Vehicle insurance (also known as auto insurance, GAP insurance, car insurance, or motor insurance) is insurance purchased for cars, trucks, motorcycles, and other road vehicles. Its primary use is to provide financial protection against physical damage and/or bodily injury resulting from traffic collisions and against liability that could also arise therefrom. The specific terms of vehicle insurance vary with legal regulations in each region. To a lesser degree vehicle insurance may additionally offer financial protection against theft of the vehicle and possibly damage to the vehicle, sustained from things other than traffic collisions.
- 1 Public policies
- 2 Coverage levels
- 3 Excess
- 4 Basis of premium charges
- 5 Repair insurance
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
In many jurisdictions it is compulsory to have vehicle insurance before using or keeping a motor vehicle on public roads. Most jurisdictions relate insurance to both the car and the driver, however the degree of each varies greatly.
Several jurisdictions have experimented with a "pay-as-you-drive" insurance plan which is paid through a gasoline tax (petrol tax). This would address issues of uninsured motorists and also charge based on the miles (kilometers) driven, which could theoretically increase the efficiency of the insurance, through streamlined collection.
In New South Wales and the Northern Territory Compulsory Third Party Insurance (commonly known as CTP Insurance) is a mandatory requirement and each individual car must be insured or the vehicle will not be considered legal. Therefore, a motorist cannot drive the vehicle until it is insured. A 'Green Slip,' another name by which CTP Insurance is commonly known due to the colour of the pages which the form is printed on, must be obtained through one of the five licenced insurers in New South Wales. Suncorp and Allianz both hold two licences to issue CTP Greenslips – Suncorp under the GIO and AAMI licences and Allianz under the Allianz and CIC/Allianz licences. The remaining three licences to issue CTP Greenslips are held by QBE, Zurich and Insurance Australia Limited (NRMA). APIA now also supplies CTP but is only for over 50's who are no longer working full-time.
A similar scheme applies in the Australian Capital Territory. Currently, Insurance Australia Limited (NRMA) is the only CTP Insurer in the ACT.
In Queensland, CTP is a mandatory part of registration for a vehicle. There is choice of insurer but price is government controlled in a tight band.
These state based third party insurance schemes usually cover only personal injury liability. Comprehensive and Third Party Property insurance is sold separately to cover property damage and cover can be for events such as fire, theft, collision and other property damage.
CTP only covers personal injury liability.
Third Party Property Insurance covers damage to someone else's property or vehicle, but not your own vehicle.
Third Party Property Insurance with Fire and Theft is the same as above, but will cover your vehicle in the event of fire or theft normally up to maximum of $5,000.
Comprehensive Insurance covers damage to someone else's property or vehicle as well as your own.
Several Canadian provinces (British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec) provide a public auto insurance system while in the rest of the country insurance is provided privately. Basic auto insurance is mandatory throughout Canada with each province's government determining which benefits are included as minimum required auto insurance coverage and which benefits are options available for those seeking additional coverage. Accident benefits coverage is mandatory everywhere except for Newfoundland and Labrador. All provinces in Canada have some form of no-fault insurance available to accident victims. The difference from province to province is the extent to which tort or no-fault is emphasized. International drivers entering Canada are permitted to drive any vehicle their licence allows for the 3-month period for which they are allowed to use their international licence. International laws provide visitors to the country with an International Insurance Bond (IIB) until this 3-month period is over in which the international driver must provide themselves with Canadian Insurance. The IIB is reinstated every time the international driver enters the country. Damage to the driver's own vehicle is optional – one notable exception to this is in Saskatchewan, where SGI provides collision coverage (less than a $1000 deductible, such as a collision damage waiver) as part of its basic insurance policy. In Saskatchewan, residents have the option to have their auto insurance through a tort system but less than 0.5% of the population have taken this option.
Since 1939, it has been compulsory to have third party personal insurance before keeping a motor vehicle in all federal states of Germany. In addition, every vehicle owner is free to take out a comprehensive insurance policy. All types of car insurances are provided by several private insurers. The amount of insurance contribution is determined by several criteria, like the region, the type of car or the personal way of driving.
