How much auto insurance do I need?
Most states require you to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance and also provide proof of insurance to register a vehicle or renew your license. In the case of an accident, the minimum liability insurance required by the state may not be enough coverage to pay for the damages that result after an accident. In this case, the driver responsible for the accident may have to pay additional expenses out of pocket. To determine how much auto insurance you need, consider:
- The value of your assets
- How and when you drive
- What you drive
- Who is in the car with you
How do insurance companies assess my risk?
Insurance companies assess your risk by using a Risk Assessment Indicator, which is a numerical score based on credit report information. These Risk Assessment Indicators are highly predictive of future claim activities, helping insurance companies charge a rate that is appropriate for the risk of the insured individual.
Am I covered if I drive someone else's vehicle?
Generally speaking, the insurance goes with the car. For example, if you have an accident while driving someone else's car, the owner's insurance would apply toward damages first. Your Auto insurance would generally apply in the event the owner of the vehicle had no Auto insurance or did not have enough Auto insurance to pay the damages.
What deductible should I choose?
The higher the deductible, the lower the premium - but the more you'll pay out of pocket in case of a claim. The lower the deductible, the higher the premium - but the less you'll pay if you have an insured claim.
How much liability coverage should you choose?
In general, higher levels of insurance coverage mean higher premiums. But they also mean a greater likelihood that insurance will cover all the costs of an accident.
Since insurance companies provide coverage up to specified limits (for example $25,000 or $100,000), be sure to factor your personal finances into your decision. If you want extra protection in case of a lawsuit, or if you drive a vehicle known to cause more damage (like an SUV), then you might want a higher level of liability coverage.
A good rule of thumb is to choose liability coverages and deductibles that take into account your personal financial situation, the type of car you drive and how much risk you are comfortable with.
In some states known as "No-Fault" states, you may be required to carry Personal Injury Protection coverage, and this may impact your selection of the above coverages. More information about this coverage is available in our online quote process. Or, for more details, your National General Insurance representative or agent will be happy to help.
What is liability coverage and how much should I have?
Nearly every state requires you to carry a minimum amount of liability coverage as part of your auto insurance policy. Liability coverage pays for injury or property damage to others.
There are two types of liability coverage:
- Bodily Injury Liability coverage protects you if you injure someone or cause a fatality with your car.
- Property Damage Liability coverage protects you if your car damages someone else's property.
What is the difference between collision and comprehensive coverage?
Collision coverage helps pay for damage to your vehicle that is caused by:
- Collision with another vehicle
- Collision with a stationary object, such as a tree or street sign
- A vehicle rollover
While subject to deductibles, this type of coverage protects you whether or not the damage is your fault. You may be required to have collision coverage if your vehicle is being financed or leased.
Comprehensive coverage, or Other Than Collision coverage, helps pay for loss or damage that is not caused by a collision, object or vehicle rollover. This includes damage caused by:
- Theft or vandalism
- Fire, blizzards, hail or wind
- Falling objects, such as a rock or tree
While subject to deductibles, this type of coverage protects you in situations that don't necessarily involve other drivers or vehicles. As with collision coverage, if you are leasing or financing your car, comprehensive coverage may be required.
Why did my Car insurance premium increase?
Most drivers know that tickets and accidents can raise your Car insurance premium. But even if you haven't been in an accident or received a ticket, there are other factors that can still affect the cost of your Auto insurance.
Making a change to your policy can have an impact on your Auto insurance rate. For instance, adding a driver will likely increase the cost of the policy, especially if the new driver is a teenager. Moving to a new residence may also affect the cost of your policy - depending on the rate of traffic accidents, thefts, and vandalism claims in your geographic area, this can affect your premium either negatively or positively. Your premium may also increase if you've recently switched vehicles. The more your vehicle is worth, the more it will cost to insure. However, automobiles with features like anti-lock brakes, airbags, and anti-theft devices may lower your premium.
What's not included in a Risk Assessment Indicator?
Risk Assessment Indicators do not use the following information:
- Ethnic group
- Marital Status
- Familial Status
Where do Risk Assessment Indicators come from?
