Car Insurance Language: Why are Policy Terms So Confusing?

Car owners in Arizona are expected to have proper car insurance.

According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, the law requires that minimum levels of liability insurance coverage be carried for every motor vehicle operated on Arizona roadways. This means bodily injury coverage of no less than $15,000 per person and $30,000 for two or more people. You must also carry property-damage liability of at least $10,000. These requirements extend to golf carts, motorcycles and mopeds as well.

Failure to carry proper insurance can result in fines and suspension of your driver’s license and vehicle registration.

You don’t need to be in an accident for this to happen either. Anytime you are pulled over by a law enforcement officer you will be asked to show your driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance. If you cannot provide current information, you could find yourself in an uncomfortable situation. Keeping current with your car insurance is also the wise thing to do for your own protection in the event of a collision.

What You Need to Know About Car Insurance

It is mandatory to have car insurance if you are going to operate a motor vehicle on the roadways, but you may be confused as to what type of insurance will best fit your particular situation. It’s best to contact your insurance provider to be certain you have full coverage on your vehicle, regardless of the value.

Insurance Terms

The jargon used in the insurance industry can be confusing for the average person. Understanding the language used in your policy is important to prevent unwelcome surprises if and when you actually need to process a claim. It is essential to understand these terms when purchasing car insurance, however it becomes critical in a situation where an accident has occurred. It is wisest to become familiar with the terminology and meanings before you need to make a claim.

  • Liability Coverage – This is the minimal amount of insurance coverage allowed by law. Liability is your protection when you are the cause of an accident. If a person is injured due to an accident for which you are at fault, your insurance will cover up to a certain amount for their medical costs. The property-damage portion covers damage to property caused by your vehicle. Many people driving older vehicles will opt for this type of coverage because it is the least expensive. However, the drawback is that it only pays the other person. If you are at fault and you have liability coverage, you and your vehicle are not covered.
  • Collision Coverage – This type of coverage is used in conjunction with comprehensive and liability insurance. Collision coverage pays for damages incurred by your vehicle as a result of the accident. Collision coverage is necessary when purchasing comprehensive insurance because it is not automatically part of your insurance policy.
  • Comprehensive Coverage – When a person purchases a new vehicle, most often this is the type of insurance they get. Comprehensive insurance covers many types of damage that can happen to your vehicle. However, it is important to note that even though it is called comprehensive coverage, it may not cover damage to your car in the event of a vehicular accident. If vandals break into your car, flooding damages the car or the car is in a fire, if you hit a deer and take out the fender- these types of incidents are covered under comprehensive insurance. You will still need collision coverage to protect yourself in the event of a car accident.
  • Premiums – When you buy car insurance you are actually exchanging a certain amount of money for monetary protection should you be involved in an accident while driving your car. The amount you pay is called the premium. This amount depends on many variables. Age, driving record, make and model of car, age of vehicle, number of past driving violations, and other factors are all taken into consideration. The premium you pay can be anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands. Premiums also vary from company to company.
  • Deductible – In many cases, when an insurance claim is filed, you are expected to pay a certain amount out-of-pocket before the insurance company makes a payout to cover the damages of the accident. If you do not make a claim, you don’t have to pay the deductible. In general, the deductible is usually around $250 to $500. Higher deductibles (e.g. $1,000) will lower the cost of the monthly premium. Many people choose the option of the higher deductible in order to save money. The downside to that is the inconvenience of needing to come up with a large amount of money in the event of an accident.
    Knowing what you are paying for, what type of coverage you have, what’s protected and what’s not are things of which you want to be aware of before you really need to know. Insurance terminology can be boring and confusing, but reading through your policy is still a good idea.

If you are involved in an accident and need help navigating through filing an insurance claim, the professionals at Matthew Lopez Law, PLLC will be happy to help you. Contact us for conscientious, considerate assistance in resolving your insurance claim.

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