Self-Driving Cars are Coming Soon

Each new generation of cars is equipped with more automated features and crash avoidance technology. Indeed, many of today’s high-end cars and some mid-priced ones already have options, such as blind-spot monitoring, forward-collision warnings and lane-departure warnings. These will be the components of tomorrow’s fully automated vehicles. At least one car manufacturer has promised to have fully automated cars available by the end of the decade.
Except that the number of crashes will be greatly reduced, the insurance aspects of this gradual transformation are at present unclear. However, as crash avoidance technology gradually becomes standard equipment, insurers will be able to better determine the extent to which these various components reduce the frequency and cost of accidents. They will also be able to determine whether the accidents that do occur lead to a higher percentage of product liability claims, as claimants blame the manufacturer or suppliers for what went wrong rather than their own behavior. Liability laws might evolve to ensure autonomous vehicle technology advances are not brought to a halt.
RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has found that improvements in design and safety technology have led to a lower fatality rate in accidents involving late model cars. The likelihood of a driver dying in a crash of a late model vehicle fell by more than a third over three years, and nine car models had zero fatalities per million registered vehicles. Part of the reason for the lower fatality rate might also stem from the weak economy, which led to reduced driving, the IIHS said.
The IIHS attributed the lower death rate to the adoption of electronic stability control, which has reduced the risk of rollovers, and to side airbags and structural changes that improve occupant safety. However, the IIHS said, there was a wide gap between the safest and the least safe models, with the riskiest cars mostly small lower cost models.
General Motors will offer a super cruise system with hands-free automated driving on freeways that have proper lane markings by 2016. However, drivers will have to be ready to take over control of the vehicle and cars will be fitted with a device designed to alert the driver to pay attention even during highway driving. Toyota said it plans to offer crash-avoidance technology in Toyota and Lexus models by 2017. Daimler is now offering a system on certain models that allows a car to brake, accelerate and remain in its lane without human intervention at speeds of under 16 miles an hour.
Google, the company that has been the public face of self-driving cars in the United States for the past few years, announced in May 2014 that it is building a fleet of vehicles without a steering wheel or role for a driver because its technology has not been able to successfully switch control back and forth from automated driving to the driver in an emergency and does not expect to be able to accomplish that soon. The prototype will have a top speed of 25 mph and will be summoned by a smartphone, in effect serving as an automated taxi service. Other companies building autonomous cars said that they will continue to work on vehicles that will be able to safely make that switch. Volvo says that it expects to have its cars tested on city streets by ordinary drivers by 2017. However, experts say the size and the cost of the sensors powered by lasers used to steer the driverless cars must be reduced before such cars can be put into mass production.
A survey by IEEE, a technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for humanity, of more than 200 experts in the field of autonomous vehicles found that of six possible roadblocks to the mass adoption of driverless, these three were ranked as the biggest obstacles: legal liability, policymakers and consumer acceptance. Cost, infrastructure and technology were seen as less of a problem. When respondents were asked to specify the year in which some of today’s commonplace equipment will be removed from mass-produced cars, the majority said that rear view mirrors, horns and emergency brakes will be removed by 2030, and steering wheels and gas/brake pedals will follow by 2035.
In February 2014 federal agencies approved vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications systems that will allow cars to “talk” to each other so that they know where other vehicles are and can compensate for a driver’s inability to make the right crash avoidance decisions because of blind spots or fast moving vehicles. V2V communication uses a very short range radio network that, in effect, provides a 360-degree view of other vehicles in close proximity. The Department of Transportation estimates that safety systems using V2V communications will be able to prevent 76 percent of crashes on the roadway.
At the end of 2013 Michigan joined California, Florida, Nevada and the District of Columbia as jurisdictions that allow the testing of autonomous vehicles on public roads. Under the Michigan law, drivers of such vehicles must remain in the driver’s seat at all times while the vehicle is on the road so that they can take over in the event the technology fails or there is an emergency. In California, the Association of California Insurance Companies is advocating “for changes clarifying that the autonomous vehicle’s manufacturer retain all liability for damage, losses or injuries caused by the operation of these vehicles as required by the enabling law (SB 1298),” according to Property Casualty Insurer’s Association of America. Other states have considered such proposals. The U.S. Department of Transportation lets states allow limited testing of autonomous vehicles but not sales.
A study of the benefits self-driving vehicles by the RAND Corporation, released in early 2014, includes discussion of liability insurance options. It suggests that the concept behind no-fault auto insurance laws might become an attractive alternative to tort-based laws as the use of automated vehicles becomes more widespread. The study, “Autonomous Vehicle Technology: A Guide for Policymakers,” also discusses the possibility that product liability cases against manufacturers may inhibit the development of such technology, in which case, the study suggests, laws that incorporate some level of cost-benefit analysis may be adopted, based on the notion that the technology is more likely to reduce human error than to cause it.
Thanks to iii.org

