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Make Sure You Know the Auto Insurance Laws in Your State

Car insurance laws vary from state to state, but all states have requirements that include some type of car insurance or proof of financial responsibility. Even though it may seem like an extra cost, car insurance protects you, your family and your vehicle if you’re in an accident or if your vehicle is damaged.

Several factors, including your driving record and insurance history, affect the type of insurance policy available to you. If you have a clean driving record and have been insured in the past, you’ll most likely qualify for standard auto insurance coverage. If you’ve had a lapse in insurance coverage or a less-than-perfect driving record, you can generally still qualify for auto insurance. This type of insurance is known as nonstandard auto insurance.

State insurance laws may require some level of these auto coverages

Bodily injury liability

Liability Insurance applies to injuries that you, the designated driver or policyholder, cause to someone else. You and family members listed on the policy may also be covered when driving someone else’s car with their permission.

Medical payments or personal injury protection (PIP)

State insurance laws typically require medical coverage that pays for the treatment of injuries to the driver and passengers of the policyholder’s car. PIP may cover medical payments, lost wages, the cost of replacing services normally performed by someone injured in an auto accident and funeral costs.

Property damage liability

This auto insurance coverage pays for damage you (or someone driving the car with your permission) may cause to someone else’s property. In addition to vehicle damage, it can include damage to lamp posts, telephone poles, fences, buildings or other structures your car hits.

Collision coverage

You may be covered by collision insurance in the event that your car is damaged by a collision with another vehicle or object, or in the event the vehicle flips over. Collision insurance may also cover damage caused by potholes.

Comprehensive coverage

A comprehensive insurance policy may reimburse you for loss due to theft or damage caused by something other than a collision, such as fire, falling objects, earthquakes, windstorms, hail, floods, vandalism or contact with animals.

States do not require that you purchase collision or comprehensive coverage; however, if you have a car loan, your lender may insist you carry it until your loan is paid off.

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage

This coverage may reimburse you, a member of your family or a designated driver for damages incurred if one of you is hit by an uninsured or hit-and-run driver.

Underinsured motorist coverage comes into play when an at-fault driver doesn’t have enough insurance to pay for your total loss. This coverage may also protect you if you’re hit as a pedestrian.

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