As required by law, drivers must carry at least a minimal amount of bodily injury liability and property damage liability coverage. A few states do not require both or have other limitations. Each state sets its minimum requirement for each type of coverage. Even in “no-fault” states, liability coverage is all but essential. No-fault laws were established to reduce or eliminate ordinary injury lawsuits affixed with low-dollar price tags and an overwhelming number of claims for pain and suffering. Still, no-fault laws do not protect the insured from million-dollar injury lawsuits stemming from seriously injured third parties. Both types of third-party insurance are important, specifically for individuals, such as homeowners, with substantial assets to protect. The more money and assets an insured has, the higher the limit should be for each type of liability coverage.
Pretty much all drivers are subject to the risks mentioned above, so the short answer to the question is, "Almost everybody." Take animal collisions, for example. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there are more than 1.5 million deer-vehicle collisions every year, resulting in over $1 billion in vehicle damage — and that's just deer-vehicle collisions.
While there are a couple of benefits of collision insurance, the main one is that you can file a claim and receive reimbursement regardless of who was at fault. Collision claims usually get processed faster than property damage claims because the insurance company does not have to spend time investigating who was at-fault. Another benefit is that you only deal with your own insurance company, rather than another insurer with less incentive to pay for your claim. Collision insurance can also be used toward your rental car in most cases, which can spare you from having to buy rental car insurance.
Bodily injury coverage is written with two limits: the first applies to each person; the second is related to each accident. As an example, minimum recommended coverage levels are usually $100,000/$300,000, which translates to policy limits of $100,000 per person in an accident and $300,000 total per incident. Required coverage levels vary by state, but can be as low as $10,000/$20,000, which is hardly sufficient for a serious accident.
Making a claim with “the other driver’s” insurance company? That’s a third-party claim. Driving a company car and sustain an injury? You’re making a third-party claim there, too. Injured while driving your own car in the course of your job? A third-party claim with your employer’s insurance company would be your mechanism for recovery of medical and repair costs. Any claim made to an insurance company other than your own is considered a third-party claim.
AAMI Life Insurance, AAMI Income Protection and Accidental Injury Insurance are issued by Asteron Life & Superannuation Limited ABN 87 073 979 530, AFSL 229880 (Asteron) other than the Redundancy Benefit which is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807, AFSL 230859 (AAI) trading as AAMI which is part of the Suncorp Group. Asteron is part of the TAL Dai-ichi Life Australia Pty Limited ABN 97 150 070 483 group of companies (TAL). Asteron is authorised to use the AAMI brand. The different entities of TAL and Suncorp are not responsible for, or liable in respect of, products and services provided by the other. AAI trading as AAMI does not provide any financial product advice in relation to AAMI Life Insurance, Accidental Injury and Income Protection (except in relation to the Redundancy Benefit) (Life Products). Any advice on this page in connection with the Life Products is general in nature and is provided by Platform Ventures Pty Ltd ABN 35 626 745 177 AFS Representative Number 001266101 (PV). PV is part of the Suncorp Group and an authorised representative of TAL Direct Pty Limited ABN 39 084 666 017, AFSL 243260 (TAL Direct).
We found Progressive was the most affordable car insurance rates after a recent accident compared to the many auto insurance companies we surveyed. From the $1,241 average we state above, rates increased by 29% after an at-fault accident. While that may still seem high, it was the smallest rate increase we saw of any company including Erie, State Farm, GEICO and American Family.
Let's use the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy as an example to illustrate the differences between collision and comprehensive. Within that storm, let's consider two events that might have happened: 1) a heavy tree branch fell on your car, or 2) you swerved to avoid a falling tree branch and wound up crashing into a tree. In the first event, you had no control over when or why a tree branch would fall on your car. This kind of accident would get reimbursed under your comprehensive policy. In the second situation, you were driving the car and ultimately swerved into the tree, which makes it a collision, and collision insurance therefore pays for the damages. Events like the hypothetical ones stated above are why it's important to differentiate between the two types of coverage.
When you purchase comprehensive coverage, you will select a set deductible, which is the amount you pay out of pocket toward a covered claim. Let's say you choose a $500 deductible, and your car is later damaged by hail in a covered claim. If it costs $1,500 to repair your car, you would pay your $500 deductible, and your insurance would pay the remaining $1,000.