Pro Auto Insurance Claim Tips

Learn some great tips on filing an auto insurance claim:

This holiday Car Hire Rip-offs

If you’re renting a car this holiday season, you have more choices than ever before. What hasn’t changed is the importance of protecting yourself with the right type and amount of insurance, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I).
Long gone are the days of simply renting a car by the day or week from the closest established rental car company. Now you can rent a car by the hour, from almost any location, or even use a car-sharing service to rent someone else’s personal vehicle.
“When it comes to car rental insurance, the more things change, the more they stay the same,” points out Jeanne M. Salvatore, senior vice president and chief communications officer for the I.I.I. “We have for years recommended consumers make two phone calls before renting a car. One to their insurance professional, and the other to the credit card issuer for the card being used to pay for the rental. That advice is still spot on and remains the best way to make sure you are properly protected.”
In order to make the best decision regarding your coverage, make these two calls:
1-To Your Insurance Professional
If you own a car, find out how much coverage you already have on it. In most cases, the insurance and deductibles provided by your auto policy would also 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 provide an insurance rider to cover some of these costs, which would make it less expensive than purchasing the 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.
2-To 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 coverage information in writing. In most cases, credit card benefits are secondary to either your personal auto insurance policy or the insurance 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. And they 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.
By law, rental companies must provide the state-required amount of liability insurance. Generally, these amounts are low and do not provide much protection.
RELATED LINKS
Thanks to iii.org Video: Rental Car Insurance, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1ei7wQqibA

Self-driving Cars are Coming with Insurance

THE TOPIC

Each new generation of cars is equipped with more automated features and crash avoidance technology. Indeed, many of today’s high-end cars and some mid-priced ones already have options, such as blind-spot monitoring, forward-collision warnings and lane-departure warnings. These will be the components of tomorrow’s fully automated vehicles. At least one car manufacturer has promised to have fully automated cars available by the end of the decade.

Except that the number of crashes will be greatly reduced, the insurance aspects of this gradual transformation are at present unclear. However, as crash avoidance technology gradually becomes standard equipment, insurers will be able to better determine the extent to which these various components reduce the frequency and cost of accidents. They will also be able to determine whether the accidents that do occur lead to a higher percentage of product liability claims, as claimants blame the manufacturer or suppliers for what went wrong rather than their own behavior. Liability laws might evolve to ensure autonomous vehicle technology advances are not brought to a halt.

