Personal Injury Protection 101

The following is a guest post from Neil Richardson, an advisor for The Zebra, the nation’s largest car insurance comparison marketplace.

When it comes to car insurance, most people are familiar with coverage for injury and damage that you might cause to someone else (liability), and also damage to your vehicle (commonly, comprehensive + collision = ”full coverage”). However, there is another important aspect to car insurance that drivers need to know about as well: Injury coverage for you and your passengers.

personal_injury_protection

Commonly referred to as PIP for brevity’s sake, personal injury protection covers medical bills resulting from injuries that you or your passengers suffer in the event of a crash, regardless of fault. Since PIP coverage amounts vary by state and situation, you will want to ask your agent which options are available to you. If PIP isn’t available in your state, then you’ll likely have the option to choose Medical Payments coverage.

Both PIP and Medical Payments coverage are similar, though PIP typically provides a much broader spectrum of coverage. Whereas Medical Payments covers only medical bills for you and your passengers, PIP will often extend to cover additional things like work loss, funeral expenses and essential services, and even death benefit in some cases.

You should especially consider carrying PIP or additional medical on your policy if:

  • You are someone who drives often with passengers since you could potentially be held liable for their injuries from an at-fault accident. Even if your passengers don’t want to file a lawsuit against you for their medical bills, having this additional coverage on your policy will provide a major benefit to anyone riding in your vehicle.
  • You don’t have health insurance or if you have an extremely high deductible on your health plan. In emergency situations, your auto insurance will kick in immediately to provide medical coverage (assuming you have it added to your policy) rather than having to worry about covering the deductible on your health insurance.

If you live in a state that requires PIP, then you will have the minimum amount of coverage included on your policy. However, in most cases, you can also increase this limit to better protect yourself (much like you can with other coverage options). As with anything concerning auto insurance, if you aren’t sure of your options you should always ask your agent for clarification. Ultimately, your safest bet is to carry as much coverage as you can afford, and PIP is something you should strongly consider adding if you don’t already have it included on your policy.

Editor’s Note: Metromile offers this coverage for all policies, so if you’d like to add this protection, you can do so when choosing coverage levels in your insurance quote. If you are a current customer and would like to add this coverage, just give our customer support team a call (888-244-1702) and we’ll take care of everything for you.

Demystifying Your Car Insurance Policy

The following is a guest blog from Neil Richardson, an advisor for The Zebra, the nation’s largest car insurance comparison marketplace.

When you are purchasing car insurance, you’re sure to come across many documents containing all sorts of information. No, they’re not actually written in Greek, but sometimes it may seem they are. Do you need to do anything with these pages? Which documents are important? Will you need to print any of them? We’re here to clear up the details of your car policy contract and let you know which documents are most important.

insurance_documents

We’ll start with the most commonly recognized document in your policy packet which is your insurance ID card. This is your legal, state-required* proof of insurance document and it’s normally what you show a police officer if you happen to be pulled over. Each insurance company’s ID card looks slightly different and may vary in certain details but they all contain:

  • Name of the insurance company
  • Policy period (start and end date of your coverage)
  • Policy number
  • Policy holder’s name
  • Vehicle(s) covered on the policy

*Currently all states allow their residents to use digital proof of insurance except Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Virginia, and Washington D.C.

Another document in your policy packet is the declarations page. You’ll want to hold onto this and store it as a record of your coverage. This document is essentially the invoice of your policy and contains several crucial pieces of information: (more…)

Comprehensive & Collision Coverage 101

The following guest post is written by Neil Richardson, an advisor for The Zebra, which is the nation’s largest car insurance comparison marketplace. An insurance nerd through and through, Neil has helped tens of thousands of customers understand and secure auto insurance with his expertise and unique knack for translating complex industry jargon into plain English.

When you are insuring a valuable asset like your vehicle, you want to be aware of the ins and outs of your policy before you give your payment information, not at a crucial time like a claim. “Full coverage” is often used as a blanket statement to describe an insurance policy with comprehensive and collision coverage, but it isn’t that simple. Understanding your coverage before something happens will help you avoid a potentially disastrous outcome like being stranded on the road because you thought your “full coverage” policy provided roadside assistance or medical coverage when it may not.

collision_coverage

So, What Is “Comprehensive and Collision” Anyway?

Physical damage coverage, which is the part of your auto policy that covers your vehicle, is described as “comprehensive and collision.” Technically, they are two separate types of coverage, though they are often coupled, and they extend beyond state minimum liability insurance requirements (which cover the other driver in a collision).