The minimum coverage defined by Germany law for car liability insurance / third party personal insurance is: 7.5 million euro for bodily injury (damage to people), 1 million euro for property damage and 50,000 euro for financial/fortune loss which is in no direct or indirect coherence with bodily injury or property damage. Insurance companies usually offer all-in/combined single limit insurances of 50 Million Euro or 100 Million Euro (about 141 Million Dollar) for bodily injury, property damage and other financial/fortune loss (usually with a bodily injury coverage limitation of 8 to 15 million euro for EACH bodily injured person).
Third-party vehicle insurance is mandatory for all vehicles in Hungary. No exemption is possible by money deposit. The premium covers all damage up to HUF 500M (about €1.8M) per accident without deductible. The coverage is extended to HUF 1,250M (about €4.5M) in case of personal injuries. Vehicle insurance policies from all EU-countries and some non-EU countries are valid in Hungary based on bilateral or multilateral agreements. Visitors with vehicle insurance not covered by such agreements are required to buy a monthly, renewable policy at the border.
Third-party vehicle Insurance is a mandatory requirement in Indonesia and each individual car and motorcycle must be insured or the vehicle will not be considered legal. Therefore, a motorist cannot drive the vehicle until it is insured. Third Party vehicle insurance is included through a levy in the vehicle registration fee which is paid to government institution that known as "Samsat". Third-Party Vehicle Insurance is regulated under Act No. 34 Year 1964 Re: Road Traffic Accident Fund and merely covers Bodily injury, and managed by a SOE named PT. Jasa Raharja (Persero).
Auto Insurance in India deals with the insurance covers for the loss or damage caused to the automobile or its parts due to natural and man-made calamities. It provides accident cover for individual owners of the vehicle while driving and also for passengers and third party legal liability. There are certain general insurance companies who also offer online insurance service for the vehicle.
Auto Insurance in India is a compulsory requirement for all new vehicles used whether for commercial or personal use. The insurance companies have tie-ups with leading automobile manufacturers. They offer their customers instant auto quotes. Auto premium is determined by a number of factors and the amount of premium increases with the rise in the price of the vehicle. The claims of the Auto Insurance in India can be accidental, theft claims or third party claims. Certain documents are required for claiming Auto Insurance in India, like duly signed claim form, RC copy of the vehicle, Driving license copy, FIR copy, Original estimate and policy copy.
There are different types of Auto Insurance in India :
Private Car Insurance – In the Auto Insurance in India, Private Car Insurance is the fastest growing sector as it is compulsory for all the new cars. The amount of premium depends on the make and value of the car, state where the car is registered and the year of manufacture.
Two Wheeler Insurance – The Two Wheeler Insurance under the Auto Insurance in India covers accidental insurance for the drivers of the vehicle. The amount of premium depends on the current showroom price multiplied by the depreciation rate fixed by the Tariff Advisory Committee at the time of the beginning of policy period.
Commercial Vehicle Insurance – Commercial Vehicle Insurance under the Auto Insurance in India provides cover for all the vehicles which are not used for personal purposes, like the Trucks and HMVs. The amount of premium depends on the showroom price of the vehicle at the commencement of the insurance period, make of the vehicle and the place of registration of the vehicle. The auto insurance generally includes:
- Loss or damage by accident, fire, lightning, self ignition, external explosion, burglary, housebreaking or theft, malicious act.
- Liability for third party injury/death, third party property and liability to paid driver
- On payment of appropriate additional premium, loss/damage to electrical/electronic accessories
The auto insurance does not include:
- Consequential loss, depreciation, mechanical and electrical breakdown, failure or breakage
- When vehicle is used outside the geographical area
- War or nuclear perils and drunken driving.
The Road Traffic Act, 1933 requires all drivers of mechanically propelled vehicles in public places to have at least third-party insurance, or to have obtained exemption – generally by depositing a (large) sum of money with the High Court as a guarantee against claims. In 1933 this figure was set at £15,000. The Road Traffic Act, 1961 (which is currently in force) repealed the 1933 act but replaced these sections with functionally identical sections.
From 1968, those making deposits require the consent of the Minister for Transport to do so, with the sum specified by the Minister.
