Oh No, It Turns Out Your Not Covered
While car insurance is supposed to cover you from unexpected events and serve as a safety net, sometimes it can leave you hanging. You may have less coverage then you think due to limitations of coverage and exclusions that you overlooked in the fine print. There can be a wide variance in what exactly is covered in policies so it is a good idea to fully understand your policy.
Experts suggest that you compare not only insurance quotes but the details of the policy as well. Getting a full copy of your policy and reading it, no matter how boring it is, can ensure you will be covered when the unexpected happens.
Following are just a few examples where coverage can slip and leave you exposed.
Using a Car For Business
The majority of insurers will deny a claim if the vehicle was being used for a business purpose. This can include things like pizza or newspaper delivery. If you are running a small business out of your home or slinging pizzas on the weekend for extra money, you are driving without coverage. This means you will be fully exposed if you get in an accident while driving for business.
If you are considering a second job or starting a small business that will take you out on the road, look into a commercial policy. This will ensure that you are fully covered.
In some states, if you loan your car out to a non-listed driver your liability coverage may be “step-downed” to state minimums which are almost never enough coverage if a serious accident occurs. This can leave you on the hook for a huge claim if you let your neighbor borrow your car and they get in a crash. Even family members that are not listed on your policy as a covered driver could trigger the step down in coverage.
While state minimums vary, they are usually much lower than the average person carries and will not be sufficient in the event of a serious accident. Read your policy and call your agent if you are unsure if it includes step down liability limits, especially if you loan your car out often or have a relative coming to visit.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage Limitations
Some policies limit the amount they will pay out on your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. The amount that is paid from the at-fault driver’s policy will be deducted from the amount you are allowed to claim.
As an example, if you sustained serious injuries and your medical bills came in at $100,000 and the driver that hit you was carrying $50,000 in liability coverage. If you have $50,000 in underinsured motorist coverage your insurer will deduct the amount paid out by the at-fault drivers coverage meaning that they will pay you nothing, leaving you on the hook for $50,000 in medical bills.
This can be a huge problem and it is a common component of insurance policies so review the small print or question your agent if you are unclear on your coverage.
After Market Parts
While lowering your ride and adding performance parts might make you the envy of your friends, it could end up voiding your policy. Many policies have performance and add-on part exclusions which means your claim can be denied if it is determined that the car was extremely modified or the modifications had anything to do with crash. In addition to affecting your insurance coverage, these add-ons can void your warranty. Check your policy before you start modifying your ride.
There are many things that can leave you uninsured when you least expect it. Do your homework and read your policy in full. If you have any questions or don’t understand portions of it, call your agent.