How much does your lifestyle influence your car insurance?
Quite a bit ha.
Having the right auto insurance can be just as important as having auto insurance at all. Depending on your lifestyle, you may have unique coverage needs to protect the people and things that are important to you. And your needs can change throughout your life.
So, whether you drive a semi-autonomous vehicle or a classic auto, have a baby or a puppy on board or spend your day driving an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) or a minivan, make sure your auto insurance fits your lifestyle when purchasing an insurance policy.
If you are a Tech Wiz, then consider:
- Asking your agent about mobile device coverage. This would reimburse you for the cost of replacing your cell phone if it’s ever destroyed in a covered loss.
- Higher limits or extra coverage, if you drive a semi-autonomous vehicle, to make sure the vehicle is properly restored after a covered loss.
If you are a Parent, then consider:
- Car seat replacement coverage. If you have a baby or a young child, this optional coverage would help you with the cost of replacing a car seat that’s damaged in a covered loss.
- Increasing your liability coverage if you sometimes shuttle your kids and their friends to school and other activities. It’s smart to have your liability coverage reflect the increased risk of additional passengers in your vehicle. Check with your agent to make sure your coverage is adequate.
- Adding your teenage or young adult driver to your auto insurance policy. It is generally cheaper to add your children to your insurance policy than for them to purchase their own. And if they are going to be driving their own car, consider insuring it with the same insurance carrier so that you can get a multi car discount.
- Talking with your agent about discounts. There are a multitude of discounts for young drivers. If your children move at least 100 miles from home to attend school (and leave the car at home), you may be able to get a discount for the time they are not around to drive the car. Also, encourage your kids to get good grades and to take a driver training course. Most companies will give discounts for getting above average grades in school and for taking recognized driving courses.
- Making sure all drivers are listed correctly on your auto insurance policy.
If you are an Adventurer, then consider:
- Getting insurance for your motorcycle, All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) or Recreational Vehicle (RV). Talk to your agent about adding it to your auto policy.
- Your love for the wide-open seas or local lake. If you own a boat, talk to your agent about coverage requirements, which can differ depending on the specific boat. Typically, boats need to be covered on your homeowners policy, not your auto policy.
If you are an Eco Advocate, then consider:
- The carpool. Make sure your liability coverage reflects the extra passengers in your vehicle. Some coverages on your own auto policy follow you, for example, to cover injuries while riding in someone else’s car. But others, like damage to the vehicle, follow the vehicle. The Insurance Information Institute estimates that about 85% of frequent carpoolers do not adjust their auto insurance accordingly.
If you are a Semi-Professional or Professional Driver, then consider:
- The benefits of a ridesharing endorsement if you work for an on-demand ride hailing company, like Uber or Lyft.
- Talking with your agent about commercial auto insurance if you own or operate a company-owned vehicle.
And everyone should think about:
- Gap coverage if you have a loan or lease for your vehicle. In the event the vehicle is totaled, gap coverage will pay off the balance of the loan if you owe more on the vehicle than what it’s worth.
- If you only want original parts used during an auto repair. If so, add original equipment manufacturer (OEM) coverage.
- Whether you need to add or remove your spouse from your auto policy, if you get married or divorced.
- If your pet rides in the vehicle with you. Ask about pet injury coverage and make sure you’re using a safety harness or crate to prevent injuries.
- Asking your agent about rental car reimbursement coverage. If your vehicle ends up in the shop after a covered loss, and you’d rather not join a carpool, this would help reimburse you for a rental car.
You want to make sure you have the right insurance coverages in place. Should you have an auto claim, discrepancies in your policy—at their worst—can be found to be insurance fraud, which is against the law. And at a minimum, your claim could be denied if you don’t have coverage for the loss, costing you money.
And as your lifestyle changes, your coverage needs may change, too. Keep your agent informed so you have the right coverages for every stage in your life. There are many online tools to help you consider the kinds of questions to ask your agent, such as Insure U’s Life Stages tool or Ohio Department of Insurance’s Auto Insurance Toolkit.