How to Lower Car Insurance Costs

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One of the best ways to keep your auto insurance costs down is to have a good driving record.

Listed below are other things you can do to lower your insurance costs.

1. Shop around

Prices vary from company to company, so it pays to shop around. Get at least three price quotes. You can call companies directly or access information on the Internet. Your state insurance department may also provide comparisons of prices charged by major insurers. (State insurance department phone numbers and Web sites can be found on the back cover.)

You buy insurance to protect you financially and provide peace of mind. It?s important to pick a company that is financially stable. Check the financial health of insurance companies with rating companies such as A.M. Best (www.ambest.com) and Standard & Poor?s (www.standardandpoors.com/ratings) and consult consumer magazines.

Get quotes from different types of insurance companies. Some sell through their own agents. These agencies have the same name as the insurance company. Some sell through independent agents who offer policies from several insurance companies. Others do not use agents. They sell directly to consumers over the phone or via the Internet.

Don?t shop by price alone. Ask friends and relatives for their recommendations. Contact your state insurance department to find out whether they provide information on consumer complaints by company. Pick an agent or company representative that takes the time to answer your questions. You can use the checklist on the back of this brochure to help you compare quotes from insurers.

2. Before you buy a car, compare insurance costs

Before you buy a new or used car, check into insurance costs. Car insurance premiums are based in part on the car?s price, the cost to repair it, its overall safety record and the likelihood of theft. Many insurers offer discounts for features that reduce the risk of injuries or theft. To help you decide what car to buy, you can get information from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (www.iihs.org).

3. Ask for higher deductibles

Deductibles are what you pay before your insurance policy kicks in. By requesting higher deductibles, you can lower your costs substantially. For example, increasing your deductible from $200 to $500 could reduce your collision and comprehensive coverage cost by 15 to 30 percent. Going to a $1,000 deductible can save you 40 percent or more. Before choosing a higher deductible, be sure you have enough money set aside to pay it if you have a claim.

4. Reduce coverage on older cars

Consider dropping collision and/or comprehensive coverages on older cars. If your car is worth less than 10 times the premium, purchasing the coverage may not be cost effective. Auto dealers and banks can tell you the worth of cars. Or you can look it up online at Kelley?s Blue Book (www.kbb.com). Review your coverage at renewal time to make sure your insurance needs haven?t changed.

5. Buy your homeowners and auto coverage from the same insurer

Many insurers will give you a break if you buy two or more types of insurance. You may also get a reduction if you have more than one vehicle insured with the same company. Some insurers reduce the rates for long-time customers. But it still makes sense to shop around! You may save money buying from different insurance companies, compared with a multipolicy discount.

6. Maintain a good credit record

Establishing a solid credit history can cut your insurance costs. Most insurers use credit information to price auto insurance policies. Research shows that people who effectively manage their credit have fewer claims. To protect your credit standing, pay your bills on time, don?t obtain more credit than you need and keep your credit balances as low as possible. Check your credit record on a regular basis and have any errors corrected promptly so that your record remains accurate.

7. Take advantage of low mileage discounts

Some companies offer discounts to motorists who drive a lower than average number of miles per year. Low mileage discounts can also apply to drivers who car pool to work.

8. Ask about group insurance

Some companies offer reductions to drivers who get insurance through a group plan from their employers, through professional, business and alumni groups or from other associations. Ask your employer and inquire with groups or clubs you are a member of to see if this is possible.

9. Seek out other discounts

Companies offer discounts to policyholders who have not had any accidents or moving violations for a number of years. You may also get a discount if you take a defensive driving course. If there is a young driver on the policy who is a good student, has taken a drivers education course or is away at college without a car, you may also qualify for a lower rate.

When you comparison shop, inquire about discounts for the following:*

Antitheft Devices
Auto and Homeowners Coverage with the Same Company
College Students away from Home
Defensive Driving Courses
Drivers Ed Courses
Good Credit Record
Higher deductibles
Low Annual Mileage
Long-Time Customer
More than 1 car
No Accidents in 3 Years
No Moving Violations in 3 Years
Student Drivers with Good Grades

*The discounts listed may not be available in all states or from all insurance companies.