Risk Assessment Indicators are based on information from consumer credit reports from one of three institutions: LexisNexis Consumer Services, Equifax, or CSC Credit Services. Information used may include:
- Length of credit history
- Late payments, collections
What does a Home insurance policy not cover?
The sources of damage not covered by a homeowners insurance policy include (but are not limited to):
- Earth movement
- Nuclear hazard
- Neglect or failure to make repairs
- Corrosion, deterioration, decay or rust
- Wear and tear
- Increased cost due to enforcement of any building ordinance or law
- Government actions
- Power failure
- Animals or pests
Will I be reimbursed for additional living expenses if I cannot live in my home due to a covered loss?
If your home becomes uninhabitable due to a covered loss, we pay for those extra costs of housing, eating expenses, etc. up to the applicable limit.
A neighbor slips on my sidewalk and threatens to take me to court for damages. Does my homeowner policy protect me?
Yes. Homeowners insurance will pay for damages, if the accident is the result of your negligence. It will also pay for the legal costs of defending you against a claim. Also, the medical payments part of your Homeowners policy will cover medical expenses arising from an injury to a neighbor or guest.
How do I complete a home inventory?
Start your home inventory by making a list of your possessions, describing each item, and noting the make and model and where each item was purchased. Include sales receipts, purchase contracts and appraisals if you have them, too. Organize clothing into categories for easier reference.
A few other home inventory organization tips:
- Remember to list big-ticket items like jewelry, artwork and collectibles.
- Take pictures of rooms and important individual items.
- Videotape your home by walking through it and describing the contents throughout the house.
- Save an inventory list on your personal computer and store it on a separate disk or drive.
- Put all your photos, lists and videotape documentation in a safe deposit box.
Why should I complete a home inventory?
When you purchase a home and a homeowners insurance policy, you should create an up-to-date home inventory to expedite a claim settlement if you ever need to make one. With a complete home inventory, your insurance company can verify property easier, which makes settling your claim easier. Plus, you can easily verify losses for your income tax return with an updated home inventory.
How do you know I have prior losses?
In addition to losses you are required to disclose during the application process, we use some general information about you- such as your name, date of birth, and the property address- to obtain a consumer report known as a loss history report. This report is provided by a third party and contains information on any prior claims you or a previous owner of the property filed. In some programs, we will order loss history reports on others in your household as well.
Why do insurance providers consider prior home losses and how does that impact me?
Prior losses are considered to be predictors of future losses. If you've experienced a loss before, statistics show you're more likely to have another loss in the future. Due to this correlation, insurance companies use prior loss information to determine if you qualify for insurance. In addition to impacting your ability to obtain or retain insurance coverage, a history of property losses may influence the premium you'll pay for home insurance coverage if you do qualify.
Am I required to have homeowners insurance if I own a home?
Unlike driving a car, you can legally own a home without homeowners insurance. However, if you finance your home with a mortgage, your lender most likely will require you to have home insurance coverage to protect your home in case of damage caused by unforeseen circumstances, such as fires or natural disasters.
If you live in an area that is prone to flooding or earthquakes, your lender may also require you to purchase flood insurance or earthquake insurance.
After you pay off your mortgage, you aren't required to have home insurance. However, you should keep your home insurance policy active to avoid risking what you've invested in your home.
If you purchase a condominium or co-op, your board may require you to buy condo insurance or home insurance. Be sure to check with your board to see what type of policy is required. If you're looking to insure a townhouse and your townhome association has a master policy (which typically covers the structure and common areas), you'll get renters insurance. If your association does not have a master policy, you'll get homeowners insurance.
Why should I consider coverage for local building ordinances or laws?
If your home is damaged or destroyed, you may be required to remodel or rebuild your home to meet current building codes in your area that differ from when your home was built or last renovated. Many home insurance policies don't cover the necessary upgrade costs to comply with local building codes after a covered loss, leaving you with a potential gap in coverage and unexpected expenses.
One customer, with a very large home built in 2007, experienced a fire that caused significant damage throughout the home. After the home was built, the city passed an ordinance that required the installation of fire suppression sprinklers in homes of a certain size, including the customer's home. The cost of upgrading the home to include the required sprinklers was approximately $20,000 and would not have been covered if the customer had not purchased adequate Building Ordinance or Law Coverage.