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Auto Insurance FAQs

September 18, 2019

Robust listing to all the questions you may have about the potentially confusing world of auto insurance.

Auto Insurance and Rideshare

Shopping for Auto Insurance

Where can I buy car insurance?

Today’s market gives you plenty of options for purchasing car insurance. There are hundreds of insurers out there, so you can pick which company and which plans suits your needs and your budget.

You can purchase a car insurance plan online, in person at an agent’s local office, or over the phone. Rideshare drivers specifically are looking to Buckle for their insurance, because they can get total coverage at a better price.

How much does car insurance cost?

The cost of car insurance is typically determined by the following factors:

  • Where you live
  • Your personal information, such as age, sex, and marital status
  • Your driving history
  • How much you drive
  • The car you drive
  • Your credit
  • The coverage you choose

Rates also vary amongst insurance companies, which is why it is important for you to shop around and get quotes before making a decision. Nationally, the average cost of car insurance is $1,457 a year, which comes out to about $121 a month. However, this cost can range widely from state to state. Rideshare drivers typically pay significantly more.

This is where Buckle really differs from the competition for rideshare insurance. We are not concerned with credit history. We are more interested in your driving record and rideshare rating to determine your insurance cost. We are helping more and more rideshare drivers get total coverage at a better price.

Is car insurance mandatory?

Car insurance is legally required in 48 of the 50 states. However, the amount of coverage you need varies, so it is important to be aware of your state’s minimum requirements. For example, some states may only require liability coverage, while others may require liability coverage and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

The two states that do not require insurance are New Hampshire and Virginia. However, if you do purchase auto insurance in New Hampshire, there are minimum coverage requirements. If you choose not to be insured in Virginia, you pay the state an annual fee of $500.

As a rideshare driver, you are required to carry the minimum car insurance requirements for your state to drive.

When should I buy car insurance?

The best time to purchase auto insurance is before your start driving, because you want to make sure you’re covered anytime you’re on the road. Furthermore, if you are buying a car, most dealerships require proof of insurance before they authorize the sale.

Does my vehicle affect my car insurance rates?

Yes. The make, model, and year of your vehicle can affect your insurance rates. This is calculated based on the market value of your car and the accident rate of people who drive the same model.

How much car insurance do I need?

The amount of coverage you need depends on your state’s requirements. To find out the minimum coverage requirements in your state, go to your state’s DMV site. You can also ask an insurance agent about your state’s requirements while you’re shopping for an insurance plan.

At Buckle, we help you get the total coverage you need as a rideshare driver. Our insurance coverage fills all the gaps and protects you both personally and commercially.

What is gap insurance?

In the event that your car is totaled, gap insurance pays for the difference between what your insurance company will pay for the cost of the car and what you owe on the car.

For example, if your car is valued at $15,000, but you still owe $4,000 on your auto loan, gap insurance will cover that difference. That being said, you really only need gap insurance if your car is financed.

Gap insurance is pretty affordable, averaging at about $20 a month. If you are looking to get gap insurance, make sure to ask your insurance company if they offer it or if you qualify for it. Some insurance companies only offer gap insurance for brand new vehicles, while others don’t offer it at all.

What is an SR-22?

SR-22, commonly called SR-22 insurance, is a form of insurance companies have to submit to the government to verify that “high-risk” drivers are adequately insured.

This form is only needed for drivers who have had their driver’s license suspended/revoked and are in the process of reinstating their driving privileges.

Do I need rideshare insurance?

If you drive for a rideshare company, like Uber or Lyft, then it is a good idea to get rideshare insurance. This is because a personal insurance policy may not cover damage to your vehicle if you are operating it for business purposes.

Many major insurance companies have started offering rideshare endorsement, which is basically just a fancy addition to your coverage to make it more expensive. Buckle offers total coverage for rideshare drivers that fills all the gaps. Buckle is the complete rideshare insurance solution that covers you both personally and commercially.

Can I get car insurance if I don’t own a car?

Yes. You can get car insurance if you don’t own a car through a non-owner car insurance policy. This is a good option if you don’t own a car but drive other people’s cars often.

Typically, these policies come with standard liability coverage and may allow you to add on additional medical and underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage.

Non-owner insurance policies don’t usually come with collision or comprehensive coverage options since there isn’t a vehicle to cover.

Do I need different insurance for other types of vehicles?

If you have another type of vehicle such as a commercial truck, motorcycle, ATV or RV, then you need a specialized insurance policy to cover it.

Many insurance companies offer coverage for these types of vehicles, so just make sure to check while you’re shopping for plans. Buckle only offers rideshare insurance for cars, SUVs, and trucks.