The key to savings is not the discounts, but the final price. A company that offers few discounts may still have a lower overall price.

Reviewed by:

Federal Citizen Information Center
www.pueblo.gsa.gov

National Consumers League
www.nclnet.org

Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, USDA
www.csrees.usda.gov

Distracted Driving On The Rise

Courtesy of iii.org

  • Activities that take drivers? attention off the road, including talking or texting on mobile devices, eating, conversing with passengers and other distractions, are a major safety threat.
  • In 2014, 3,179 people died in distraction-affected crashes, based on National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) criteria.
  • The number of state legislatures passing measures that address the problem of driver distractions continues to rise. Fourteen states and the District of Columbia ban the use of hand-held cellphones while driving; 46 states and the District of Columbia have banned the practice of texting while driving.
  • A 2012 Consumer Reports survey found that 71 percent of respondents cut back on texting, talking on a handheld phone or using a smartphone while driving in the previous year. Over 50 percent of them said they were influenced to change their behavior because of state laws, up from 44 percent in a survey conducted in 2011.

THE TOPIC

Increased reliance on electronic devices has led to a rise in their use by drivers, jeopardizing the safety of vehicle occupants and pedestrians. There are two dangers associated with driving and the use of electronic devices. First, drivers must take their eyes off the road and hands off the wheel to manipulate the devices when dialing, texting and surfing the Web. Second, people can become so absorbed in their conversations and other uses that their ability to concentrate on the act of driving is severely impaired. Since the first law was passed in New York in 2001 banning hand-held cellphone use while driving, there has been debate as to the exact nature and degree of hazard. The latest research shows that using a cellphone when driving is just one of many types of distracted driving that may lead to crashes and near crashes.

