Prevalent Misconceptions About Auto Insurance: Setting The Record Straight
Auto insurance is really quite a simple concept. It’s not tough to get overrun with details when peering below the surface. Given this, it really is not surprising that there are lots of myths perpetuated among motorists with regards to the industry.
The problem is, these myths lead to confusion. This, in turn, leads many people to make poor decisions regarding their coverages, and the rates they pay for them. Below, we’ll bring six popular fallacies to light. Our goal here is to debunk – or, at least clarify – them, so you can make better auto insurance decisions for you and your family.
#1 – A No-Fault Insurance System Eliminates Fault
No-fault insurance is poorly named. Many people (understandably) think it means that those who are involved in a collision are spared any fault, even if they caused the event. This is a common misconception. A no-fault insurance system means your insurer pays for damages and injuries sustained by you as the result of an accident. Other involved parties – including passengers – would likewise seek compensation from their own insurers.
Fault for the event is still applied to the appropriate parties based on the province’s fault determination rules. This can, of course, affect those parties’ premiums.
#2 – Driving A Red Car Means Paying Higher Premiums
By itself, the colour of your vehicle has no effect on your rates. In fact, few insurance companies ask their policyholders to disclose this information. Your rates are based on a formula that takes many criteria, such as your driving record, living address, and the average number of miles driven each year, into account. Colour is not one of them.
#3 – Car Thieves Target Late Model Vehicles
Actually, evidence shows the top stolen vehicles in Canada are older makes and models. According to a 2009 report from the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), the top five most stolen vehicles are the following:
2000 Honda Civic SiR 2-door
2003 Cadillac Escalade ESV 4-door AWD
1999 Honda Civic SiR 2-door
2006 Chevrolet/GMC Trailblazer SS 4-door 4WD
2002 Cadillac Escalade EXT 4-door AWD.
If you consider lower rates a priority, research the cars, trucks, and SUVs that are most targeted by thieves. They will be more costly to insure.
#4 – Driving Without A Seat belt Doesn’t Affect Your Rates
If you receive a ticket for driving without a seat belt, there is a good chance your insurance company will raise your premiums. Many people think their rates will remain the same since they are not technically putting anyone else at risk. This belief is understandable. However, here is the reason auto insurance companies feel differently:
When you choose to drive without a seat belt, you are placing yourself at far more risk than implied when you signed your policy. For example, suppose your head were to hit your steering wheel, causing brain trauma (and perhaps a hemorrhagic stroke) as the result of a collision. Hospitalization, rehabilitation, and long-term care are expensive. From the insurer’s perspective, the added risk warrants a rate increase.
#5 – Personal Belongings Are Covered If A Car Is Stolen
If you leave your laptop, clothes, or any other property in your vehicle, and your vehicle is stolen, these items are not covered. You will be forced to absorb the cost of replacing them. This surprises a lot of consumers, who assume their auto insurance coverage will compensate them for the loss.
If you keep personal possessions in your vehicle, consider buying property insurance coverage. This way, if your stolen car, your golf clubs, PDA, and anything else you keep inside will be covered.
#6 – Auto Insurance Rates Are The Same
This is one of the most widely believed fallacies about the car insurance industry. Many people assume their current premiums reflect the industry average. In reality, there is usually a large difference in rates between insurers. The only way to uncover the lowest rates is to compare quotes from multiple companies side by side. Take the time to do so at least once a year.
Few people look forward to buying car insurance coverage. Not only are the details often confusing, but it is a product you hope never to need. That said, ignoring the fallacies above is an important step to finding coverage that meets your needs and budget.