Understand Your Auto Insurance Policy

There’s a lot of important information nestled within the pages of your insurance documents. Here’s what you need to know.

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by NEA Member Benefits

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Key takeaways

  • Every time you renew your policy you should review your declaration page to make sure all the details are correct and that all the discounts and coverages you requested are included.
  • Selecting coverages for the lowest premium could cost you more than you can afford in the long run.
  • Purchasing just the minimum liability requirements for your state could leave you severely underinsured.

Filling out an accident report is not the time to find out what your auto insurance will cover. Every time you renew your policy you should review your declaration page carefully to make sure all the details are correct and that all the discounts and coverages you requested are included.

It’s recommended that you get as much protection as possible to protect your assets. Selecting coverages for the lowest premium could cost you more than you can afford in the long run. In addition, purchasing just the minimum liability requirements for your state could leave you severely underinsured.

Navigating the details of your auto insurance policy can be confusing. The following list gives a simplified description of the coverages included on your auto policy’s declaration page.

  • Bodily Injury Liability: Pays for other people’s injuries if you cause an accident. It also pays legal costs if you are sued
  • Property Damage Liability: Pays for damage you cause to other vehicles and property
  • Medical Payments: Pays for medical expenses if you and your passengers are injured in a crash. This coverage also pays if you are hit while walking or bicycling. In some states, this is called Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
  • Collision Coverage: Pays to repair or to replace your vehicle after a crash
  • Comprehensive Coverage: Pays to repair or replace your vehicle damaged from fire, theft, flood, hail, animals—anything other than collision
  • Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Pays for your medical costs and loss of wages if a driver with no or limited insurance hits you
  • Uninsured Motorist Property Damage: Pays for damage to your vehicle caused by a driver with limited or no insurance coverage

Other valuable insurance options you can consider include gap coverage, glass breakage coverage, towing and labor coverage and rental car reimbursement.

How to save on your auto coverage

There are several ways you can save money on your auto insurance policy:

  • Bundling with your home or renters insurance
  • Taking advantage of safe driver/good student discounts
  • Installing auto security and anti-theft devices
  • Raising your deductible to a level you can afford
  • Researching and purchasing a safer vehicle that could be less expensive to insure (a great resource can be found at http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings)
  • Reducing the amount of miles you drive

Don’t assume you’re covered

Be aware that your insurance may not cover using your vehicle for business use, such as delivering pizzas or driving for a ridesharing company (Uber or Lyft). You may need a commercial auto insurance policy.

Every policy and situation is different, so it’s crucial that you consult with a licensed insurance advisor.

Get special benefits as an NEA member

California Casualty, provider of the NEA Auto & Home Insurance Program, has advisors ready to explain the benefits and savings you qualify for as an NEA member:

  • $500 personal property coverage for non-electronic items—including instructional materials—stolen or damaged in your vehicle
  • Waived deductible for vandalism or damage to your vehicle while it’s parked at work
  • Broad policies that cover renting or borrowing a vehicle, and people that you let drive your car or truck
  • Pet injury protection that pays up to $1,000 if your pet is hurt while riding in your vehicle
  • Summer or holiday payment skip option.

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