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

  • Statistics: 2014: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that distracted driving was reported in crashes that killed 3,179 people in 2014. These fatalities accounted for 10 percent of all traffic crash fatalities in 2014.
  • NHTSA reports that there were an estimated 2,955 distraction-affected fatal crashes in 2014. An estimated 431,000 people were injured in distraction-affected crashes in 2014, up 1.7 percent from 2013.
  • In 2014, there were 2,955 distraction-affected fatal crashes, accounting for 10 percent of all fatal crashes in the nation, 18 percent of injury crashes and 16 percent of all police-reported motor vehicle crashes.
  • There were 385 crashes in 2014 that were reported to have involved the use of cell phones as a distraction. Cell phones were reported as a distraction for 13 percent of all distracted drivers in fatal crashes.
  • In 2014, 404 people died in fatal crashes that involved the use of cellphones or other cellphone-related activities as distractions.
  • Research: The following is a summary of some recent research on the issue of distracted driving.
  • A Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) analysis released in October 2014 found that although state bans on hand-held phone use by drivers have lowered phone use behind the wheel, they have not produced a similar drop in crashes. The study involved looking at the findings of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration programs conducted from April 2010 to April 2011 in Hartford, Connecticut, and Syracuse, New York, aimed at reducing talking or texting on hand-held phones. Both states ban hand-held phone use and texting. At the end of the program, researchers found that the number of drivers observed using a hand-held cellphone fell 57 percent in Hartford and 32 percent in Syracuse. HLDI analysts then compared collision claims in the counties where the cities are located–Syracuse (Onondaga County) and Hartford (Hartford County)–with the comparison counties of Albany County, New York, and Fairfield County, Connecticut, and the rest of New York and Connecticut for the period of January 1, 2009 through October 31, 2011. The analysis found no corresponding reduction in crashes reported to insurers from the program counties relative to the comparison counties. HLDI provides possible reasons for the bans’ lack of effect on accidents, including the possibility that drivers may have been distracted by something else or that drivers may have switched to hands-free calling and still may have been distracted by their conversations.
  • The analysis confirms some of the results of an earlier HLDI study, released in September 2010, that found that texting bans may not reduce crash rates. The study looked at collision claims patterns in four states?California, Louisiana, Minnesota and Washington?before and after text bans went into effect. Collisions went up slightly in all the states, except Washington, where the change was statistically insignificant. Adrian Lund, president of HLDI and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, said that the findings “call into question the way policymakers are trying to address the problem of distracted driving crashes. They’re focusing on a single manifestation of distracted driving and banning it. This ignores the endless sources of distraction and relies on banning one source or another to solve the whole problem.”
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention latest Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey, released in June 2014, shows that about 41.4 percent of high school students reported that they texted or emailed from behind the wheel at least once during the previous 30 days. The highest rate of texting or emailing while driving, 61.3 percent, was among teens in South Dakota. The lowest rate, 32.3 percent, was among teens in Massachusetts. The survey is conducted every two years, but this year was the first time the 13,000 participants were asked about texting and emailing while driving.
  • In May 2014 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a study, “The Economic and Society Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes, 2010,” which focuses on behavioral factors that contributed to 32,999 highway fatalities and 3.9 million injuries in the U.S. in 2010. The study found that those crashes cost $277 billion in economic losses and $594 billion in societal harm, for a total of $871 billion that year. A breakdown of the figures for economic losses show crashes involving distracted driving accounted for 17 percent ($46 billion).
  • Drowsiness is a type of distracted driving that causes more than 100,000 motor vehicle crashes a year, resulting in 40,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A 2010 AAA Traffic Safety Foundation survey found that one in four drivers have struggled to stay awake while driving. An estimated 17 percent of fatal crashes, 13 percent of crashes resulting in hospitalization and 7 percent of all crashes requiring a tow, involve a drowsy driver, according to the AAA. Driver fatigue is of particular concern regarding operators of large trucks. In 2010 fatigue was a factor in 34 percent of fatal collisions involving drivers of large trucks, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
  • A survey conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center published in the June 2013 issue of Consumer Report found that state laws that ban the use of a handheld cellphones or texting while driving in many states are effective. The December 2012 survey of 1,003 people found that 71 percent of respondents had stopped or cut back on texting, talking on a handheld phone or using a smartphone while driving in the previous year. Over 50 percent of them said they were influenced to change their behavior because of state laws, up from 44 percent in a survey conducted in 2011. The survey also found that about 25 percent of drivers were unsure of their own state’s laws.
  • In March 2013 a survey was published in the latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report that confirms that confirmed that the problem of distracted driving is not improving. The survey looked at both U.S. drivers and drivers in seven European countries. The study found that almost seven in 10 American drivers ages 18 to 64 said they had talked on their phones while behind the wheel in the past 30 days, and about three in 10 said they had sent text messages. The practice of driving and using cellphones appears to be far less common in the European nations surveyed. In the U.K., for example, which has strict laws regarding cellphone use while driving, only 21 percent of drivers admitted to having used a cellphone.
  • State and Federal Initiatives: In 2011 the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended that all states prohibit drivers from using cellphones, the first federal agency to call for a complete ban on telephone conversations from behind the wheel. Although the NTSB has no enforcement authority as the federal government’s leading advocate for safety, its recommendations are influential in Congress and the White House.
  • The number of state legislatures debating measures that address the problem of cellphone use while driving and other driver distractions continues to rise. As of December 2015, most states have passed laws to address the problem of using a cellphone while driving. Fourteen states?California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Washington state, West Virginia?and the District of Columbia had laws on the books banning the use of hand-held cellphones while driving, according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. Almost all of the laws have “primary enforcement” provisions, meaning a motorist may be ticketed for using a hand-held cellphone while driving without any other traffic offense taking place, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
  • Also as of December 2015, 46 states and the District of Columbia banned the practice of texting with a cellphone while driving. Most of these laws have primary enforcement provisions. The Utah law, passed in May 2009, is the toughest in the nation. Offenders convicted of causing an accident that injures or kills someone while texting behind the wheel face up to 15 years in prison. The law does not consider a crash caused by a multitasking driver as an accident but rather as an inherently reckless act, like drunk driving.
  • New Technology: A number of cellphone companies are considering developing technology that will prevent people from receiving calls and texting while driving. The technology is intended to limit dangerous distractions by temporarily interrupting service so that people do not answer their phones when they are behind the wheel. One carrier has already introduced a service that automatically disables rings and alerts and sends calls to voice mail when phones are in a moving car. Some safety advocates said that it is unclear whether consumers would avail themselves of the technologies or whether the technologies would be effective.
  • Insurance Coverage: Most mobile cellular service providers offer insurance for loss, theft, accidental damage and out of warranty malfunctions for a monthly fee. A report by iGR Research in May 2012 found that about 27 percent of respondents in a survey of over 1,000 U.S. consumers said they currently carry insurance on their devices.
  • Court Decisions: In May 2012 a Nueces County, Texas, jury, awarded over $22 million to a woman who suffered a spinal injury when her car was hit by a Coca-Cola employee who was talking on her cellphone. The award included more than $11.5 million for lost wages, medical expenses and pain and suffering as well as $10 million in punitive damages against Coca-Cola. The defendant was on a business call, using a hands-free cellphone. Plaintiffs’ lawyers argued that Coca-Cola was aware of studies that show that the danger of cellphone use is not limited to handheld devices, but continued to back a hands-free cellphone use policy for its employees. The case at issue is Chatman-Wilson v. Cabral.