How long does it take to get an insurance quote?

You can get an insurance quote within a few minutes if you shop online or contact an agent directly.

When you shop online with Buckle, the quoting process is simple and quick. When you request an Uber car insurance quote or a Lyft insurance quote, you login with your Uber or Lyft profile and fill out some additional information. Within a few minutes you have a quote for total coverage at a better price than the competition.

What happens if I lie about my driving history?

Insurance companies have access to your driving history, so if you’re thinking about lying about your driving history, you should reconsider.

If an insurance company finds out that you were dishonest, they have the right to deny your claim, cancel your policy, or raise your premium.

You should also be aware that lying to an insurance company is considered insurance fraud, a crime that could make it difficult to obtain insurance in the future.

What happens if I don’t get auto insurance?

If you do not get auto insurance, then you are at financial risk in the event of an accident. This means you must pay for any damages done to your vehicle or another vehicle in an accident out of pocket.

Furthermore, if you live in a state where insurance is required, then you have broken the law. If you are caught driving without insurance, you face getting a ticket and a suspended license. Depending on the state, the fine ranges from $25 to $5,000, and 44 out of the 48 states that require insurance will suspend your license.

When you finance a vehicle, you are typically required by your lender to have insurance. If you fail to provide proof that the vehicle is insured, your lender has the right to repossess the vehicle or force insurance.

Will my gender affect my premium rates?

Sort of. First, how your gender affects your rates depends on the insurance company. Each insurer has their own way of determining rates based on gender.

That being said, many insurance companies use research based on driver behaviors to help them set rates. Research finds that more men drive than women, thus more men are involved in accidents. Therefore, rates are generally higher for men than women.

Buckle is less concerned about gender than traditional insurance companies. We are more focused on your driving record and driver rating when determining your monthly premiums.

Does my credit score really affect my premiums?

Unless you live in California, Massachusetts, or Hawaii, then yes. Insurance companies use research based on driver behaviors to determine rates, and research has found that drivers with lower credit scores tend to have a higher accident rate. Of course, the research doesn’t have an answer as to why this is or whether it’s even a fair correlation to observe, but insurance companies have been using credit scores to determine rates for about 20 years.

Insurance companies do not use traditional FICO or Experian credit scores, though. They take your credit score and plug it into their own model to rate your credit score.

Buckle does not care about your credit score. It’s not a great determining factor for rideshare driver risk, so we don’t use it.

Will having a parking ticket on my driving history raise my premium?

Parking tickets don’t affect your insurance rate but moving violations usually do, depending on the insurance company and how many moving violations you have.  

My car is 20 years old. Will the insurance still cover it?

Yes, insurance will still cover your vehicle. For the most part, insurance is cheaper for older vehicles. However, that still depends on the kind of car you have. If you have an imported car with expensive parts, then it might cost more.

Will auto insurance companies share my information with each other?

The short answer is no. If you are shopping for auto insurance, then auto insurance companies will not share the information you provide them with other companies.

However, certain information is shared through a national database. This includes your driving history. If you have ever made a false claim to a previous insurance company, and they found out and reported you, then other insurance companies have access to this information. Likewise, your claim history is also shared.

So, insurance companies don’t share personal information with each other, but information about your driving history is shared.

Don’t let this worry you, though. Insurance companies evaluate this information differently. While some insurance companies may give you a sky-high premium for having an accident on your record, others might be more forgiving.

Why do some car insurance companies ask for your VIN when you request a quote?

Asking for a VIN makes it easier for an insurance company to pull up specific information about your vehicle, information you might not know off the top of your head. By having as much information about vehicle as possible, insurance companies are able to give you a more accurate insurance quote.

This is also a measure of security. By pulling up the vehicle’s VIN, insurance companies can make sure the car is not reported as stolen or has a salvage title on it.

Furthermore, many states require insurance companies to report an existing insurance policy along with the insured vehicle’s VIN so law enforcement can better identify uninsured vehicles.

Will my red car make my insurance bills more expensive?

No. Depending on your insurance company, your rate is generally affected by your vehicle’s make and model. This myth most likely started because at one point in time, a high number of high-performance vehicles on the road were red.

If you have a sporty car, your rates are usually higher than, say, a regular sedan. This is because:

The trim and parts added to sports cars are more expensive to replace or repair than standard parts.

Sports cars are more likely to be involved in speed-related accidents.

How can I get an insurance discount?

