Susan was driving home from Thanksgiving dinner at her family cottage when suddenly she hit a deer. Thankfully she was okay, but her car was destroyed. She called the police to make an accident report, then called her insurance worried that this might not be fully covered. Her insurance representative reassured her, she has comprehensive insurance, so the damage would be covered under her policy.

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.

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Please note: The above is meant as general information to help you understand the different aspects of insurance. This information is not an insurance policy, does not refer to any specific insurance policy, and does not modify any provisions, limitations, or exclusions expressly stated in any insurance policy. Descriptions of all coverages and other features on this page are necessarily brief; in order to fully understand the coverages and other features of a specific insurance policy, we encourage you to read the applicable policy and/or speak to an insurance representative. Coverages and other features vary between insurers, vary by state, and are not available in all states. Whether an accident or other loss is covered is subject to the terms and conditions of the actual insurance policy or policies involved in the claim. References to average or typical premiums, amounts of losses, deductibles, costs of coverages/repair, etc., are illustrative and may not apply to your situation. We are not responsible for the content of any third-party sites linked from this page.

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Look at cheap car insurance companies and see if they can provide free perks like our 24-hour claims service, an 800 number with a real person at the other end, our On Your Side Review (a free consultation to see if you have the insurance you need and the discounts you deserve) and Nationwide®AutoWatch®, which lets you monitor your covered auto repair online.

If you live in an area prone to car theft and vandalism, you'll probably sleep easier with comprehensive coverage at your side. Though car theft numbers have steadily decreased over the last several years in the U.S. — actually dipping below 700,000 reported cases in 2013 for the first time since 1967, and remaining at those levels the years following — the odds are still less than encouraging.
There are some characteristics of a third-party car accident claim that are universal. First and foremost, a third-party claim does not involve a contractual obligation between the injured party and the insurance company. This sounds more complicated than it really is. Simply put, a third-party claim is the legal name for making a claim on another’s auto insurance policy. Exactly how and when such claims can be made vary based upon the presence (or lack thereof) of no-fault laws, but the overriding principle remains constant.

A third-party claim of this type can be very simple or extremely complex depending upon the facts and injuries of a particular accident. If fault is not in question, insurance adjusters will normally attempt to resolve third-party claims quickly and with a minimal expenditure of time. Normally a few brief interviews, a cursory review of medical records or repair records and a thorough understanding of any law enforcement reports will result in an offer of settlement. However, in cases where fault is disputed, or where injuries are significant, the road to recovery can get bumpy in a hurry.
Detail how the accident occurred, the injuries or damages you’ve sustained and (if applicable) the dollar amount you are claiming. Gather relevant records related to the car accident, be they medical bills, repair estimates, or police reports. Give the insurance adjuster all the reasons in the world to pay out on your claim. You may wish to retain an attorney to assist you with making the claim if you are uncomfortable doing it yourself, or if things get particularly contentious.
The legal liability of the insured person is covered under the third-party insurance policy in the case of disability or demise of the third party, and any damage or loss to the property of the third party. The third-party liability policy takes care of the financial and legal burden in such circumstances. Despite the fact that the direct beneficiary is neither the insurance company nor the insurer, but a third party, this is the most crucial benefit that a third party insurance secures for the owner or the driver of the insured vehicle.
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To calculate the added cost in purchasing comprehensive and/or collision coverage we looked at annual insurance quotes for a 30 year old male from New York across four different insurance companies, and the ten best-selling vehicles in the US. We look at the range of rates you could pay from basic liability to policy plans with comprehensive and collision coverage. Collision typically costs more than comprehensive, although some companies require you to carry both rather than just one. Comparing quotes across at least three companies can get you lower car insurance rates.
If you have paid off your car, comprehensive coverage is optional. It may be a good idea to find out the Kelley Blue Book value of your vehicle. Would you be able to pay that amount to repair or replace your vehicle if it were stolen or damaged in an accident? If you can't afford to pay much out of pocket, then buying optional coverages, like comprehensive coverage and collision coverage, may be a smart investment.
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