Distracted Driving – Statistics And Facts

Drivers everywhere continue to enjoy the benefits of low gas prices, and what are they doing to celebrate? They are driving more. It?s less costly to take a road trip now, rather than fly to another destination, so more drivers are taking to the streets. More cars on the road increase the number of traffic crashes which, in turn, translates into higher auto insurance rates.

Insurance rates are the cost of claims ? and if the cost of individual claims rises and the number of claims rise, so must insurance to cover those increased costs. In 2012, the Florida Legislature passed reforms to the state?s no-fault auto insurance law, which were intended to reduce some of the fraud and abuse that led to higher rates. The reforms did work, as both the frequency of claims and the average cost of each claim dropped steadily ? until the first part of 2015 when they started trending upward again. The timing of the uptick is no coincidence, and there are two causes: rising employment and falling gas prices. In January of 2015, gasoline prices were the lowest they?ve been in six years. The numbers of people in the workforce is also on the rise. More people working and driving means more collisions.

An opinion column says traffic accidents are on the rise and distractions are to blame. The National Safety Council estimated that motor-vehicle deaths in Florida for 2015 increased 18 percent compared to 2014. Florida crash statistics for the first quarter of this year are 13 percent higher than the same time period in 2015.

Our major cities seem to be increasingly congested. The bigger the county, the higher number of distracted driving crashes. Insurance rates reflect that trend.

Factors Determine Your Auto Insurance Rates

Drivers everywhere continue to enjoy the benefits of low gas prices, and what are they doing to celebrate? They are driving more. It?s less costly to take a road trip now, rather than fly to another destination, so more drivers are taking to the streets. More cars on the road increase the number of traffic crashes which, in turn, translates into higher auto insurance rates.

Insurance rates are the cost of claims ? and if the cost of individual claims rises and the number of claims rise, so must insurance to cover those increased costs. In 2012, the Florida Legislature passed reforms to the state?s no-fault auto insurance law, which were intended to reduce some of the fraud and abuse that led to higher rates. The reforms did work, as both the frequency of claims and the average cost of each claim dropped steadily ? until the first part of 2015 when they started trending upward again. The timing of the uptick is no coincidence, and there are two causes: rising employment and falling gas prices. In January of 2015, gasoline prices were the lowest they?ve been in six years. The numbers of people in the workforce is also on the rise. More people working and driving means more collisions.

An opinion column says traffic accidents are on the rise and distractions are to blame. The National Safety Council estimated that motor-vehicle deaths in Florida for 2015 increased 18 percent compared to 2014. Florida crash statistics for the first quarter of this year are 13 percent higher than the same time period in 2015.

Our major cities seem to be increasingly congested. The bigger the county, the higher number of distracted driving crashes. Insurance rates reflect that trend.