There are a number of ways you can get discounts on your car insurance premium, including:

  • Affiliation discounts. This is when you’re affiliated with a certain organization or group. Groups can include active military members, federal employees, educators, etc.
  • Student discounts. There are different kinds of student discounts, but the most common are good student discounts, college student discounts, and college alumni discounts.
  • Good driver discounts. Many insurance companies will reward drivers with no moving violations or accidents with a good driver discount. Discounts can also be offered to drivers who voluntarily complete a driver’s ed course.
  • Low mileage discounts. This discount can be offered to drivers who drive less than a certain number of miles a year. The number varies by insurance company, but the theory is the less you drive, the less at risk you are.

At Buckle, we give you the best rate with total persona & commercial at a price better than the competition, every time. They can give you all the discounts they can think of, but they are still not going to beat our price.

Car Insurance Policies

What does auto insurance cover?

Your coverage depends on the plan you purchase. However, auto insurance can cover the damages from a collision, vandalism, theft, or even damage caused by weather.

Simply put, car insurance is designed to cover any damages you cause to another vehicle and damages done to your vehicle.

With Buckle Rideshare Insurance, we fill the gaps when driving commercially for rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft. Our total coverage policy covers when you are driving personally and when you are driving commercially.

Are there different insurance coverage types?

Yes. The different coverages include:

  • Property Damage (PD) Liability: This covers damage you cause to another vehicle in a collision.
  • Bodily Injury Liability: This covers bodily harm you cause to another driver or passenger in another vehicle in a collision.
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP): This covers medical expenses and other related costs, such as making up for lost wages during treatment.
  • Collision Coverage: This covers damage done to your vehicle in a collision, regardless of fault.
  • Comprehensive Coverage: This covers damage done to your vehicle from something not caused by a collision. Situations include theft, damage caused by weather, or hitting an object such as a light pole.
  • Uninsured and Underinsured MotoristCoverage: If you are hit by a driver who does not have insurance or a driver who doesn’t have sufficient coverage to pay for the damages to your vehicle, then uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage can pay for the damages.

What does car insurance not cover?

Car insurance does not cover any costs related to general wear and tear or maintenance. For example, if your leather seats begin to crack over time, car insurance will not cover the cost of reupholstery.

Furthermore, car insurance will not cover the cost of a new tire if you happen to run over a nail or experience a blowout. However, parts such as tires and batteries may come with warranties than can help cover the cost of replacement.

Does my car insurance cover other drivers?

This depends on your policy. Your policy may include an “omnibus” clause, which covers any driver who has permission to use your vehicle.

Furthermore, if a driver involved in an accident in your vehicle is insured under their own plan, then your insurance will provide the primary coverage and their insurance will provide secondary coverage.

Can I put anyone on my policy?

Yes, you can add anyone to your policy as a driver, regardless of your relation to them. For example, if your roommate borrows your car often, then it would be a good idea to put them on your policy.

Adding a driver to your policy means that driver is covered the same way you are in case of an accident while driving your vehicle. So, if an added driver gets involved in an accident while driving your vehicle, they can file a claim and follow through with the process of getting the damage repaired without involving you.

You should be aware, however, that an added driver’s driving history will increase your rates.

Can you pay for auto insurance once a month or annually?

Your insurance premium can be paid in full or divided into monthly payments. Many policies are provided for a 6-month term, rather than an annual term, but you can still pay for the total amount upfront.

What happens if I forget to pay my premium?

If you forget to pay your premium, then your policy lapses. This basically means you don’t have insurance, but if it’s only been a few days since your payment was due, just call your insurance agent. You can then explain the situation and pay your premium. It usually takes a few days for your policy to lapse after non-payment, so you should be ok.

However, if you are caught driving with a lapsed policy, then you face the same consequences as if you didn’t have insurance at all. See question 14.

What is an insurance deductible?

A deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket before your coverage kicks in. For example, if your deductible is $500 and the damages cost $4,000 to fix, then you must pay $500 towards the cost of repairs and your insurance company will pay the remaining $3,500.

The deductible amount is determined by the policy you purchase and can range from $250 to $1,000. Your insurance agent will usually ask you how much you want your deductible to be, because your deductible amount affects your monthly premium. The lower your deductible, the higher your monthly payments will be.

Can I deduct my auto insurance from my taxes?

If you were not at fault, then you can write off the loss you suffered on your taxes. However, it’s not as simple as deducting the cost of repairs.

You have to figure out how much your vehicle’s value decreased because of the loss. This is tricky to figure out on your own, but you can always contact your insurance company and ask them to have an adjuster calculate your loss for you.

As a rideshare driver, auto insurance is a deductible business expense, so you can make sure to deduct your Buckle insurance cost every month for tax purposes.

