Shopping for auto insurance can be tricky, and despite what you may see on TV and social media, there is no one size fits all plan. The key to finding the right auto insurance for a reasonable price is to ask MANY questions. That is why it is wise to use an independent agent. With decades of combined experience in the industry, the Personal Lines team at Elliott, Powell Baden, and Baker Insurance is dedicated to being a trusted advisor and advocate for their customers. Here they answer some of the most frequently asked customer questions in regard to buying car insurance.
Q: What does “full coverage” really cover?
A: The term “full coverage” is antiquated and misleading; most insurance agents and brokers no longer use it. Because insurance has evolved to add additional ala carte coverages that suit every individual’s different needs, “full coverage” means something different for everyone. It used to mean a person had liability and physical damage coverage(comprehensive and collision) for their car. Now with the additions of Uninsured motorists, Person Injury Protection, Rental, Roadside, and New Car Replacement, it is best to seak with your insurance agent to find the right additions to your policy and what the law requires. –Kim Hawkins, Personal Lines Manager
Q: How much Auto Liability Coverage do I need?
A: The State of Oregon says you must carry a MINIMUM of 25/50/20. That’s $25,000 per person for bodily injury in an accident, a maximum paid of $50,000 in bodily injury for all involved in the accident, with Property Damage Liability at $20,000. This number hasn’t changed in over 30 years while prices, technology, and medical costs continue to rise. Choosing a liability limit needs to be a conversation with your agent, but the best rule of thumb is to choose a liability limit for what MAY happen. .-Kim Hawkins, Personal Lines Manager
Q: Does my auto insurance cover me if I rent a car?
A: If a customer rents a car in the U.S. or Canada, their auto insurance will extend the same coverage to the rental vehicle. That said, we strongly encourage insureds to purchase the insurance offered by the rental agency. The rental agency can charge for diminished value as well as their loss of rental income while their vehicle is in the shop being repaired. A personal auto policy does not cover those charges. Furthermore, if a person is in an accident they can simply hand the keys back to the rental car agency and be on their way! We ALWAYS advise insureds to purchase rental car coverage if they travel outside the U.S., Canada, and it’s territories. -April Preston- Personal Lines Account Manager
Q. When I loan my car to someone, does my insurance cover it or theirs?
A. Your auto insurance policy is responsible for your car when someone else driving it is involved in an accident. A common myth is that if a friend borrowing your car has insurance, their policy covers any damage done to your car. That’s not the case.If a friend borrows your car and causes an accident, your insurance policy pays for any at-fault damages. A rule of thumb to remember in this situation is “car insurance follows the car, not the driver.” It’s still a good idea to ensure whoever drives your car has their own insurance policy, though. Their coverage can help pay for damage caused by an at-fault accident, in certain circumstances, for example, when your policy limits have been exhausted.-Denice Nelson, Personal Lines Account Manager
Q: I wasn’t my fault, so why did my rates increase?
A: I advise that any claims CAN impact your rates. While some carriers do not surcharge for non-fault auto claims or ONLY charge for claims over a certain threshold of damages paid, other carriers charge for all claims. Often times Not At Fault (NAF) claims will impact your ‘experience’ rating with the carrier, so they may not apply a specific surcharge (like they do if you get a violation/ticket) and instead, their rating factors may change the ‘tier’ you are in which alters the rates/pricing. Alternately a carrier may not surcharge you for the accident, but you will lose discounts, such as claims-free or accident-free which can then ,cause your rates to ‘increase’ due to the loss of valuable discounts. –Breanna Horton, Personal Lines Account Manager
If you have questions, the team at EPB&B has the answers. Contact us and we will help find the right auto insurance to fit your needs.