Understanding Auto Insurance Premiums

Courtesy of http://www.iii.org/article/what-determines-price-my-auto-insurance-policy

The average yearly auto insurance premium is around $800, but there is wide variation around this average. Many factors can affect your premium, and they all help determine how likely you are to have an accident. Perhaps surprisingly, many of them do a better job than just your driving record. Not all companies use all of these factors, and some might use factors not listed here. Your premium may depend on, in no particular order:

  • Your driving record.

The better your record, the lower your premium. If you have had accidents or serious traffic violations, it is likely you will pay more than if you have a clean driving record. You may also pay more if you are a new driver and have not been insured for a number of years.

  • How much you use your car.

The more miles you drive, the more chance for accidents. If you drive your car for work, or drive it a long distance to work, you will pay more. If you drive only occasionally?what some companies call “pleasure use”, you will pay less.

  • Where your car is parked and where you live.

Where you live and where the car is parked can affect the cost of your insurance. Generally, due to higher rates of vandalism, theft and accidents, urban drivers pay a higher auto insurance price than those in small towns or rural areas.

Other factors that vary from one area or state to another are: cost and frequency of litigation; medical care and car repair costs; prevalence of auto insurance fraud; and weather trends.

  • Your age.

In general, mature drivers have fewer accidents than less experienced drivers, particularly teenagers. So insurers generally charge more if teenagers or young people below age 25 drive your car.

  • Your gender.

As a group, women tend to get into fewer accidents, have fewer driver-under-the-influence accidents (DUIs) and most importantly less serious accidents than men. So, all other things being equal, women generally pay less for auto insurance than men. Of course, over time individual driving history for both men and women will have a greater impact on what they pay for auto insurance.

  • The car you drive.

Some cars cost more to insure than others. Variables include the likelihood of theft, the cost of the car itself is major rate factor, the cost of repairs, and the overall safety record of the car. Engine sizes, even among the same makes and models, can also impact insurance premiums. Cars with high quality safety equipment might qualify for premium discounts.

Insurers not only look at how safe the car is to drive and how well it protects occupants, they also look at the potential damage a car can inflict on another car. If a specific car has a higher chance of inflicting damage on another car and its occupants, some insurers may charge more for liability insurance.

  • Your credit.

For many insurers, credit-based insurance scoring is one of the most important and statistically valid tools to predict the likelihood of a person filing a claim and the likely cost of that claim. Credit-based insurance scores are based on information like payment history, bankruptcies, collections, outstanding debt and length of credit history. For example, regular, on-time credit card and mortgage payments affect a score positively, while late payments affect a score negatively.

  • The type and amount of coverage.

In virtually every state, by law you must buy a minimum amount of liability insurance. The state required limits are generally very low and most people should consider purchasing much more than the state requirement?the recommended amount of liability protection is about ten times the average state minimum. If you have a new or recent model of car, you likely will also buy comprehensive and collision coverage, which pays for damage to your car due to weather, theft or physical damage to the car such as being hit by a tree. Comprehensive and collision coverages are subject to deductibles; the higher the deductible, the lower your auto insurance premium. While there is no legal requirement to purchase these coverages, if you finance the purchase of the car or you lease it you may be required by contract.

Perhaps just as important, insurers NEVER use race or religion to set rates. Such practices are illegal. Insurers believe them to be abhorrent as well.

Learn About Insurance & Rental Cars

Many drivers don’t think about their insurance coverage until after they have an accident and call their insurance company to file a claim to help pay for car repairs, a rental car and other expenses.

Unfortunately, many insured drivers are surprised to find out that their auto insurance does not automatically cover the cost of a replacement rental car after an accident. Since the average car is in the repair shop for two weeks after an accident, it can cost as much as $500 to rent a replacement car. But, some insured drivers pay little or nothing to rent a car because of an inexpensive but often overlooked option known as rental reimbursement.

