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Hindsight is 20/20

Consider these common regrets
when buying auto insurance.

Imagine you're stopped at a red light when you catch a glimpse of the car behind you in your rearview mirror – just before it slams into your rear bumper. Shaken, you climb out of your car to exchange insurance information. That's when the other driver confesses: She doesn't have auto insurance. You think in a panic, “Do I have collision coverage?” Collision coverage can help pay to fix your vehicle regardless of who is at fault and even if the other party is uninsured.

A collision repair facility informs you that the repairs add up to several thousand dollars and could take up to 15 days. You contact your auto insurance company and breathe a sigh of relief when you learn you had indeed requested collision coverage when you purchased your policy several years ago.

In order to save money, some drivers might decide to purchase only the required liability coverages and waive physical damage coverages such as collision and comprehensive. Or they might forgo physical damage coverages because they think They're a safe driver, and if they're involved in an accident caused by another driver, that person's insurance company would cover the repairs. However, as the above scenario shows, they might rue those decisions. Bypassing that coverage is just one regret people have after an accident. Here are others.

Buying an auto policy before you understand your coverages. The variety of coverage options in our contract – along with what might be unfamiliar terms used to describe them – can be intimidating. That is why it's important to take the time to go over your coverages with your agent to be clear on the types you're buying (liability, collision, comprehensive) and their deductibles. In addition, carefully consider the limits for each category to ensure they adequately cover your assets. If you are confused or just need help making a decision on what to purchase, don't hesitate to ask your agent questions.

Buying only the minimal coverage required. People typically cite a couple of reasons for buying the least amount of coverage allowed under state laws: They want to save money, or they think they don't need much coverage.

Both reasons fail to take one thing into consideration: If you're legally liable for damages in excess of your policy limits, your personal assets could be at risk to compensate for injuries and damages you cause to another person and his or her vehicle.

One type of affordable coverage that's commonly overlooked is rental car coverage. You may need it if your vehicle isn't drivable after an accident and you don't have other transportation options. Rental coverage covers the cost of a rental vehicle while your car is being repaired.

Shopping solely on price. It's not always a good idea to choose an insurance company on the basis of price alone. Why? Because not all insurance companies offer the same protection or quality customer service. So before you choose an insurer, research its reputation.

Robin Jones is a contributor from Long Beach, Calif.

Your AAA insurance agent can provide more information about auto insurance coverage. Call (888) 222-2582, stop in at a AAA branch office, or click on AAA.com/insurance.

March/April 2016 Issue

ask an agent

Q: While I was eating at a restaurant, several valuable household items I purchased earlier in the day were stolen out of the back seat of my car. Are they covered under my auto policy?

Johnson

A: Most automobile policies would not include coverage for theft of personal items from the vehicle. However, a typical homeowners policy would. Check with your insurance agent to determine your specific policy limits and if a deductible will apply. In the future, play it safe and always stash valuable items away from public view in your trunk, glove compartment, or under a seat.

–Tracy Johnson
AAA Sales Agent
Metairie, La.


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