With a private passenger automobile policy, there are two important components to understand: physical damage to your vehicle, and liability.
Physical damage to your own vehicle could fall under collision or comprehensive coverage depending on the type of damage that may have occurred.
Collision coverage is damage to your vehicle resulting from a collision. This can involve a stationary object such as a pothole or light post. It also includes damage to your own car should you hit another vehicle. Collision coverage will also provide protection for your automobile if it is parked on the street and hit by a driver who flees the scene. In these cases, damage to your own vehicle would fall under collision coverage – subject to your own policy’s deductible. In most cases, the deductible is $500 or $1,000.
Comprehensive coverage is another area that falls under physical damage on an automobile policy. In general, this damage includes vandalism, hail, fire, theft, etc. For the most part, it would include any resulting damage just short of normal wear and tear (excluded in all policies) and/or collision damage. As is the case with collision, in most instances the deductible is also $500 or $1,000.
The liability section of your policy covers your financial responsibility for injuring other people or other people’s property (for instance, someone else’s car). Similar to physical damage coverage, liability protection includes two key components, which are bodily injury and property damage.
Bodily injury liability will protect you and any household resident relatives should you injure another person due to an accident. This may involve someone in your vehicle, another vehicle or perhaps a pedestrian. Most of our policyholders have sufficient coverage to dovetail with a separate excess liability policy (umbrella policy, see umbrella section for more information). This will avoid a gap in coverage should a major liability suit or claim arise.
Property damage liability will cover other people’s property resulting from an auto accident. The most common example is damage to another individual’s vehicle. In addition, coverage may extend to other types of property such as a claimant’s mailbox, home or building.
Lastly, an auto policy has ancillary coverages such as car rental reimbursement, medical payments (optional in most states), emergency road service to go along with some state specific coverages.
Consult with one of North Shore Risk Management’s professionals to make sure you have the proper coverage.