Those not exempted from obtaining insurance must obtain a certificate of insurance from their insurance provider, and display a portion of this (an insurance disc) on their vehicles windscreen (if fitted). The certificate in full must be presented to a police station within ten days if requested by an officer. Proof of having insurance or an exemption must also be provided to pay for the motor tax.
Those injured or suffering property damage/loss due to uninsured drivers can claim against the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland's uninsured drivers fund, as can those injured (but not those suffering damage or loss) from hit and run offences.
Within New Zealand, the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) provides nationwide no-fault personal injury insurance. Injuries involving motor vehicles operating on public roads are covered by the Motor Vehicle Account, for which premiums are collected through levies on petrol and through vehicle licensing fees.
In Norway, the vehicle owner must provide the minimum of liability insurance for his vehicle(s) – of any kind. Otherwise, the vehicle is illegal to use. If a person drives a vehicle belonging to someone else, and has an accident, the insurance will cover for damage done.
United Arab Emirates
When buying car insurance in the United Arab Emirates, traffic department require a 13-month insurance certificate each time you register or renew a vehicle registration.
In 1930, the UK government introduced a law that required every person who used a vehicle on the road to have at least third party personal injury insurance. Today, UK law is defined by the Road Traffic Act 1988, which was last modified in 1991. The Act requires that motorists either be insured, have a security, or have made a specified deposit (£500,000 as of 1991) with the Accountant General of the Supreme Court, against their liability for injuries to others (including passengers) and for damage to other persons' property, resulting from use of a vehicle on a public road or in other public places.
It is an offense to use a car, or allow others to use it, without the insurance that satisfies the act whilst on the public highway (or public place Section 143(1)(a) RTA 1988 as amended 1991); however, no such legislation applies on private land.
Road Traffic Act Only Insurance differs from Third Party Only Insurance (detailed below) and is not often sold. It provides the very minimum cover to satisfy the requirements of the Act. For example Road Traffic Act Only Insurance has a limit of £1,000,000 for damage to third party property – third party only insurance typically has a greater limit for third party property damage. As a result of costly claims, insurance companies can now no longer place a limit on the amount that they are liable for in the event of a claim by 3rd parties against a legitimate policy. This can be explained in part by the Great Heck Rail Crash that cost the insurers over £22 million in compensation for the fatalities and damage to property caused by the actions of the insured driver of a motor vehicle that caused the disaster.
The minimum level of insurance cover commonly available, and which satisfies the requirement of the Act, is called third party only insurance. The level of cover provided by Third party only insurance is basic, but does exceed the requirements of the act. This insurance covers any liability to third parties, but does not cover any other risks.
More commonly purchased is third party, fire and theft. This covers all third party liabilities and also covers the vehicle owner against the destruction of the vehicle by fire (whether malicious or due to a vehicle fault) and theft of the vehicle itself. It may or may not cover vandalism. This kind of insurance and the two preceding types do not cover damage to the vehicle caused by the driver or other hazards.
Comprehensive insurance covers all of the above and damage to the vehicle caused by the driver themselves, as well as vandalism and other risks. This is usually the most expensive type of insurance. For valuable cars, many insurers only offer comprehensive insurance.
Vehicles that are exempt from the requirement to be covered under the Act include those owned by certain councils and local authorities, national park authorities, education authorities, police authorities, fire authorities, health service bodies and security services.
The insurance certificate or cover note issued by the insurance company constitutes legal evidence that the vehicle specified on the document is insured. The law says that an authorised person, such as the police, may require a driver to produce an insurance certificate for inspection. If the driver cannot show the document immediately on request, and proof of insurance cannot be found by other means such as the Police National Computer, drivers are no longer issued a HORT/1. This was an order with seven days, as of midnight of the date of issue, to take a valid insurance certificate (and usually other driving documents as well) to a police station of the driver's choice. Failure to produce an insurance certificate is an offence. The HORT/1 was commonly known – even by the issuing authorities when dealing with the public – as a "Producer".
All motorists in the UK are required to prominently display a vehicle excise licence (tax disc) on their vehicle when it is kept or driven on public roads. This helps to ensure that most people have adequate insurance on their vehicles because an insurance certificate must be produced when a disc is purchased, although the insurance must merely be valid at the time of purchase and not necessarily for the life of the tax disc.
The Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB) compensates the victims of road accidents caused by uninsured and untraced motorists. It also operates a number of Motor Insurance Databases, which contain details of every insured vehicle in the country and acts as a means to share information between Insurance Companies.
On 1 March 2011 the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg ruled that gender could no longer be used by insurers to set car insurance premiums. The new ruling will come into action from December 2012.
In June 2011 a new law known as Continuous Insurance Enforcement came into force in the UK meaning that a vehicle must have a valid insurance policy if it has a tax disc, whether or not it is kept on public roads and whether or not it is driven. If the car is to be "laid up" for whatever reason, the tax disc must be surrendered and a SORN declaration completed to say that it is off the public roads.
Investigation into repair costs & fraudulent claims
In September 2012 it was announced that the Competition Commission had launched an investigation into the UK system for credit repairs and credit hire of an alternative vehicle by a 3rd party following a non-fault accident. It was announced that insurers of vehicles that had caused a valid claim were unable to control the costs that were applied to the claim by means of repairs, storage, vehicle hire, referral fees and personal injury claims. Many accident management companies will take over the running of a non fault claim and arrange everything for the 3rd party. The subsequent cost of some of the items submitted for consideration has been a cause for concern over recent years and this has caused an increase in the premium costs. Also, the recent craze of "Cash for crash" has substantially raised the cost of policies. This is where two parties arrange a collision between their vehicles and one driver making excessive claims for damage and non existent injuries to themselves and the passengers that they had arranged to be "in the vehicle" at the time of the collision. Another recent development has seen crashes being caused delibarately by a driver "slamming" on their brakes so that the driver behind impacts them, this is usually carried out at roundabout junctions, when the following driver is looking to the right for oncoming traffic and does not notice that the vehicle in front has suddenly stopped for no reason.
The regulations for vehicle insurance differ with each of the 50 US states and other territories (see separate main article).
Vehicle insurance can cover some or all of the following items:
- The insured party (medical payments)
- The insured vehicle (physical damage)
- Third parties (car and people, property damage and bodily injury)
- Third party, fire and theft
- In some jurisdictions coverage for injuries to persons riding in the insured vehicle is available without regard to fault in the auto accident (No Fault Auto Insurance)
- The cost to rent a vehicle if yours is damaged.
- The cost to tow your vehicle to a repair facility.
Different policies specify the circumstances under which each item is covered. For example, a vehicle can be insured against theft, fire damage, or accident damage independently.
An excess payment, also known as a deductible, is a fixed contribution that must be paid each time a car is repaired with the charges billed to an automotive insurance policy. Normally this payment is made directly to the accident repair "garage" (the term "garage" refers to an establishment where vehicles are serviced and repaired) when the owner collects the car. If one's car is declared to be a "write off" (or "totaled"), then the insurance company will deduct the excess agreed on the policy from the settlement payment it makes to the owner.
If the accident was the other driver's fault, and this fault is accepted by the third party's insurer, then the vehicle owner may be able to reclaim the excess payment from the other person's insurance company.
A compulsory excess is the minimum excess payment the insurer will accept on the insurance policy. Minimum excesses vary according to the personal details, driving record and the insurance company.
To reduce the insurance premium, the insured party may offer to pay a higher excess (deductible) than the compulsory excess demanded by the insurance company. The voluntary excess is the extra amount, over and above the compulsory excess, that is agreed to be paid in the event of a claim on the policy. As a bigger excess reduces the financial risk carried by the insurer, the insurer is able to offer a significantly lower premium.
Basis of premium charges
Depending on the jurisdiction, the insurance premium can be either mandated by the government or determined by the insurance company, in accordance with a framework of regulations set by the government. Often, the insurer will have more freedom to set the price on physical damage coverages than on mandatory liability coverages.
When the premium is not mandated by the government, it is usually derived from the calculations of an actuary, based on statistical data. The premium can vary depending on many factors that are believed to have an impact on the expected cost of future claims. Those factors can include the car characteristics, the coverage selected (deductible, limit, covered perils), the profile of the driver (age, gender, driving history) and the usage of the car (commute to work or not, predicted annual distance driven).
On 1 March 2011, the European Court of Justice decided insurance companies who used gender as a risk factor when calculating insurance premiums were breaching EU equality laws. The Court ruled that car-insurance companies were discriminating against men.
