Chances are, you’ve filed at least one auto insurance claim in your lifetime—even if it was minor. According to the car insurance industry, the average driver has a total of three to four accidents in his or her lifetime. Now that doesn’t mean each accident is life-threatening. Most of these claims are mere parking lot scrapes or unlikely meetings with immovable objects. But minor accidents can rack up thousands of dollars in repairs, and major accidents can financially cripple you in medical expenses. D.L. Barton Insurance Agency will work with you and several different top-rated carriers to determine which insurance plan works best for your needs, desired deductible and premiums.
What are my options for auto insurance?
Everyone wants to save money on auto insurance, but choosing the lowest premium isn’t always the best option. You have to balance out how the premium costs and the different coverage options will affect or benefit you. Here are some of the auto insurance coverage options you can choose from:
Covers bodily injury and property damage to others
Covers physical damage to your vehicle caused by accidents
Medical Payment Coverage
Covers medical coverage for you and your passengers
Covers physical damage to your vehicle caused by theft, vandalism, hail and falling objects
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Covers medical expenses, pain and suffering and loss of wages for you if you’re in an accident with someone that does not have insurance or very low amounts of coverage
Additional Coverage Options
Enhance standard policies with coverage for towing and labor, car rental loan/lease coverage and more
Frequently Asked Auto Insurance Questions
Does comprehensive insurance cover everything?
While many people refer to comprehensive insurance as “full coverage,” there really is no such policy. Comprehensive coverage is an add-on—and although the term comprehensive may lead you to think otherwise—it doesn’t mean it covers everything. It does pick up a few extra situations where liability and collision insurance don’t. Comprehensive insurance will pay for damages to your vehicle caused by theft, vandalism, hail and falling objects. Most banks will require you add this option to your policy if your vehicle is leased or financed.
Why would I choose just liability insurance?
Liability only insurance usually has the lowest premiums (a reason some people choose this option for their auto insurance). It’s also the minimum amount of car insurance most states require. Keep in mind though, liability insurance only protects you if you’re at fault in an accident by paying for bodily injury or property damage to others. It does not cover damage to your vehicle, and you would be personally responsible for any claims that go over your policy’s limit.
How does collision insurance differ from liability insurance?
Collision insurance covers damage to your vehicle should you be in an accident. If your car is leased or financed, most banks will require this level of coverage. While this insurance is smart to have, there may be a point where it makes sense to drop collision insurance. This is especially true if you can easily replace your vehicle. D.L. Barton Insurance Agency will walk you through whether this coverage is the best option for you by looking at the resale value of your vehicle, your driving record and how much you pay for this coverage.
How do I get the best coverage and premiums?
After talking with you about your auto insurance needs, D.L. Barton Insurance Agency will search our network of top-rated insurance carriers to give you comparison quotes on the best level of auto coverage, premiums and deductibles for you.
Accident With a Borrowed Car: Whose policy pays?
If you lend your car to a friend and your friend has an accident, it might be your insurance that’s on the hook. It all depends on the insurance company that issued your policy. One company’s policy may state:”the insurance follows the car”; while another company’s policy says the driver’s insurance is the primary coverage even though you own the vehicle involved.
Let’s take a look at the two different scenarios:
- If the insurance follows the car and you lend your car to a friend, your coverage is considered the primary coverage. If your friend has an accident, it’s your insurance that will pay the claim. If the accident is serious enough to use up all of your policy’s coverage, then your friend’s coverage, which is considered secondary, might also be used.
- If the insurance follows the driver, coverage is provided the other way around. If you lend your car to a friend and they have an accident, it’s their policy that is considered primary coverage, meaning their insurance company will pay the claim. In this case, your policy would be secondary and wouldn’t pay for anything unless your friend’s policy limits were used up.
All these rules go out the window in many cases if the person borrowing the car happens to be a relative who resides in the same household as the owner. You should read your policy carefully to see what type of coverage applies to you.
Remember these two things: First, always exercise caution when it comes to lending your car. Second, if you’re ever in doubt about whether you or another driver is covered in any given situation, please call us.
Rental Cars: Should you purchase rental agency coverage?
If you have collision and comprehensive (“other than collision”) coverages on your own car, you are most likely covered if you’re traveling in the United States, its territories and possessions or Canada (for example, travel in Mexico, the Bahamas or Europe would not be covered). Most policies (except business policies) cover any rental car that you drive at no additional premium. Business cars frequently require an extra premium to afford the same coverage. Give us a call before you leave for your “fun in the sun and/or snow” to confirm your coverage.
What To Do After an Accident.
You’ve been in an accident. Here are some general guidelines about what to do next:
- Stop at once. Never leave the scene of even a MINOR accident.
- Seek medical assistance and summon police.
- Do not admit fault. Do not comment on the accident to anyone but your insurance representative and the police. Never accept or make an offer of cash, check or “private” settlement.
- Gather accident information. Note the date and time of the accident.