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

  • General Motors will offer a super cruise system with hands-free automated driving on freeways that have proper lane markings by 2016. However, drivers will have to be ready to take over control of the vehicle and cars will be fitted with a device designed to alert the driver to pay attention even during highway driving. Toyota said it plans to offer crash-avoidance technology in Toyota and Lexus models by 2017. Daimler is now offering a system on certain models that allows a car to brake, accelerate and remain in its lane without human intervention at speeds of under 16 miles an hour.
  • Google, the company that has been the public face of self-driving cars in the United States for the past few years, announced in May 2014 that it is building a fleet of vehicles without a steering wheel or role for a driver because its technology has not been able to successfully switch control back and forth from automated driving to the driver in an emergency and does not expect to be able to accomplish that soon. The prototype will have a top speed of 25 mph and will be summoned by a smartphone, in effect serving as an automated taxi service. Other companies building autonomous cars said that they will continue to work on vehicles that will be able to safely make that switch. Volvo says that it expects to have its cars tested on city streets by ordinary drivers by 2017. However, experts say the size and the cost of the sensors powered by lasers used to steer the driverless cars must be reduced before such cars can be put into mass production.
  • A survey by IEEE, a technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for humanity, of more than 200 experts in the field of autonomous vehicles found that of six possible roadblocks to the mass adoption of driverless, these three were ranked as the biggest obstacles: legal liability, policymakers and consumer acceptance. Cost, infrastructure and technology were seen as less of a problem. When respondents were asked to specify the year in which some of today’s commonplace equipment will be removed from mass-produced cars, the majority said that rear view mirrors, horns and emergency brakes will be removed by 2030, and steering wheels and gas/brake pedals will follow by 2035.
  • In February 2014 federal agencies approved vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications systems that will allow cars to “talk” to each other so that they know where other vehicles are and can compensate for a driver’s inability to make the right crash avoidance decisions because of blind spots or fast moving vehicles. V2V communication uses a very short range radio network that, in effect, provides a 360-degree view of other vehicles in close proximity. The Department of Transportation estimates that safety systems using V2V communications will be able to prevent 76 percent of crashes on the roadway.
  • At the end of 2013 Michigan joined California, Florida, Nevada and the District of Columbia as jurisdictions that allow the testing of autonomous vehicles on public roads. Under the Michigan law, drivers of such vehicles must remain in the driver’s seat at all times while the vehicle is on the road so that they can take over in the event the technology fails or there is an emergency. In California, the Association of California Insurance Companies is advocating “for changes clarifying that the autonomous vehicle’s manufacturer retain all liability for damage, losses or injuries caused by the operation of these vehicles as required by the enabling law (SB 1298),” according to Property Casualty Insurer’s Association of America. Other states have considered such proposals. The U.S. Department of Transportation lets states allow limited testing of autonomous vehicles but not sales.
  • A study of the benefits self-driving vehicles by the RAND Corporation, released in early 2014, includes discussion of liability insurance options. It suggests that the concept behind no-fault auto insurance laws might become an attractive alternative to tort-based laws as the use of automated vehicles becomes more widespread. The study, “Autonomous Vehicle Technology: A Guide for Policymakers,” also discusses the possibility that product liability cases against manufacturers may inhibit the development of such technology, in which case, the study suggests, laws that incorporate some level of cost-benefit analysis may be adopted, based on the notion that the technology is more likely to reduce human error than to cause it.
  • Preliminary results from a study by Ron Actuarial Intelligence conducted for Israel’s ministry of finance found that collision avoidance systems in private cars resulted in a 45 percent reduction in bodily injury insurance claims. Using data from auto insurance policies issued between 2009 and 2012, the analysis separated out the influence of forward-collision warnings and lane-departure warnings from the impact of all other factors related to bodily injury claims frequency. The report says that the effect of such crash-avoidance systems on the seriousness or severity of claims is not yet clear.

BACKGROUND

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.

The Impact on 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. Thanks to iii.org

Do You Drive and …

Car insurance quotesActivities that take drivers’ attention off the road, including talking or texting on cellphones, eating, conversing with passengers and other distractions, are a major safety threat. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gauges distracted driving by collecting data on “distraction-affected crashes,” which focuses on distractions that are most likely to affect crash involvement such as dialing a cellphone or texting and being distracted by another person or an outside event. In 2012, 3,328 people were killed in distraction-affected crashes and 421,000 people were injured. In 2012, there were 3,050 distraction-affected fatal crashes, about the same as the 3,047 that occurred in 2011. The 3,050 distraction-affected fatal crashes in 2012 accounted for 10 percent of all fatal crashes in the nation, 18 percent of injury crashes and 16 percent of all motor vehicle crashes.

FATAL CRASHES AFFECTED BY DISTRACTED DRIVERS, 2012

Crashes Drivers Fatalities
Total fatal crashes 30,800 45,337 33,561
Distracted-affected (D-A) fatal crashes      
Number 3,050 3,119 3,328
Percent of total fatal crashes 10% 7% 10%
Cellphone in use in D-A fatal crashes
Number 378 394 415
Percent of fatal D-A crashes 12% 13% 12%

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

View Archived Tables

NHTSA says that in 2012, 12 percent of distraction-affected crashes occurred while a cell phone was in use, the same proportion as in 2011. The chart below shows driver hand-held phone use by age.

DRIVER HAND-HELD CELLPHONE USE BY AGE, 2004-2012

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

View Archived Graphs

NHTSA’s website, Distraction.gov has more information on distracted driving. “It Can Wait”, a public awareness campaign funded by four by wireless carriers, provides resources on the dangers of distracted driving, including “From One Second to the Next”, a film by director Werner Herzog profiling the victims of distracted driving. article courtesy of iii.org

Car Shares, Hourly Rentals and Other Options for Rented Rides

Car Shares, Hourly Rentals and Other New Options for Rented Rides

If you’re renting a car this summer, you have more choices than ever. What hasn’t changed is the importance of protecting yourself with the right type and amount of insurance, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I).