Rental reimbursement coverage is available for only $1 or $2 a month with almost every auto insurance policy, but it is bypassed frequently by those who believe they will not have a car accident or those shopping only for the lowest cost premium. The cost of a rental replacement car adds up fast, so even if you don’t have an accident for eight or nine years, the coverage pays for itself when you need it most.

Sometimes working out the details of a claim with the auto insurance company can take time. Even if the accident is the other driver’s fault, you may have to wait several days or longer to get the other insurance company to agree to pay for a rental car. With your own coverage, there is no waiting.

How is Your Auto Insurance Calculated?

The average yearly auto insurance premium is almost $800, but there is wide variation around this average. Many factors can affect your premium, and they all help determine how likely you are to have an accident. Perhaps surprisingly, many of them do a better job than just your driving record. Not all companies use all of these factors, and some might use factors not listed here. Your premium may depend on, in no particular order:

  • Your driving record.

The better your record, the lower your premium. If you have had accidents or serious traffic violations, it is likely you will pay more than if you have a clean driving record. You may also pay more if you are a new driver and have not been insured for a number of years.

  • How much you use your car.

The more miles you drive, the more chance for accidents. If you drive your car for work, or drive it a long distance to work, you will pay more. If you drive only occasionally?what some companies call “pleasure use”, you will pay less.

  • Where your car is parked and where you live.

Where you live and where the car is parked can affect the cost of your insurance. Generally, due to higher rates of vandalism, theft and accidents, urban drivers pay a higher auto insurance price than those in small towns or rural areas.

Other factors that vary from one area or state to another are: cost and frequency of litigation; medical care and car repair costs; prevalence of auto insurance fraud; and weather trends.

  • Your age.

In general, mature drivers have fewer accidents than less experienced drivers, particularly teenagers. So insurers generally charge more if teenagers or young people below age 25 drive your car.

  • Your gender.

As a group, women tend to get into fewer accidents, have fewer driver-under-the-influence accidents (DUIs) and most importantly less serious accidents than men. So, all other things being equal, women generally pay less for auto insurance than men. Of course, over time individual driving history for both men and women will have a greater impact on what they pay for auto insurance.

  • The car you drive.

Some cars cost more to insure than others. Variables include the likelihood of theft, the cost of the car itself is major rate factor, the cost of repairs, and the overall safety record of the car. Engine sizes, even among the same makes and models, can also impact insurance premiums. Cars with high quality safety equipment might qualify for premium discounts.

Insurers not only look at how safe the car is to drive and how well it protects occupants, they also look at the potential damage a car can inflict on another car. If a specific car has a higher chance of inflicting damage on another car and its occupants, some insurers may charge more for liability insurance.

  • Your credit.

For many insurers, credit-based insurance scoring is one of the most important and statistically valid tools to predict the likelihood of a person filing a claim and the likely cost of that claim. Credit-based insurance scores are based on information like payment history, bankruptcies, collections, outstanding debt and length of credit history. For example, regular, on-time credit card and mortgage payments affect a score positively, while late payments affect a score negatively.

  • The type and amount of coverage.

In virtually every state, by law you must buy a minimum amount of liability insurance. The state required limits are generally very low and most people should consider purchasing much more than the state requirement?the recommended amount of liability protection is about ten times the average state minimum. If you have a new or recent model of car, you likely will also buy comprehensive and collision coverage, which pays for damage to your car due to weather, theft or physical damage to the car such as being hit by a tree. Comprehensive and collision coverages are subject to deductibles; the higher the deductible, the lower your auto insurance premium. While there is no legal requirement to purchase these coverages, if you finance the purchase of the car or you lease it you may be required by contract.

Car Rental and Your Insurance

If renting a car is part of your summer vacation plans, the good news is you have a lot of options, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I).

“You can now rent a car by the week, day or hour, from almost any location, or even sign up for a car-sharing service for a quick getaway to the country or the beach,” said Jeanne M. Salvatore, senior vice president and chief communications officer for the I.I.I. “While these rental options mean more choices for consumers, it also means more questions about insurance coverage.”