- Obtain information on the other driver including name, address, phone number, make of car, vehicle license number, insurance company and agent’s name and telephone number.
- Record a description of what occurred.
- Draw a diagram of the accident showing the direction of both cars and the point of the accident. Include street names and location of traffic signs/signals.
- Report the accident promptly to your insurance agent.
What about cellular phone coverage?
Since many of us now have cellular telephones, we thought it might be worthwhile to highlight a few points regarding how insurance applies to this technology:
If a cellular phone is stolen from your car (or along with your car if it is stolen), is the phone covered by your auto insurance?
No, it is not unless the phone is permanently installed and powered by the car’s electrical system.
Is your portable cell phone covered by your homeowners or renters insurance?
Sometimes it is, but coverage is subject to the policy provisions and deductible in your homeowners or renters policy.
Can you buy broader coverage for your portable cell phone?
Yes, most companies offer a special, broader coverage for portable cell phones that can be added to a homeowners or renters policy. Call us for details.
What if you lease a portable cell phone?
If you lease a phone, check with the company you lease the phone from to see what (if any) coverage they may provide. You may then want to check with us to compare coverages and cost.
What is lease loan gap coverage?
If you are thinking about leasing or buying a car, you might consider adding Lease Loan Gap (LLG) Coverage to your auto policy. LLG Coverage is an extension of your auto’s physical damage coverage.
Ordinarily, your comprehensive and collision coverages provide you with up to the actual cash value (the vehicle’s cost minus depreciation) in the event of a total loss. When you sign a lease or loan agreement, you may be obligating yourself for an amount higher than the vehicle’s actual cash value.
At a cost of approximately 5% of your current comprehensive and collision premiums, LLG Coverage protects you from out-of-pocket expense when such a “gap” occurs. Although there are some limitations, LLG Coverage will pay up to your lease or loan amount if your car is stolen or if the cost of repairs is greater than its salvage value. Contact our office and we’d be happy to discuss this coverage further.
Note: Some car manufacturers may provide gap coverage as part of the lease agreement — check your particular contract for details.
Ohio’s Graduated Driver Licensing Law
A graduated driver licensing law became effective in Ohio on July 1, 1998. Designed to provide new drivers under age 18 with additional experience and skills when behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, this law:
- Allows 15 1/2 year-olds to obtain temporary instruction permits which are valid for one year.
- Requires a parent, guardian or licensed driving instructor to accompany the teen driver at all times.
- Requires the temporary permit to be held for a minimum of six months before a license may be obtained.
- Requires permit holders to have 50 hours of driving experience, including 10 at night, with a parent, guardian or licensed driving instructor.
- Also changes driver education requirements effective January 1, 1999. New drivers must have 24 hours of classroom and 8 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction.
The Ohio Insurance Institute supports this new graduated driver licensing system. Similar systems in other states have reduced the number of crashes involving teens. Call D.L. Barton Insurance Agency or stop by for your free copy of The Driving Challenge – A Guide to Ohio’s Graduated Driver Licensing Law published by the Ohio Department of Public Safety. Or for further information call the Department directly at 1-800-462-2269.
Do I Really Need Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
You’re driving your son to soccer practice when you are rear-ended at a stop sign. Dealing with the initial trauma of the accident and injuries and the subsequent disruption of a period of medical recovery and the inconvenience of car repairs is bad enough. What if the injuries are serious? And what if the at-fault driver has no insurance? Where do you turn?
This is where your Uninsured Motorists (UM) Coverage comes into play.
What is UM Coverage?
The Ohio Insurance Institute defines it as coverage that “pays the policyholder and passengers in his/her car for losses sustained by reason of bodily injury … caused by the owner or operator of an uninsured automobile or a hit and run driver.”
What is the difference between Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists Coverage?
Underinsured Motorists Coverage covers you and passengers in your car for “losses unpaid because sufficient bodily injury liability limits are not available from the policy of an at-fault driver.” In other words, Uninsured Motorists covers you if the wrongdoer has no insurance while Underinsured Motorists covers you in the event that the wrongdoer has some coverage but not enough.
Many people wonder if UM is really necessary. After all, isn’t liability insurance mandatory? How can there be any uninsured drivers out there? The problem is not everyone obeys the law. The Office of Public Safety for the State of Ohio recently quoted to us in a telephone interview that 7% of the drivers convicted of moving violations in a recent six-month period were found to have no insurance. There are upwards of 11 million automobiles registered in the State of Ohio. If even 5% of them are uninsured, that’s a frighteningly high number!
Others question the necessity of UM in light of the fact they have very comprehensive medical coverage. In the event of an accident with an uninsured driver, they assume their own medical coverage will fully protect them. es, medical insurance would likely cover most medical expenses. But it will not generally compensate the injured person for lost wages, disfigurement, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and changes in quality of life. For a person permanently disabled following an accident, even things such as modifications to make a home and a vehicle more accessible can cost tens of thousands of dollars. UM can compensate the victim in these broader areas.