Auto Insurance

Auto Insurance

Auto or car insurance coverage has two parts. The first is the liability section of the policy. It covers your financial responsibility for injuring others. Some liability coverage is required by most states.

The second part of auto insurance covers the car itself: comprehensive coverage reimburses losses from fire, theft or other perils; collision coverage pays to repair losses caused by an accident. Often this coverage is mandated by leasing companies or banks. There are also ancillary medical, car rental and other coverages which vary by state.

Utilizing high deductibles on the physical damage coverages can help reduce premiums. If you carry umbrella insurance, you must be sure that you carry the required amount of basic liability insurance to avoid a gap in coverage for a serious accident.

 


 

Auto Insurance FAQs

What is Auto Insurance?

Auto insurance is a contract between you and the insurance company. You agree to pay the premium and the insurance company agrees to pay your losses, whether you’ve caused those losses to others or yourself.

Can I get a discount on my Auto Insurance?

Johnston & Associates Insurance can further reduce your auto insurance premium by offering numerous discounts:

  • Safe Driver
  • Multi-Car
  • Age 55 or Over
  • Passive Restraints
  • Anti-Theft Devices
  • Anti-Lock Brakes
  • Multi-Policy
  • Longevity
  • Reduced Usage
  • Payment Plan
  • Life Multi-Policy
  • Youthful Driver
  • Auto Accident Prevention Course
  • College Student
  • Driver Training
  • Advance Quote Discount
  • Good Student
  • Head of Household – (under age 24)

What is covered by a basic Auto Insurance policy?

Auto Insurance provides the following coverage. Each coverage is priced separately.

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

It’s very important to have enough liability insurance, because if you are involved in a serious accident, you may be sued for a large sum of money. Definitely consider buying more than the Tennessee state-required minimum to protect assets such as your home and savings.

Medical Payments or Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
No fault, no questions asked minor medical insurance payable to anyone injured in your car including yourself. This coverage pays for the treatment of injuries to the driver and passengers of the policyholder’s car. At its broadest, PIP can cover medical payments, lost wages and the cost of replacing services normally performed by someone injured in an auto accident. It may also cover funeral costs.

Property Damage Liability
This coverage pays for damage you (or someone driving the car with your permission) may cause to someone else’s property. Usually, this means damage to someone else’s car, but it also includes damage to lamp posts, telephone poles, fences, buildings or other structures your car hit.

Collision
This coverage pays for damage to your car resulting from a collision with another car, object or as a result of flipping over. It also covers damage caused by potholes. Collision coverage is generally sold with a deductible of $250 to $1,000—the higher your deductible, the lower your premium. Even if you are at fault for the accident, your collision coverage will reimburse you for the costs of repairing your car, minus the deductible. If you’re not at fault, your insurance company may try to recover the amount they paid you from the other driver’s insurance company. If they are successful, you’ll also be reimbursed for the deductible.

Comprehensive
This coverage reimburses you for loss due to theft or damage caused by something other than a collision with another car or object, such as fire, vandalism, falling objects, missiles, explosion, earthquake, windstorm, hail, flood, vandalism, riot, or contact with animals such as birds or deer.
Comprehensive insurance is usually sold with a $100 to $300 deductible, though you may want to opt for a higher deductible as a way of lowering your premium.

Comprehensive insurance will also reimburse you if your windshield is cracked or shattered. Some companies offer glass coverage with or without a deductible.

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
This coverage will reimburse you, a member of your family, or a designated driver 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 has insufficient insurance to pay for your total loss. This coverage will also protect you if you are hit as a pedestrian.

Why do I need Auto Insurance?

It’s really about protecting yourself from financial disaster.

First of all, in the state of Tennessee, it’s the law. If you’re caught without auto insurance, you will face fines. You are legally responsible for the damages that you cause to others, whether you have insurance or not. Your minimum legal requirement is to have liability insurance. The Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA) 55-12-102(12) references minimum limits of liability for the state of Tennessee which currently are:

  • $25,000 for one injury or death
  • $50,000 for all injuries or deaths
  • $15,000 for property damage for one accident

While proof of auto insurance is not required to register a vehicle or obtain a drivers license in Tennessee, you are required to carry auto insurance in order to operate a motor vehicle on all Tennessee streets, roads, and highways. A conviction for failure to provide evidence of financial responsibility will be a Class C misdemeanor punishable only by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars ($100.00). Also, once the State is notified of a conviction, the violator’s drivers license will be suspended. For more information, visit the Tennessee Department of Safety website at https://www.tn.gov/driver-services.html.

  • If you’re at fault in an accident without insurance, this can adversely affect your credit and cause you to have higher insurance rates.
  • If you’re in an accident or your car is stolen, it often costs a lot of money to fix or replace it.
  • If you or any passengers are injured in an accident, medical costs can be extremely expensive.
  • If you or your car is responsible for damage or injury to others, you may be sued for much more than you’re worth.

