Auto Insurance Policy Review

Temperatures are falling to sub zero levels, and in some parts of the country, millions have experienced frozen roads and ice storms. With winter driving conditions at their worst, you can at least find comfort in knowing that your auto insurance policy provides you with adequate coverage in the event of an accident. Or does it?

If you haven't looked at your insurance coverage in a while, winter is a good time to conduct an auto insurance policy review. Or, if you have recently moved from a place like San Diego to a city like Morristown, NJ, the minimum liability policy you had in the sunny state may not be enough to cover potential driving accidents in a snowy state.

Auto Insurance Basics -- Having the Right Coverage

  • Collision Coverage. You slide into another car on the ice, damaging your vehicle and that of another car. Although the slide was not intentional, it was deemed to be your fault. This is where your auto insurance policy's collision coverage kicks in, covering the repair of your car and that of the other vehicle.
  • Cover the cost to repair property or for injuries sustained by occupants of the other vehicle--up to the limits of your auto insurance policy.
  • Personal Injury Protection: A passenger in your car was injured. Accident-related medical expenses, lost wages, or funeral expenses are all covered through personal injury protection, which is typically required by law depending on your state of residence.
  • Comprehensive Coverage. This time you're not in your car, thankfully, but during a storm a tree freezes and breaks, falling and damaging your car. Comprehensive coverage will pay for the cost to repair any physical damage to your vehicle that was not collision related, such as falling objects, fire, hail, floods, theft vandalism, or animal collisions.

Filing an Auto Insurance Claim...or Not

  • Filing a claim.
    • Make sure everyone is okay. Put out flares if needed and have someone direct traffic while cars are moved out of the flow of traffic.
    • You may need to call police if anyone is injured or if the flow of traffic has been severely hampered.
    • Call your insurance company. Having the number handy and contacting them immediately will help to communicate the details while they are fresh in your mind.
    • Exchange information with the other driver, including their name, phone number, car's license number, driver's license number, and the name/phone/policy number for their insurance company.
    • Ask any available witnesses for their names and phone numbers.
    • Use your cell phone's camera to take pictures of the damage and the area where the accident occurred.
    • You may need to file an accident report with your state's Department of Motor Vehicles if there was an injury or death, or if the damage to any vehicle exceeded $1,500 check your state's DMV website to confirm your accident report requirements).
  • Paying Out-of-Pocket.
    • Chipped windshield. If you shop around, you may find that you can get your chipped windshield repaired for as little as $50 or up to $150, which could be significantly less than the cost of your deductible. Some insurance companies provide auto glass coverage as part of their policy, so check with your insurance agent and keep this in mind when shopping for a new auto insurance policy.
    • Just a scratch. If a storm took place while your car was parked and caused a small scratch to your car, you may be fine by having it buffed out at a repair shop or doing it yourself with a bit of elbow grease.

While comprehensive and collision coverage aren't always required if you own your car outright lenders will most likely require full coverage during the course of the loan), it makes sense have the right auto insurance policy to protect you in the event of an accident winter or otherwise. It's also smart to winterize your car and take advantage of winter driving tips to help avoid winter driving accidents all together.

See how much you could save today on your car insurance. Get your free auto insurance quotes today!