Car insurance isn’t just the responsible thing to do. It’s the law. Get the coverage you need to protect your assets.
What Does Car Insurance Protect Against?
There are a number of protections you can select in your car insurance policy. They include the following.
Property Damage to Others
If you cause an accident or strike a stationary object, you will be responsible for reimbursing the owner for the damage you caused. Property damage liability insurance pays for those costs.
Injuries to Others
If you injure someone, you may need to pay their medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses as well as possible compensation for any disabilities or other long-term consequences. Your bodily injury liability insurance protects you for these expenses and also provides for your legal defense if you’re sued.
Accident Damage to Your Car
If your own car is damaged in an accident, collision coverage pays for the repairs. It can also pay what your car was worth so you can buy a new car if your original car was totaled.
Theft and Other Damage to Your Car
If your car is stolen, struck by hail, or has a tree limb fall on it, your insurance can cover those repair costs as well. To be covered, you need to add comprehensive coverage.
Damage Caused by a Driver Without Insurance
If another driver hits you and damages your car or injures you, you’d typically expect their insurance company to reimburse you. Unfortunately, many drivers choose to illegally drive without insurance or buy policies that are too low to cover normal accident expenses. If you add uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage to your policy, your own insurance company will take over.
If your car gets totaled, you still need to pay off your car loan. Due to depreciation, you may owe more than your car is worth, especially if you bought new or had a high-interest rate. Gap coverage pays off your car loan regardless of what your car is worth.
If you have a flat tire, your engine won’t start, or you get locked out, you may need help getting back on the road. Roadside assistance gives you this emergency help with most services having no additional charge above your insurance premium. For more expensive fixes that you would have to pay for, you often get the advantage of having prenegotiated, preferential rates instead of worrying about what a tow truck company from the phonebook will charge you.
What Auto Insurance Coverage Does Wisconsin Require?
Wisconsin requires the following auto insurance limits.
- $25,000 in bodily injury liability covering the injury or death of one person.
- $50,000 in total bodily injury liability for each accident.
- $10,000 in property damage liability coverage.
- Uninsured motorist coverage matching the bodily injury liability minimums.
The minimum uninsured motorist coverage does not cover underinsured drivers or property damage.
Are Minimum Auto Insurance Limits Enough?
Minimum auto insurance limits rarely provide enough coverage. They are well below the typical cost of an accident with injuries as well as the cost to repair or replace most cars. If a claim against you exceeds your insurance limits, you may be required to pay it from your savings, by selling assets, or by having your future wages garnished.
What Car Insurance Limits Should You Get?
Collision and comprehensive coverage is easy to start with because you don’t choose a limit. The cost is based on what car you have, and you’re covered for the full value of your car. The only thing you really need to think about is if you’re buying a new car if you want to get new car replacement coverage to give you the full value of a brand new car if you get into an accident while your car is still new.
For liability coverage, you generally want to protect your assets and future earnings. Even if you think you’re judgment-proof now, certain types of personal injury lawsuits can be hard to discharge in bankruptcy. That could leave you with a garnishment if your income improves with a new job. Talk to your insurance agent about the right limits for your financial needs.
What Deductible Should You Choose?
Higher deductibles generally result in lower premiums since smaller claims are more common, and the insurance company doesn’t have to pay the amount below your deductible. However, you need to make sure that you have enough savings to cover your deductible in case an accident leaves your car undrivable without repairs. You also need to consider what having to pay your deductible would do to your overall financial situation and how much risk you want to take.
What if You’ve Had an Accident?
If you’ve had an accident, there’s a good chance that your auto insurance rates could go up. Statistically, drivers who have been in one accident are more likely to be involved in another. Each insurance company varies in how far back they look at your accident record, how much an accident affects your rates, and how they weight certain types of accidents. If you’ve had an accident, shopping for a lower rate more frequently can help you get your insurance costs back down sooner.
Start Your Quote
Your independent insurance agent can help you find the right coverage at the right price. Sagen & Associates Insurance serves Brodhead and Shawano, WI. Contact us now to get started or request more information.