In order to financially protect yourself while avoiding wasting money on duplicate coverages, the I.I.I. recommends that you make two important calls before you rent:

Your Insurance Professional

If you own a car, find out how much coverage you already have. In most cases, whatever insurance and deductibles provided by your auto policy would apply to a rental car, providing you are using the car for recreation, not business. However, if you have dropped either comprehensive or collision on your own car as a way to reduce costs, you will not be covered if your rental car is stolen or damaged in an accident.

Check to see whether your insurance company pays for administrative fees, loss of use or towing charges. Some insurance companies may provide an insurance rider to cover some of these costs, which would make it less expensive than purchasing coverage through the rental car company. Keep in mind, however, that in most states diminished value (the reduction in a vehicle’s market value that occurs after a vehicle is damaged and then repaired), is not covered by insurers.

If you do not own a car and are a frequent renter, ask about a non-owner liability policy. This would provide liability insurance when you either rent or borrow another person’s car.

Your Credit Card Company

Most credit card companies provide some level of insurance for rental cars?to find out the details of what is covered, call the toll-free number on the back of the credit card you will be using to rent the car and ask them to send you rental car coverage information in writing. In most cases, credit card benefits are secondary to either your personal auto insurance policy or the insurance coverage offered by the rental car company.

Insurance benefits differ widely by both the credit card company and/or the bank that issues the card, as well as by the level of credit card used. Credit cards generally do not provide personal liability coverage. Some credit card companies may provide coverage for towing, but may not provide for diminished value or administrative fees.

Read the I.I.I.’s Rental Car Insurance article for detailed information on how to insure a rental car from a brick-and-mortar car rental service, a car sharing service or a peer-to-peer rental site?as well as for guidance on deciding what coverage you need and what you can safely decline.

RELATED LINKS

Video: Rental Car Insurance

The Impact of Self Driving Cars and Insurance

Some aspects of insurance will be impacted as autonomous cars become the norm. There will still be a need for liability coverage, but over time the coverage could change, as suggested by the 2014 RAND study on autonomous vehicles, as manufacturers and suppliers and possibly even municipalities are called upon to take responsibility for what went wrong. RAND says that product liability might incorporate the concept of cost benefit analysis to mitigate the cost to manufacturers of claims. Coverage for physical damage due to a crash and for losses not caused by crashes but by wind, floods and other natural elements and by theft (comprehensive coverage) is less likely to change but may become cheaper if the potentially higher costs to repair or replace damaged vehicles is more than offset by the lower accident frequency rate. The number of vehicle-related workers compensation claims, now responsible for a large but decreasing portion of claim costs according to the National Council on Compensation Insurance, should continue to drop as will the share of healthcare and disability insurance costs related to auto accidents.
Regulation: Insurance is state-regulated. Each jurisdiction has its own set of rules and regulations for auto insurance (and so far for self-driving cars). Basically, there are two kinds of liability systems. In some states liability is based on the no-fault concept, where insurers pay the injured party regardless of fault, and in others it is based on the tort system. But there are many important differences among the states in the regulations that now exist within each category, see report on No-Fault Auto Insurance. Will the auto insurance system change to be more uniform with the arrival of self-driving vehicles and will the federal government play a larger role? If car manufacturers are required to accept more responsibility for damage and injuries, they might push for a greater role for the federal government to eliminate some of the cost of complying with the rules of 51 jurisdictions.
Underwriting: Initially, many of the traditional underwriting criteria, such as the number and kind of accidents an applicant has had, the miles he or she expects to drive and where the car is garaged, will still apply, but the make, model and style of car may assume a greater importance. The implications of where a car is garaged and driven might be different if there are areas set aside, such as dedicated lanes, for automated driving.
During the transition to wholly autonomous driving, insurers may try to rely more on telematics devices, known as “black boxes,” that monitor driver activity. Some drivers may object to them based on concerns about privacy. Usage-based insurance policies, which depend on data about the driver’s behavior submitted by an electronic device in the driver’s car, have attracted a smaller than expected percentage of the driving population, possibly because people do not want to be monitored. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, use of telematics is forecast to grow to up to 20 percent within the next five years.  
Liability: As cars are become increasingly automated the onus might be on the manufacturer to prove it was not responsible for what happened in the event of a crash. The liability issue may evolve so that lawsuit concerns do not drive manufacturers and their suppliers out of business.
RAND has suggested some kind of no-fault auto insurance system. Others foresee something akin to the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, a no-fault compensation program for vaccine recipients who suffer a serious adverse reaction when vaccinated. The legislation was passed in 1986 in response to the threat that life-saving vaccines might become scarce or even unavailable if manufacturers, overwhelmed by claims of injury, scaled back or terminated production.
Repair Costs: While the number of accidents is expected to drop significantly as more crash avoidance features are incorporated into vehicles, the cost of replacing damaged parts is likely to increase because of the complexity of the components. It is not yet clear whether the reduction in the frequency of crashes will lead to a reduction in the cost of crashes overall.   
Automobile ownership appears to be on the decline, and more people in urban areas are opting for public transportation and shared rides. Some people wonder whether when all vehicles are self-driving anyone will actually own a car. Cars may belong to a company, municipality or other group and may be parked away from the center of the community in a location from which they can be summoned by phone.
A study by the University of Texas at Austin of how the advent of autonomous cars may change vehicle ownership found that each shared autonomous vehicle (SAV) replaced about 11 conventional vehicles. The study assumed that only 5 percent of trips would be made by SAVs.

