Everything you need to know about insurance basics, like coverage types, limits, cost and more.
What Does Car Insurance Cover?
Car insurance is designed to protect you from the financial risks that come with the unexpected, like being liable for costs after damaging someone’s vehicle or injuring someone in an accident. We want to make sure you’re protected against the things you worry about most, specifically covering costs after an accident. We’ll guide you through how your car insurance works and what it covers, so you can keep fearless knowing you’re well protected in the event of the unexpected.
What Are Common Types of Car Insurance?
Having the right coverages on your policy — with the right coverage limits — is key to safeguarding your finances. Almost every state requires a minimum amount of auto insurance, but you’ll want to consider raising those coverage limits and adding optional coverages to your policy for a wider net of protection.
So what are the main components of a car insurance policy?
If your vehicle is damaged, collision coverage helps cover the cost to repair or replace it.
In the event your vehicle is damaged by an external event that is out of your control, like theft, vandalism, hitting an animal or hail damage, you’ll depend on your comprehensive coverage to help you recover.
Bodily injury liability
This coverage handles costs associated with injuries to those involved in the accident, including pedestrians or bystanders. Think medical expenses, legal fees, lost income, pain and suffering and bereavement.
Property damage liability
If you’re at fault in an accident, this coverage helps repair or replace the vehicle or property, like a mailbox, fence or home that was damaged.
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage
This coverage protects you financially if you’re in an accident with an at-fault driver with no liability insurance, or who has minimal liability insurance but it’s not enough to cover all of your bills after an accident.
These are the most common types of coverage that make up a policy, but your coverages shouldn’t stop here. Customizing your policy to fit your exact needs — and worries — is one of the best ways to gain peace of mind whether on the road or parked in your driveway.
View All Car Insurance Coverage Types >
How Long Does a Car Accident Affect Your Insurance?How long an accident affects your car insurance policy depends on the state you live in. But on average, you can expect the surcharge to remain 3 to 5 years.
How Does Insurance Work After a Car Accident?
Getting into an accident is something no one wants to experience. But if you do, you can depend on your car insurance to help you take care of the cost for damages. After collecting details from the scene, you can file a claim by using the MyAmFam app, logging in to My Account, contacting your agent or calling us at 1 (800) MYAMFAM (1-800-692-6326).
Once your claim is filed, a claims representative will contact you to go over your claim and the process to follow.
Here’s an in-depth look at exactly what to do after an accident.
How Much Does Car Insurance Go Up After an Accident?
You could see your rate rise 10 to 40 percent (or more in some instances) after just one accident. If you get into a second accident, your rate could increase by double! And to top it off, you’ll lose any good driver discounts for keeping a clean record.
Keep in mind, changes in your car insurance rate after an accident will vary from company to company. Why do insurance rates go up after an accident? This hike is called a surcharge — which is basically a penalty your insurance company tacks on to your premium for getting into an accident. Find out more about premium increases after a car accident.
It’s My First Accident — Will I Be Given Accident Forgiveness?
The short answer is — it depends. Many companies, like American Family, offer accident forgiveness for drivers who have been accident free for five years or more. You’ll want to check with your agent to see if this is available to you.
Other companies, including us, may even offer purchased accident forgiveness, where you can pay to add accident forgiveness to your policy. This coverage is designed for drivers who haven’t been accident free for five or more years, but want peace of mind that their rate won’t go up after an accident.
When you purchase accident forgiveness with American Family, you’ll be totally forgiven in the event of an at-fault accident and avoid a premium increase based on that accident. Another benefit? You won’t lose any of the good driver discounts you’ve earned!
Learn more about how you can earn or purchase accident forgiveness with American Family Insurance.
Car Accident CoverageWhen it comes to the things you worry about most, it’s important to understand your coverage options. A well-built car insurance policy is one way you can keep fearless from the unexpected.
Collision insurance is coverage that helps pay to repair or replace your car if it’s damaged in an accident. If you get T-boned, rear-ended or side-swiped, or you do the same to someone else’s vehicle, collision coverage helps protect you financially from the expense of repairing your car. Learn more about collision coverage.
