The majority of drivers purchase car insurance of some kind during their lives. In fact, Virginia law requires that drivers carry bodily injury and property damage coverage. However, we don’t necessarily think about what exactly is covered under our policy until we are involved in an accident and have to file a claim. A car insurance policy typically includes liability coverage, at a minimum, but may also include other types of coverage. In addition, there are policy add-ons, such as towing insurance, roadside assistance, and car rental reimbursement. Policyholders with new and/or leased vehicles might opt for gap insurance to cover the difference between the car’s value when it’s wrecked and the amount still owed on a lease or car note. Here are the three main types of insurance policies and information about what they cover:
Liability CoverageLiability coverage usually covers both bodily injuries and property damage; your policy will pay for damages and injuries up to your policy limit when you are at fault for an accident in Virginia. Bodily injury liability coverage pays for medical expenses, lost wages, and other non-economic damages of those who were injured. Property damage liability coverage pays for vehicle damage and other property damage. For example, if you caused an accident that resulted in vehicles going off of the road and crashing into a homeowner’s fence, your property damage liability coverage would pay for the repair or replacement of that fence.
Collision and Comprehensive CoverageIf you have leased your vehicle or financed it through a bank or other lending institution, you will typically be required to carry collision and comprehensive coverage. These policies cover repairs to your vehicle and pay you for its current value if the car is totaled (too damaged to fix). Collision and comprehensive policies are sold as a package, but they cover different things:
- A collision policy covers damages when you hit a car, or any other fixed or moving object, or if you roll your car over in an accident.
- A comprehensive policy covers damages when your car is stolen or damaged by other events, such as hail storms, floods, falling objects, earthquakes, vandalism, hitting a deer or other animal, and almost any other scenario that might cause damage. It does not cover items that might have been stolen from inside a vehicle. In some cases, comprehensive policies might cover broken glass.