Can I change my coverage whenever I want?

Typically, you can make changes to your policy whenever you want. Just be aware that your insurance agent must readjust your premium. If your new premium is cheaper than your previous one, your insurance company will reimburse you the difference.

If you paid your premium upfront and your plan is now more expensive, you will just have to pay the insurance company the money you owe for the new coverage. If you are paying monthly, then your monthly payments will increase.

Does my auto policy cover a rental vehicle?

It depends on your coverage, but most policies do cover damage to a rental vehicle as long as you were the authorized driver on the rental.

Can an auto insurance company deny you service?

Yes. There are a few reasons an insurance company might deny your application:

  • You have too many traffic tickets.
  • You have a lot of at-fault accidents.
  • Depending on the state you live in, you are too old or too young.
  • You have a bad credit score. (Not with Buckle!)
  • You have a “high-risk” vehicle, such as a sports car or very expensive model.
  • You don’t live within the insurer’s coverage area.
  • You have been reported for insurance fraud in the past.

Auto Insurance Claims

If I’m driving someone else’s car and get in an accident, whose insurance do I use?

Assuming the other person has car insurance and gave you permission to drive their vehicle, you would use their insurance first.

This is because that car is insured under their name. You would only use your insurance as secondary coverage—that is, if they do not have enough coverage to pay for the damages.

However, if you were involved in a collision with another vehicle and were not at fault, then you won’t have to worry about whose insurance to use. The other driver would be liable.

How long does it take to file a claim?

How long the process of filing a claim takes depends on the nature of the claim, but it usually takes a 15 to 30-minute phone call to file the initial claim. After the initial claim is made, a claims agent will contact you within the next couple of days to investigate further.

The time it takes for an investigation can vary. However, if you’re honest and clear about what happened, then the investigation should be over within a couple of weeks.

After the investigation, your insurance company will pay out the damages. Most insurance companies aim to have the claim closed out within 30 days of filing.

When can an auto insurance company deny your accident claims?

An insurance company can deny your claim for a few reasons:

  • You don’t have the coverage needed to pay for the damage.
  • The insurance company has reason to believe the information provided was fraudulent.
  • You were driving illegally, which can include:
  • Driving under the influence
  • Driving without a valid license

Will my auto insurance pay to have my stolen car replaced?

It depends on the coverage you have. If you have a comprehensive coverage plan, then the plan will typically cover the Actual Cash Value (ACV) of your car. Your car’s ACV is determined by an insurance adjuster, who measures the value of your car’s factory parts.

Comprehensive coverage is designed to cover any damage to your vehicle that is not caused by a collision. Even if you recover your car after it is stolen, comprehensive coverage will pay for any damage done to your car.

Will car insurance cover scratches made when clearing ice off my car?

If you have comprehensive coverage, then yes. Comprehensive coverage is designed to cover any accidental damage done to your vehicle that is not the result of a collision.

In this case, the damage was not intentional, which is why comprehensive coverage can cover it. However, it may not be worth it to file a claim if repairing the damage costs less than your deductible.

Do I have to tell my car insurance company I totaled my vehicle?

You do not have to make a claim if you totaled your vehicle. Usually, you wouldn’t want to make a claim for this situation if your policy doesn’t cover damage to your vehicle.

However, at some point, you will have to remove the vehicle from your insurance policy. In this case, the insurance company might ask why you’re removing it. It is always best to be honest, so you don’t get in trouble for misrepresenting facts later on.

Furthermore, if a police report was filed, then that report might be put on your driving record, depending on the state you live in. In this case, insurance companies would have access to this information anyway.

If an excluded driver takes my car without consent and crashes will my insurer pay?

Unfortunately, no. Coverage does not extend to any driver who is listed as excluded on your policy, regardless of whether they had your consent. Car insurance companies don’t consider a vehicle stolen if the driver is named as excluded on your policy because of the very fact that they have been named on your policy.

If my insurer’s total loss payment didn’t pay off my loan can I file a second claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer?

Unfortunately, insurance companies will only pay you the car’s fair market value at the time of the accident. No insurance company will pay you more than the fair market value of the car simply because you owed more money on it than it was worth.

Furthermore, once the insurer pays out on your car, you will almost always be required to sign the car over to them. Therefore, you no longer own the vehicle, and you cannot file a claim on a vehicle you’re not driving.

This means you cannot recoup further losses through either insurance company. If you are financing your vehicle, then you should consider getting gap insurance. Gap insurance will cover the difference between the fair market value of the car and how much you owe on it in the event of a total loss.

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