Teenage drivers who have no driving record will have higher car insurance premiums. However, young drivers are often offered discounts if they undertake further driver training on recognized courses, such as the Pass Plus scheme in the UK. In the US many insurers offer a good-grade discount to students with a good academic record and resident-student discounts to those who live away from home. Generally insurance premiums tend to become lower at the age of 25. Some insurance companies offer "stand alone" car insurance policies specifically for teenagers with lower premiums. By placing restrictions on teenagers' driving (forbidding driving after dark, or giving rides to other teens, for example), these companies effectively reduce their risk.
Senior drivers are often eligible for retirement discounts, reflecting the lower average miles driven by this age group. However, rates may increase for senior drivers after age 65, due to increased risk associated with much older drivers. Typically, the increased risk for drivers over 65 years of age is associated with slower reflexes, reaction times, and being more injury-prone.
U.S. driving history
In most U.S. states, moving violations, including running red lights and speeding, assess points on a driver's driving record. Since more points indicate an increased risk of future violations, insurance companies periodically review drivers' records, and may raise premiums accordingly. Laws vary from state to state, but most insurers allow one moving violation every three to five years before increasing premiums. Accidents affect insurance premiums similarly. Depending on the severity of the accident and the number of points assessed, rates can increase by as much as twenty to thirty percent. Any motoring convictions should be disclosed to insurers, as the driver is assessed by risk from prior experiences while driving on the road.
Statistics show that married drivers average fewer accidents than the rest of the population so policy owners who are married often receive lower premiums than single persons.
Two of the most important factors that go into determining the underwriting risk on motorized vehicles are: performance capability and retail cost. The most commonly available providers of auto insurance have underwriting restrictions against vehicles that are either designed to be capable of higher speeds and performance levels, or vehicles that retail above a certain dollar amount. Vehicles that are commonly considered luxury automobiles usually carry more expensive physical damage premiums because they are more expensive to replace. Vehicles that can be classified as high performance autos will carry higher premiums generally because there is greater opportunity for risky driving behavior. Motorcycle insurance may carry lower property-damage premiums because the risk of damage to other vehicles is minimal, yet have higher liability or personal-injury premiums, because motorcycle riders face different physical risks while on the road. Risk classification on automobiles also takes into account the statistical analysis of reported theft, accidents, and mechanical malfunction on every given year, make, and model of auto.
Some car insurance plans do not differentiate in regard to how much the car is used. There are however low-mileage discounts offered by some insurance providers. Other methods of differentiation would include: over-road distance between the ordinary residence of a subject and their ordinary, daily destinations.
Reasonable distance estimation
Another important factor in determining car-insurance premiums involves the annual mileage put on the vehicle, and for what reason. Driving to and from work every day at a specified distance, especially in urban areas where common traffic routes are known, presents different risks than how a retiree who does not work any longer may use their vehicle. Common practice has been that this information was provided solely by the insured person, but some insurance providers have started to collect regular odometer readings to verify the risk.
Cents Per Mile Now (1986) advocates classified odometer-mile rates, a type of usage-based insurance. After the company's risk factors have been applied, and the customer has accepted the per-mile rate offered, then customers buy prepaid miles of insurance protection as needed, like buying gallons of gasoline (litres of petrol). Insurance automatically ends when the odometer limit (recorded on the car's insurance ID card) is reached, unless more distance is bought. Customers keep track of miles on their own odometer to know when to buy more. The company does no after-the-fact billing of the customer, and the customer doesn't have to estimate a "future annual mileage" figure for the company to obtain a discount. In the event of a traffic stop, an officer could easily verify that the insurance is current, by comparing the figure on the insurance card to that on the odometer.
