The leaves are turning. The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting cooler. It’s almost time to take the boat out of the water and wax the skis. Is your insurance prepared for the annual change of lifestyle that’s about to take place? This post covers the types of car insurance you need in order to make sure you’re prepared for winter driving.
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Types of Car Insurance that Prepares you for Winter Driving
1. You get in a wreck while you’re towing your boat to winter storage.
Boats require separate insurance coverage. This is not part of your car policy. At most, a car policy will provide liability coverage for the trailer, but not comprehensive and collision coverage. Instead, you’ll need to purchase boat insurance. Some boat policies also include roadside assistance, which may cover both your trailer and the car you use to tow your trailer and boat.
2. You’re on a road trip for fall leaf peeping and you run out of gas or your car breaks down.
Roadside assistance coverage will get you out of a bind. With many policies you can get gas delivered to your car, have your engine jump-started or have your car towed to a repair shop at no extra charge. Premium programs offer trip interruption coverage, paying for your hotels, alternate transportation and meals if your breakdown leaves you stranded far from home.
3. Your skis fly off the roof of your car and hit another vehicle.
All states but New Hampshire and Virginia require you to carry liability insurance on your vehicle. If you don’t, you’ll be fined and will be responsible to pay for the damage. However, with liability insurance, that should cover the damage to the other vehicle because the skis were originally attached to your car.
4. Your windshield gets chipped when a rock flies up from the road while on a ski trip.
A chipped windshield is covered under the comprehensive part of your insurance. But if it’s just a chip, rather than a major break, you also can get a break. If you have comprehensive coverage and your windshield can be repaired rather than replaced, in many cases you won’t have to pay a deductible for the repair.
5. You’re on a road trip and your tire blows, damaging your car.
This is another case where it pays to carry comprehensive coverage. That’s the type of insurance you need to cover the damage done to your vehicle by a blown tire, or else you’ll be paying the costs on your own. If your car is still drivable and you’ve got optional roadside assistance coverage, your insurer will dispatch someone to put the spare on your car. Otherwise they’ll tow your car to a location where it can be repaired.
6. You slide on icy roads and broadside another car.
Winter driving can get treacherous when it gets icy. Your liability insurance covers the cost of the damage to other vehicles, property or people. However, liability insurance is capped. Your insurance company will never pay more than the cap (maximum) amount. For example, if your policy has numbers like:
- 25/50/10 – this means they will pay a maximum of
- 25K toward the injuries of one injured person
- 50K toward in injuries of all injured people, total
- 10K in property damage
Any amounts in addition to this will be your responsibility. Be aware that many companies that advertising “cheap insurance” are able to sell cheap insurance by limiting the amount of coverage they provide.
6. Another car slides on icy roads and hits you.
The other drivers liability insurance covers the cost of the damage to your vehicle, property or passengers. Again, liability insurance is capped. The other drivers insurance company will never pay more than the cap (maximum) amount. If the amounts are greater than the insurance coverage they carry, they are personally responsible for the remainder. However, no one wants to pay accident costs out of their pocket. If they carry a minimum insurance amount, they probably don’t have any money to cover the costs with. Therefore, realistically, this is your problem.
This is why you need uninsured motorist (the driver with no coverage) or underinsured motorist (the driver with not enough coverage) insurance. Check out these insurance types to make sure you don’t have to pay when someone else causes the accident.
The companies selling “cheap insurance” are exacerbating this problem. Make sure you’re adequately protected.
7. There’s no winter driving for your summer car. How to save money.
If you’re not doing any winter driving with your summer car, here’s how to save some money. Many companies (not all) will allow you to reduce the insurance coverage on stored vehicles in order to save money. Companies that will allow this usually do this as follows. You maintain comprehensive insurance, that way it is not an uninsured vehicle for loan, lease or registration purposes. Since the vehicle is not being driven, you then cancel/suspend liability and collision insurance. This can save a significant amount of money. However, be sure not to driver the vehicle. You’re uninsured.
Companies that allow this change often only allow this temporary suspension of coverage once per policy period. For example, if you have a twelve month policy, this can only be done once in the twelve months.
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