How can I get the best deal on Auto Insurance?

Johnston & Associates Insurance represents you, the client. Unlike a captive agent who only represents one company, independent agents offer a greater value by being able to quote your insurance among competing carriers, assuring you of the lowest possible premium available.

What questions should I ask my agent?

We recommend asking that you ask following questions before purchasing any auto policy:

  • How much can you afford to pay if you get in an accident? (To keep premiums low you may want to have a higher deductible and be willing to pay more for repairs.)
  • What is the insurance company’s level of service and ability to pay claims?
  • What discounts are available? Ask about good driver, multiple policy and student discounts, which can often reduce your premium by an additional 20%.
  • What’s the procedure for filing and settling a claim? (Ask who to call and what happens after you file a claim.)

What can I do to lower my Auto Insurance premium?

Be sure to talk to your insurance agent about available discounts on car or auto insurance such as: multi-car, renewal, claim-free, student discounts, driver training, defense driver course, anti-lock brakes, air bags, anti-theft devices, and auto/home discounts. Ask how much you can save by increasing your deductibles.

What’s “full coverage”?

The term “full coverage” is a term that means the legally required or most commonly requested coverages. The term “full coverage” does not mean that everything is covered no matter what happens. “Full coverage” typically includes Bodily Injury, Property Damage, Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist, Damage to a covered vehicle (also known as Comprehensive and Collision), and any other coverages available such as: rental car, towing, road service, or additional equipment coverage. Your auto insurance policy declaration page lists the coverages you have selected.

Am I covered if I drive someone else’s vehicle?

The coverage provided varies from state to state, and you should consult with your insurance agent for details. Generally, you are covered only for liability to the third parties unless the owner is a resident of your household, or the vehicle is furnished for your regular use. In many states, you are not covered for physical damage to the borrowed vehicle. Any coverage provided is over and above the collectible coverage provided by the owner of the vehicle.

When renting a vehicle, should I buy the insurance coverage offered by the car rental company?

If you have auto insurance protection on a personal vehicle that has full coverage and rental reimbursement, you may not need to buy extra insurance. However, be sure to verify this with your insurance company.

If my car is in the shop and I need to rent a temporary vehicle, is the rental car covered on my Auto Insurance policy?

Rental car coverage is only for vehicles with rental reimbursement coverage that have been in an accident; not for cars experiencing mechanical failure.

When my child gets his/her driver’s license must I add him/her to my insurance policy?

Yes. All licensed drivers living in the household need to be listed on the auto policy unless they have their own auto insurance elsewhere.

Who is usually covered under an Auto Insurance liability policy?

An auto insurance liability policy usually covers the following people:

  • Named insured – the person or persons named in the policy, no matter what car they are driving.
  • Spouse – even if the spouse of the named insured is not named on a policy, liability insurance almost always covers him or her, unless the couple does not live together.
  • Other relative – anyone living in the household with the named insured related to the insured by blood, marriage or adoption, usually including a legal ward or foster child.
  • Anyone driving the insured vehicle with permission – someone who steals the car is not covered.

What should I do if I have a loss?

We recommend taking the following steps as soon as possible:

  • When possible, report the accident to the presiding police department and forward a copy of the report to your agent.
  • Contact your agent, providing date of accident and details surrounding the incident. Obtain a written estimate for damages from the body shop of your choice.
  • You will be contacted by your insurance company to make arrangements for an inspection of your vehicle. No repairs should be made without the insurance company’s authorization.

What to do in case of an auto accident?

If anyone is injured, immediately render any possible first aid assistance and call emergency services.

Exchange name, address, and insurance information with the driver of the other car. Record the following information: date, time, and place of accident, name and address of owner of the other car, if different from driver driver’s Social Security number and driver’s license number, names and addresses of passengers and witnesses, license number of the other car and the cars of witnesses. Report the accident to the nearest police station and file any necessary reports. Cooperate fully with the police, but do not make any admissions about your liability. Don’t sign any statements for anyone other than an authorized representative of your insurance company. Promptly report the claim to your agent. Note: If you plan to travel by car in Canada or Mexico, check with your agent for insurance requirements.

If I own a classic or high value car, should I be concerned about its stated value coverage?

Yes! When you insure a classic car with a stated value, this doesn’t guarantee that you’ll receive that in the event of a total loss. Standard auto insurance carriers will use blue book or actual cash value to settle your loss. Most of the time you’ll receive an amount substantially less than the stated amount on your policy. In order to receive the full stated value of your vehicle, you must obtain a guaranteed replacement policy. At Johnston & Associates, we represent the top names in classic car insurance such as Hagerty and Grundy. In the event of a total loss or theft of your vehicle, these companies will write you a check for the full stated value with no squabbling or undercutting involved. These policies are always reasonably priced because of the various requirements they’ve put in place. Call us for more details.