Long gone are the days of simply renting a car by the day or week from the closest established rental car company. Now you can rent a car by the hour, from almost any location, or even use a car-sharing service to rent someone else’s personal vehicle.

“When it comes to car rental insurance, the more things change, the more they stay the same,” points out Jeanne M. Salvatore, senior vice president and chief communications officer for the I.I.I. “We have for years recommended consumers make two phone calls before renting a car. One to their insurance professional, and another to the credit card issuer whose card will be used to pay for the car rental. That advice is still spot on and remains the best way to make sure you are properly protected when you rent a car.”

In order to make the best decision regarding your coverage, make these two calls:

To 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.

To 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 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. They 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.

By law, rental companies must provide the state-required amount of liability insurance. Generally, these amounts are low and do not provide much protection.

To read more on your other options click here to visit III.org

Eight Surprising Ways Comprehensive Auto Insurance Works For You

Eight Surprising Ways Comprehensive Auto Insurance Works For You
Auto Coverage
Even the most careful drivers occasionally get into accidents—that’s why auto insurance was created. But, your car can be damaged even if you’re not in a crash—which is why there’s comprehensive auto insurance. Comprehensive is an optional coverage, and without it, you might just be left holding the bag financially, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.). 
Simply put, comprehensive is coverage for events “other than collisions.” And here are eight things that you might not realize are covered by your comprehensive auto insurance policy.
1.     Earthquakes and Floods
Homeowners insurance policies may exclude earthquakes and flood, but your comprehensive auto insurance is truly comprehensive when it comes to disasters. Hurricanes, tornados, volcano eruptions, earthquakes and floods—they’re all covered.
2.     Fire, Even When Caused by a Car Defect
Vehicle fires occur every 96 seconds in the United States, according to the National Fire Protection Association, and although non-crash fires are rare, some are caused by electrical problems or a defective fuel system. Indeed, nearly every major car company has recalled one of its vehicles due to a fire-related defect. A new study from the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) shows the claim frequency for vehicles with fire-related defects—prior to a recall—is 23 percent higher than for other vehicles.
3.     Rodent Damage
A squirrel snuck into your garage and gnawed through your car’s wiring system? Unlike homeowners insurance, which excludes damage caused by pests, your comprehensive auto policy may provide coverage—check your policy carefully to be sure.
4.     Meteorites and Asteroids
OK, there’s a pretty slim chance your car will get hit by an asteroid, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility and if it happens, you would be covered by your comprehensive policy. More importantly, the coverage extends to almost any type of falling object—including hail, trees, the neighbor’s kid’s baseball….
5.     Riots
Unfortunately, every now and then a victory celebration or peaceful protest can get out of hand and morph into a full blown riot. If your car were to get caught in the middle, any damage resulting from the incident—from being flipped, or from such things as explosions, fire and smoke—would be covered. The same goes for acts of vandalism.
6.     Deer, Birds or Other Animal “Contact”
Watch out for that deer! An estimated 1.22 million deer-vehicle accidents occurred in the U.S. between July 1, 2012, and June 30, 2013. But deer aren’t the only animals that can damage your car. Bears have a habit of breaking into cars around national parks, looking for food that visitors leave behind. Your trail-mix supply might be a goner, but with comprehensive auto insurance, you won’t have to “bear” the damage alone.
7.     Theft
According to the FBI, more than $4.3 billion was lost to motor vehicle theft in 2012 and the average dollar loss per theft was $6,019. Nobody wants their car to be a crime statistic, but at least you would be covered if your car disappears in the night.
8.     Broken Windshield 
A cracked or shattered windshield is a fairly common occurrence. If a piece of gravel or other road debris suddenly puts a ding in your vehicle’s windshield while you’re driving, it can quickly spread and become a large and dangerous crack. In fact, in many states it is illegal to drive with acracked orbroken windshield. Not only is such damage covered by your comprehensive policy, many companies offer the option of no-deductible coverage for glass damage specifically.
Unlike liability insurance, which you must purchase by law in order to drive in most states, comprehensive insurance is an optional coverage.
Check with your insurance professional to find the best auto coverage for your situation—in many cases a policy that combines liability with comprehensive and collision coverage provides the full breadth of insurance coverage you need, especially on a newer car. Read More…

Does My Auto Insurance Cover Damage Caused By Potholes?

