Auto Insurance

Car

Car accidents, theft, vandalism happen all over our country and mostly in major cities. PittsburghÕs high volume of traffic and pedestrians often leaves much room for accidental situations to occur. Automobiles by law need insurance to operate on the road. Specializing in automobile coverage is just one of our goals to ensure we give our clients the care they need. Please review our automotive insurance content and contact us with any questions you may have. We will more than happy to quote your business and find what suits you best!


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What is auto insurance?

Auto insurance protects you against financial loss if you have an accident. It is a contract between you and the insurance company. You agree to pay the premium and the insurance company agrees to pay your losses as defined in your policy.

Auto insurance provides property, liability and medical coverage:

  • Property coverage pays for damage to or theft of your car.
  • Liability coverage pays for your legal responsibility to others for bodily injury or property damage.
  • Medical coverage pays for the cost of treating injuries, rehabilitation and sometimes lost wages and funeral expenses.

An auto insurance policy is comprised of six different kinds of coverage. Most states require you to buy some, but not all, of these coverages. If you're financing a car, your lender may also have requirements.

Most auto policies are for six months to a year. Your insurance company will notify you by mail when it's time to renew the policy and to pay your premium.

What if I lease a car?

If you lease a car, you still need to buy your own auto insurance policy. The auto dealer or bank that is financing the car will require you to buy collision and comprehensive coverage. You'll need to buy these coverages in addition to the others that may be mandatory in your state, such as auto liability insurance.

  • Collision covers the damage to the car from an accident with another automobile or object.
  • Comprehensive covers a loss that is caused by something other than a collision with another car or object, such as a fire or theft or collision with a deer.

The leasing company may also require "gap" insurance. This refers to the fact that if you have an accident and your leased car is damaged beyond repair or "totaled," there's likely to be a difference between the amount that you still owe the auto dealer and the check you'll get from your insurance company. That's because the insurance company's check is based on the car's actual cash value which takes into account depreciation. The difference between the two amounts is known as the "gap."

On a leased car, the cost of gap insurance is generally rolled into the lease payments. You don't actually buy a gap policy. Generally, the auto dealer buys a master policy from an insurance company to cover all the cars it leases and charges you for a "gap waiver." This means that if your leased car is totaled, you won't have to pay the dealer the gap amount. Check with the auto dealer when leasing your car.

If you have an auto loan rather than a lease, you may want to buy gap insurance to protect yourself from having to come up with the gap amount if your car is totaled before you've finished paying for it. Ask your insurance agent about gap insurance or search the Internet. Gap insurance may not be available in some states.

How much coverage do I need?

Almost every state requires you to buy a minimum amount of liability coverage. Chances are that you will need more liability insurance than the state requires because accidents cost more than the minimum limits. If you're found legally responsible for bills that are more than your insurance covers, you will have to pay the difference out of your own pocket. These costs could wipe you out!

You may want to talk to your agent or company representative about purchasing higher liability limits to reflect your personal needs. You may also consider purchasing an umbrella or excess liability policy. These policies pay when your underlying coverages are exhausted. Typically, these policies cost between $200 and $300 per year for a million dollars in coverage. If you have your homeowners and auto insurance with the same company, check out the cost of coverage with this company first. If you have coverage with different companies, it may be easier to buy it from your auto insurance company.

In addition to liability coverage, consider buying collision and comprehensive coverage. You don't decide how much to buy. Your coverage reflects the market value of your car and the cost of repairing it.

Decide on a deductible-the amount of money you pay on a claim before the insurance company reimburses you. Typically, deductibles are $500 or $1,000; the higher your deductible, the lower your premium.

How do I insure my teenage driver?

As soon as your teenager begins to drive, notify your insurance agent that there will be an additional driver in the house. Since teenagers are inexperienced drivers, they tend to get into a lot of accidents. This will, unfortunately, be reflected in higher insurance rates. If you have a daughter, you can expect your insurance to go up as much as 50 percent. A son will increase your car insurance by as much as 100 percent. Consider also raising liability limits or buying an umbrella liability policy for additional protection.

How to keep the increased cost to a minimum

  • 1. Insure your son or daughter on your own policy.
    It is generally cheaper to add your teenagers to your insurance policy than for them to purchase their own. If they are going to be driving their own car, insure it with your company so that you can get a multi-policy discount.
  • 2. Let your insurer know if your teenager is going away to school.
    If your your kids are living away at school-at least 100 miles from home-you will get a discount for the time they are not around to drive the car. This, of course, assumes that they leave the car at home!
  • 3. Encourage your teen to get good grades and to take a driver training course.
    Most companies will give discounts for getting at least a "B" average in school and for taking recognized driving courses.
  • 4. Pick a safe car.
    The type of car a young person drives can dramatically affect the price of insurance. You and your teenager should choose a car that is easy to drive and would offer protection in the event of a crash. You should avoid small cars and those with high performance engines that might encourage speed and drive recklessly.
  • 5. Talk to them about safe driving.
    Driving safely will not only keep your son or daughter alive and healthy, it will also save money. As your teenager gets older, insurance rates will drop-providing he or she has a good driving record.
  • 6. Be a good role model.
    New drivers learn by example, so if you drive recklessly, your teenage driver may copy you. Always wear your seatbelt and never drink and drive.

For more information visit: www.iii.org