Car insurance may be mandatory, but is it really necessary? Roughly 1 in 8 drivers forgo it altogether, and unfortunately for that 1 in 8, the perks of reliable insurance reveal themselves only when you need it most. If you find yourself on the fence, find out how car insurance protects your ride, your livelihood, and your wallet.
1. pay a little now to save a lot later
There are more than 6 million car accidents in the U.S. each year, on average, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That's a nerdy way of saying that accidents happen.
Now imagine a world without car insurance. Each time you take the expensive machine out for a spin, you're essentially risking your bank account and some or all of your assets.
An accident is more than an inconvenience. After all, the average property damage cost of a car accident in 2013, according to the National Safety Council, was $9,300. And that's not including accidents that cause disabling injuries, which averaged out to $80,700 per crash.
A car insurance policy protects your finances from these astronomical (and unexpected) expenses. Aside from helping you with the cost of an accident, your car insurer can help protect you (and your assets) from liability lawsuits through your policy's liability coverage.
A policy that includes liability coverage with high limits, comprehensive and collision coverage for your car, and medical payments coverage for you and your passengers can save you thousands after an accident.
2. saving time and inconvenience when accidents happen
If you have car insurance, your insurer's expertise will help you through the unpleasant post-accident process, like working with another driver's insurer, walking you through the claims process, helping you find a great repair shop, and getting your claim settled quickly and fairly. And if you hit a proverbial bump in the road (like getting into an accident with an uninsured driver), your insurance company can help you recover costs through your policy's uninsured motorist coverage.
Accidents are hard enough without having to go it alone.
3. peace of mind for you, a driving stud
There is a fair share of driving duds out there too. And car insurance offers financial protection from the driving mistakes of others.
Maybe you're an esteemed scholar of traffic law. Maybe you have stellar hand-eye coordination. Maybe you've never been in a car accident and are arguably the best driver on the planet. By definition, that would mean that all other drivers are worse. And there are a lot of drivers out there. A reliable car insurance policy protects you from the red-light texter, the reckless driveway-leaver, the make-up-applying fast-laner, and the end-of-the-rope road-rager.
Because drivers are so unpredictable, you just never know when an unavoidable accident could happen. Insurance exists to protect you from that scenario.
4. car insurance can supplement your health insurance
If you're injured in a car accident and have insufficient health insurance (or none at all), car insurance can help. Most insurers offer coverages that cover injuries you sustain as a driver or passenger (and in some states, personal injury protection coverage is required).
Even if you do have health insurance, car insurance can help pay for things your medical coverage might not — possibly including care for accident-related injuries, dental work, funeral costs, or extended nursing care during your rehabilitation.
Find out more about medical-related coverages.
5. it’s typically the law
And breaking the law is no good. Most states require its drivers to carry a minimum amount of car insurance in the form of liability coverage or financial responsibility bonds. Even New Hampshire requires you to post a bond that proves your ability to pay for potential post-accident expenses.
And since insurance is usually legally required, driving without it can result in fines and the suspension of driving privileges. Some states may even impound your ride. So unless you're a happy cyclist training for the Tour de France, a suspended license may really throw a wrench into your daily commute.
Read up on the risks of driving uninsured.
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