Critics point out the possibility of cheating the system by odometer tampering. Although the newer electronic odometers are difficult to roll back, they can still be defeated by disconnecting the odometer wires and reconnecting them later. However, as the Cents Per Mile Now website points out:
As a practical matter, resetting odometers requires equipment plus expertise that makes stealing insurance risky and uneconomical. For example, to steal 20,000 miles [32,200 km] of continuous protection while paying for only the 2000 in the 35000 to 37000 range on the odometer, the resetting would have to be done at least nine times, to keep the odometer reading within the narrow 2,000-mile [3,200 km] covered range. There are also powerful legal deterrents to this way of stealing insurance protection. Odometers have always served as the measuring device for resale value, rental and leasing charges, warranty limits, mechanical breakdown insurance, and cents-per-mile tax deductions or reimbursements for business or government travel. Odometer tampering, detected during claim processing, voids the insurance and, under decades-old state and federal law, is punishable by heavy fines and jail.
Under the cents-per-mile system, rewards for driving less are delivered automatically, without the need for administratively cumbersome and costly GPS technology. Uniform per-mile exposure measurement for the first time provides the basis for statistically valid rate classes. Insurer premium income automatically keeps pace with increases or decreases in driving activity, cutting back on resulting insurer demand for rate increases and preventing today's windfalls to insurers, when decreased driving activity lowers costs but not premiums.
In 1998, the Progressive Insurance company started a pilot program in Texas, in which drivers received a discount for installing a GPS-based device that tracked their driving behavior and reported the results via cellular phone to the company. Policyholders were reportedly more upset about having to pay for the expensive device than they were over privacy concerns. The program was discontinued in 2000. In following years many policies (including Progressive) have been trialed and successfully introduced worldwide into what are referred to as Telematic Insurance. Such 'telematic' policies typically are based on black-box insurance technology, such devices derive from stolen vehicle and fleet tracking but are used for insurance purposes. Since 2010 GPS-based and Telematic Insurance systems have become more mainstream in the auto insurance market not just aimed at specialised auto-fleet markets or high value vehicles (with an emphasis on stolen vehicle recovery). Modern GPS-based systems are branded as 'PAYD' Pay As You Drive insurance policies, 'PHYD' Pay How You Drive or since 2012 Smartphone auto insurance policies which utilise smartphones as a GPS sensor.
The Progressive Corporation launched Snapshot to give drivers a customized insurance rate based on recording how, how much, and when their car is driven. Snapshot is currently available in 38 US states. Driving data is transmitted to the company using an on-board telematic device. The device connects to a car's OnBoard Diagnostic (OBD-II) port (all petrol automobiles in the USA built after 1996 have an OBD-II.) and transmits speed, time of day and number of miles the car is driven. There is no GPS in the Snapshot device, so no location information is collected. Cars that are driven less often, in less-risky ways, and at less-risky times of day, can receive large discounts. Progressive has received patents on its methods and systems of implementing usage-based insurance and has licensed these methods and systems to other companies.
Insurance companies have started using credit ratings of their policyholders to determine risk. Drivers with good credit scores get lower insurance premiums, as it is believed that they are more financially stable, more responsible and have the financial means to better maintain their vehicles. Those with lower credit scores can have their premiums raised or insurance canceled outright. It has been shown that good drivers with spotty credit records could be charged higher premiums than bad drivers with good credit records.
The use of non-intrusive load monitoring to detect drunk driving and other risky behaviors has been proposed. A US patent application combining this technology with a usage based insurance product to create a new type of behavior based auto insurance product is currently open for public comment on peer to patent. See Behavior-based safety. Behaviour based Insurance focusing upon driving is often called Telematics or Telematics2.0 in some cases monitoring focus upon behavioural analysis such as smooth driving.
||The examples and perspective in this section deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (September 2012)|
Auto repair insurance is an extension of car insurance available in all 50 of the United States that covers the natural wear and tear on a vehicle, independent of damages related to a car accident.
Some drivers opt to buy the insurance as a means of protection against costly breakdowns unrelated to an accident. In contrast to more standard and basic coverages such as comprehensive and collision insurance, auto repair insurance does not cover a vehicle when it is damaged in a collision, during a natural disaster or at the hands of vandals.
For many it is an attractive option for protection after the warranties on their cars expire.
Providers can also offer sub-divisions of auto repair insurance. There is standard repair insurance which covers the wear and tear of vehicles, and naturally occurring breakdowns. Some companies will only offer mechanical breakdown insurance, which only covers repairs necessary when breakable parts need to be fixed or replaced. These parts include transmissions, oil pumps, pistons, timing gears, flywheels, valves, axles and joints.
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