Part 2 Self Driving Cars

Self-driving cars are definitely on the way, but it may be some time before we are all being conveyed by fully automated vehicles.
Most accidents are caused by human error so if this factor can be minimized by taking control of the moving vehicle away from the driver, the accident rate should tumble. Data from the Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) already show a reduction in property damage liability and collision claims for cars equipped with forward-collision warning systems, especially those with automatic braking. The exact percentage varied depending on the car manufacturer.
Among the major automakers testing self-driving cars are Audi, Ford, Mercedes, Nissan, Toyota and Volvo. The cars have some ability to travel without the driver intervening but only in certain situations, such as low speed stop-and-go highway traffic. Slow speeds give the car’s computers more time to process information and react.
Experts vary as to when the changeover to self-driving cars will occur. A transport scholar at the University of Minnesota believes that by 2030 every car on the road will be driverless. Driverless shuttles are already being tested on some university campuses in Europe.
An automotive study by IHS, a global information company, titled “Emerging Technologies: Autonomous Cars—Not If But When” forecasts that self-driving cars that include driver control will be on highways around the globe before 2025 and self-driving “only” cars by 2030. Nearly all of the vehicles in use are likely to be self-driving cars or self-driving commercial vehicles sometime after 2050, it says. The study notes two major technology risks, software reliability and cyber-security.
We do not yet know how the driving public will react to the vehicles that come on the market. For most drivers there will be a steady progression from a minimally or semi-automated car to the next level. A Status Report from HLDI suggests that it could take as long as three decades for 95 percent of all registered cars to be equipped with crash avoidance systems. Forward-collision warning systems have been available since 2000, HLDI says, and if they follow their current trajectory, they will not be available in most cars until 2049.
In addition, some people who enjoy driving and do not want control to be taken from them may resist the move to complete automation. Already there are some who say they refrain from using the cruise control feature because they prefer to maintain control themselves.
The risk of an accident is unlikely to be completely removed since events are not totally predictable and automated systems can fail. In addition, the transition from hands-off driving to hands-on promises to be tricky.
The need for drivers to control the car in an emergency is fraught with questions, not just those involved in the automotive technology. What kind of training will people need to safely handle these semi-autonomous vehicles? How well prepared will drivers be to handle emergencies when the technology returns control to the driver? How will beginning drivers gain the necessary experience and how will experienced drivers stay sharp enough when they are only infrequently called upon to react?
Autonomous cars have been compared to airplanes on auto-pilot. But while a pilot and a driver both need to be able to make split-second decisions, there are likely to be fewer times when this skill is called upon in a plane than in a car and, in addition, the pilot is highly trained in how to interact with the automated system.
Thanks to iii.org