Insurance companies protect their profits by charging different people different rates for their premiums, based on the risk they represent – that is, how likely they are to get in an accident. Drivers in high-risk groups, which include inexperienced drivers and drivers with lots of tickets or previous crashes, will pay more for car insurance because they’re more likely to make a claim. The same is true for people who live in areas where their cars are more at risk to things like theft or natural disasters. People with expensive or hard-to-fix cars will also pay more because they’re likely to make more-expensive claims.
In some cases, the damage to a vehicle is so severe that it’s not economical or safe to attempt to repair it. If the insurer feels this is the situation, your vehicle will be declared a write-off and you will receive the amount covered or the agreed value. If you have comprehensive insurance, some policies allow for the replacement of your car with a new vehicle and coverage of on-road costs, if your original vehicle was declared a write-off after being stolen or damaged within the first two years of its first registration.
Be aware of certain terminology, and ask that your insurance company explain things in a careful and concise manner to avoid confusion. For instance, normal cars are insured for Actual Cash Value - the "book" value that depreciates with age. Classic cars might be insured for their Stated Value or Agreed Value. In those cases, you would state a value for your car and your car insurance company would agree to pay up to that amount.
Insurance terms, definitions and explanations are intended for informational purposes only and do not in any way replace or modify the definitions and information contained in individual insurance contracts, policies or declaration pages, which control coverage determinations. Such terms may vary by state, and exclusions may apply. Discounts may not be applied to all policy coverages.
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