not. This is true even if you purchase additional coverage. If you have any questions, always contact your insurance company. This way you won’t be caught off guard if you need to file a claim.
5. Animal injuries
While some insurers will automatically cover pets injured in a car accident, most are not that generous. Drivers can purchase a separate pet injury jumper, but not all companies offer one. In this case, a separate pet insurance policy is an option for drivers who regularly travel with their dog or cat.
If you have an exotic pet, finding cover for it will be even more difficult. Most insurers only cover dogs and cats, so check the fine print to see if this is the case for your insurer.
Auto insurance can save your life in the event of an accident, but it’s your responsibility to make sure you have the right coverage before you need it. That’s why it’s important to know how much auto insurance you need and to purchase additional coverage to fill in the gaps in your policy.