When you finance a vehicle, you are required to carry both comprehensive and collision coverage, and this is normally when you will be told that you need a “full coverage” policy. Lenders require this coverage in addition to the state minimum because it will cover your vehicle against damage due to accidents (collision coverage) and many scenarios other than accidents (comprehensive coverage), which is important to those lenders since you don’t yet own the car outright.

Comprehensive coverage is a catch-all for incidents that aren’t considered “accidents” like hail, flooding, or vandalism damage. When getting an insurance quote, you will need to choose a deductible amount. If you are financing your vehicle, then you will want to confirm what deductible option you are required to carry based on your loan paperwork. The option you select is the amount that you agree to cover (read: pay) if you have to file a claim. Once your deductible has been paid, then the insurance company will fix the remaining amount of damage.

The Art of Selecting Your Deductible

Most people who have comprehensive and collision on their policy will carry $500 deductibles, but there are many other deductible options which typically range from $250-$1,000. The total cost of an insurance policy is often largely dependent on the deductible selected. The lower the deductible, the more expensive the policy, but also the less you will have to pay if something happens to your car. Most agents will let you know what the difference in premium looks like among the options so you can decide which one makes the most sense for your situation.

Did you know that a number of insurance companies (including Metromile) also allow you to select individual deductible options for comprehensive and collision? Generally speaking, collision coverage is much more expensive than comprehensive, so you may consider having a $500 deductible for collision but select a $250 option for comprehensive and only see a slight difference in your premium. The important thing to keep in mind is that you have options. Editor’s note: If you are considering switching to Metromile, our licensed agents are happy to help determine the best coverage and deductibles for your needs!

3 Great Apps for Your Summer Road Trip

 

The following is a guest post from Jaime Netzer, editor of The Zebra’s Quoted blog.

Summer road trip season is officially upon us. This year, AAA estimated that 37.2 million Americans kicked off their Memorial Day weekend with a road trip. But traveling today doesn’t have to mean long games of license plate bingo and boredom, or hoping for the next town’s gas to be a bit cheaper—there are a slew of apps available to change all that. If you want to make your summer road trip as tech-savvy as it is fun, we’ve got three apps to download—stat.

 

Road Trip Driving Apps

 

Three Great Travel Apps

1. Waze
Quoted first wrote about Waze back in December, around holiday road trip time: “The community-driven app gathers complementary map data and traffic information from other users and uses it to estimate your best possible route. Waze users can report everything from accidents, traffic jams, speed and police traps, even the cheapest gas prices. As a result, you no longer have to rely solely on the red line—instead, you can lean on your fellow drivers.” Waze even provides alerts to locations of police along the way, so you can mind your speed when it counts most. And maybe the best news from Waze yet? Arnorld Schwarzenegger’s Terminator will soon command drivers in the app, timed with an upcoming film release. Think, “Turn left if you want to live.”

2. Inroute
Inroute is an intelligent route and road trip planner—it helps you find the best possible route based on “weather, elevation, curviness, daylight and places along the route.” Especially if you’re seeing your summer road trip as more of a journey through places rather than as direct-a-line-as-possible *to* a place, Inroute might be exactly what you need. Also, by knowing what to expect beforehand, you’ll feel both safer and better prepared for what lies ahead. Features include charts of sunrise and sunset times, the ability to search for gas, hotels, campgrounds, or places to eat close to a route, and the ability to easily reorder “waypoints”, either automatically, for the fastest route, or manually.

3. Songza
When you can’t handle yet another song on the Taylor Swift Pandora station, switch the tunes over to Songza and prepare to be delightfully surprised. You can search for music using time of day, allowing the app to play personal music concierge, or by mood or genre. The best part? Songza is completely free, and there are no advertisements, either. Found the perfect playlist? Save it and then share with your friends via Facebook, Twitter, or email. Songza has thousands of original playlists handmade by music experts, so you no longer have to play backseat DJ—there’s an app for that.

Note from Metromile: We also recommend using Metromile’s smart driving app! It gives important insights into your daily driving and car health. If you aren’t already a per-mile insurance customer you can sign up here to receive a free Metromile Tag*
*Note: The Metromile Tag is available in CA, WA, OR and IL and in cars built after 1996. Per-mile insurance customers still must use the Metromile Pulse, which plugs into the car’s OBD-II port.