Comprehensive car insurance covers damage caused by accidents that don’t involve colliding with another vehicle or object. After you pay your comprehensive deductible, you’ll be covered for things like theft, collisions with animals, vandalism, hail, flood and fires. Learn more about comprehensive coverage.
Accidental Death & Dismemberment
This coverage pays a certain sum — up to your policy limits — for accidental death and specific injuries. It applies while traveling in a car or being struck by a car. Connect with your agent to learn more about accidental death and dismemberment coverage.
Emergency Roadside Service
American Family Roadside Insurance Services help pay for service and support when your car can’t make it to a repair shop. It includes towing, jumpstarting your battery, tire servicing, gas and oil delivery, roadside repairs and a dependable locksmith. Learn more about emergency roadside service.
Rental Car Reimbursement
Our auto rental reimbursement coverage keeps you moving by paying for a rental vehicle while your car is being repaired after a covered event. Learn more about rental car reimbursement.
Uninsured motorist coverage helps protect you financially in the event you’re in an accident caused by an uninsured driver. So, if the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance, you’ll still have coverage under your own insurance policy. Learn more about uninsured motorist coverage.
Underinsured motorist coverage protects you financially in the event you’re in an accident with an at-fault driver who has minimal auto insurance, but their limits aren’t enough to cover all of your bills after an accident. Learn more about underinsured motorist coverage.
Gap Lease & Loan
If you lease or finance your vehicle, you’ll want to have gap insurance coverage on your policy. In the event you owe more than what your vehicle is worth, this coverage can pay the difference. Learn more about gap lease & loan coverage.
Medical payments coverage helps cover medical expenses for injuries sustained in an auto accident — regardless of who is at fault. It generally covers you, your family members and your passengers occupying the vehicle at the time of the accident. You’re also protected in the event you’re hit while walking or biking. Learn more about medical expense coverage.
Property Damage Liability
This coverage is financial protection for things. If you’re at-fault in an accident, property damage liability insurance can help cover costs for the other driver’s vehicle expenses or if you damage someone’s property, such as a mailbox, home or fence.
Most states require a minimum amount of bodily injury coverage. If you’re legally liable for a car accident, this coverage helps cover costs associated with injuries to your passengers, the driver and passengers of the other vehicle. It also can help pay for bodily injury to pedestrians, as well as legal fees if you’re taken to court over an accident. Learn more about bodily injury coverage.
What Else Do You Worry About? We’ll Help.
Do you worry about anything else when it comes to your vehicle? Let us help give you peace of mind.
Does Car Insurance Cover Theft? >
What Happens When Your Car Is Totaled? >
Does Insurance Cover Hail Damage to Cars? >
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Save money for being a safe driver? Sounds like a win-win. Learn how safe driving habits can get you up to 20% in savings.*
Simplify & Save by Bundling
Combine multiple policies and save on your premium.
Bundling insurance is one of the easiest ways for you to save on your insurance! In fact, when you bundle your home and auto policies you can save up to save up to 23% on both policies together.**
Car Insurance Discounts
You might be eligible for more than you think!
From good grades to safe habits, discover all the ways you can save with our car insurance discounts. Explore all of our auto insurance discounts to see which ones you might be eligible for.
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More Common Concerns We Can Help With
Accident forgiveness is coverage that can be purchased or earned. Eligibility criteria varies by state. Some restrictions may apply. Speak with your agent to learn more about your coverage options.
*Program discounts will vary based on driving behavior. The KnowYourDrive discount applies only to the following variable coverages, which are typical for most auto policies: bodily injury liability, property damage liability, collision and comprehensive, medical expense, and personal injury protection. To refresh your understanding of these coverages, visit www.amfam.com/insurance/car/coverages. Additionally, the discount does not apply to fixed fees that are part of your policy.
**Customers who bundle auto and home insurance policies may save up to 23% on both policies together (as of October 2021). Discounts may vary by state, property, policy form and company underwriting the auto and/or home policy. Discounts may not apply to all coverages on an auto or property policy.