Are You Covered by Insurance?

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Peace of mind – it’s what we seek as we get on with our lives. Perhaps it is the litigious nature of global society, the world coming to an end in 2012 or sophisticated marketing that has us geared towards derisking or hedging every aspect of life. We set aside income for a retirement nest egg, purchase trip insurance when we go on an all-inclusive vacation to a resort where one need not worry about watching their wallet, and among a whole host of other things, also carry insurance on our car. Auto insurance, it’s that thing which calms you down as you realize applying opposite lock does not quite seem to be working OR the first thing that calms you after you’ve walked out to a car that has been the object of theft or vandalism. Yet not many actually know the full extent of their insurance coverage until an untoward event forces them to learn possibly the hard way when it is discovered that insurance will not cover the damage to your S2000.

There are few things more financially damaging than realizing that insurance does not cover your situation and finding yourself owing several thousands to the bank for an automobile that isn’t quite “mobile.” There are members who have participated (and continue to participate) in High Performance Driving Events (HPDEs) knowingly or under the mistaken assumption that insurance will cover them considering HPDEs are learning events. The racing surface has more grip than your typical road surface, not to forget the presence of flaggers, strict rules of passing and the presence of an instructor all of which surely make HPDEs statistically safer than driving on public roads (if only insurance companies ran the numbers) with its share of drunks and dead skunks. But on-track accidents do happen and are denied by insurance on the grounds that the policyholder was driving the car on a racing surface which does not constitute a public road per the language in the policy fine print. So now you not only have to pay to fix your car, but you also owe the race track money for the property damage. Do yourself a favor and research track day insurance. Talk to your insurance provider and if they don’t cover you, there are companies out there that will cover a track outing and any possible damage that could result from it.

Sadder still are cases where claims arising from theft and vandalism are denied because “full coverage” does not always include comprehensive coverage. Per our member DirtyBird, “The average insurance consumer may well feel like they need to enroll in a university program in order to understand that the term FULL COVERAGE is a fallacy. Sales agents use it as a convenient “I got your back” assurance to build confidence. Consumers use it so they don’t have to invest their time in study of a boring insurance policy contract. Both are to blame for continuing its use. It would be a folly to attempt a comprehensive study/explanation of coverages here as fifty different states and multitude companies bring many variations in coverage options and requirements. That being said, three separate coverages contribute to continued use of the term FULL COVERAGE due to being required by someone other than yourself. Public Liability – most states have minimum coverage laws. Comprehensive and Collision – typically required if you have bank note. So the next time you are tempted to ask for FULL COVERAGE, just know what are you asking for.”

Our member JulieU also recommends that you get an idea of what the required coverage in your state involves. A good place to start would be at the NAIC’s website where you can simply click on your state and be redirected to your specific state’s regulatory agency. While insurance providers may provide us with the minimum required, it is always best to evaluate your policy to ensure that you are covered from all angles.

Weather conditions are not quite salubrious (this being winter) and the risk of an incident occurring are multiplied by inclement road conditions. The dangers of theft and vandalism are omnipresent even though your garage-mahal may have security rivaling Fort Knox. Regardless of danger, we keep driving and enjoying our cars to the hilt secure in the knowledge that we have insurance as a backup. The question though is how sure are you of your backup mechanism? When was the last time you read your insurance policy, or did you just skip that part?

Stay informed and drive safe dear friends!

Tip of the hat to JulieU, DirtyBird, 1FastS2k and Mocky

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