Does My Auto Insurance Cover Damage Caused By Potholes?

Auto Insurance
The good news is, yes, pothole damage is usually covered—providing you have collision coverage. Collision coverage, an optional portion of a standard auto insurance policy, covers damage to a car resulting from a collision with an object (e.g., a pothole, lamp post or guard rail), another car or as the result of flipping over. However, it does not cover wear and tear to a car or its tires due to bad road conditions.
Collision coverage is generally sold with a deductible—the higher your deductible, the lower your premium. Your collision coverage will reimburse you for the costs of repairing your car, minus the deductible.
Collision insurance is different from comprehensive insurance, which is also an optional coverage. Comprehensive coverage reimburses drivers for theft, vandalism, flooding and damage from fallen objects, such as trees.
A driver who hits another car, or a pedestrian, due to a pothole also will be covered by liability insurance, which is required to drive legally in every U.S. state except New Hampshire. Liability coverage applies to injuries that you, the policyholder or designated driver, cause to someone else.
Facts and Figures
Most motorists carry collision coverage on their vehicles. Indeed, 71 percent of U.S. drivers had collision coverage as of 2011, the most recent year for which the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has data.
The NAIC found that 76 percent of all drivers had comprehensive coverage in 2011. Read More…

Report on Car Safety and Size

Car Insurance and accidentsSometimes more is more … Minicars and subcompacts fared poorly in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s new and more stringent small-overlap frontal crash test—only one of the 11 models tested recently achieved an acceptable rating. Our backgrounder has more information about the history of the IIHS crash tests and vehicle accidents.

  • In 2012, 33,561 people died in motor vehicle crashes, up 3.3 percent from 32,479 in 2011, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

  • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for individuals between the ages of five and 34 (2010 data).

  • A motor vehicle death occurred on average every 16 minutes in 2012.

  • About 92 people died each day in motor vehicle crashes in 2012.

Lives Saved by Safety Devices

  • Airbags: Airbags are designed to inflate in moderate to severe frontal crashes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that frontal airbags saved 2,204 lives in 2011. Airbags, combined with seatbelts, are the most effective safety protection available for passenger vehicles. Seatbelts alone reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent. The fatality-reducing effectiveness for airbags is 14 percent when no seatbelt is used and 11 percent when a seatbelt is used in conjunction with airbags. Side airbags, which protect the head, chest and abdomen, reduce driver deaths by an estimated 37 percent, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
  • Seatbelts: Among passenger vehicle occupants over the age of four, seatbelts saved an estimated 11,949 lives in 2011 and 292,471 lives from 1975 through 2011. In fatal crashes in 2011, 77 percent of passenger vehicle occupants who were totally ejected from the vehicle were killed.
  • Child Safety Seats: NHTSA says that in 2011 the lives of an estimated 263 children under the age of five were saved by restraints.
  • Motorcycle Helmets: NHTSA estimates that helmets saved the lives of 1,617 motorcyclists in 2011. If all motorcyclists had worn helmets, an additional 703 lives could have been saved.
  • Helmets are estimated to be 37 percent effective in preventing fatal injuries to motorcycle riders and 41 percent for motorcycle passengers. In other words, for every 100 motorcycle riders killed in crashes while not wearing a helmet, 37 of them could have been saved had all 100 worn helmets.
  • Electronic Stability Control: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requires all vehicles manufactured after model year 2012 to have electronic stability control (ESC). All new passenger cars, light trucks, SUVs and vans must comply with the requirement. ESC was designed to help prevent rollovers and other types of crashes by controlling brakes and engine power. NHTSA says ESC saved an estimated 634 passenger car occupant lives in 2011 and 411 lives among light truck and van occupants for a total of 1,045 lives saved among passenger vehicle occupants. The 2011 total for lives saved was 19.3 percent higher than the 876 lives saved in 2010, and 48.2 percent higher than the 705 lives saved in 2009, as more cars on the road are sold equipped with ESC.
  • In the 2011 model year, 94 percent of light trucks and vans were equipped with ESC and 92 percent of passenger cars had ESC. This compares with 22 percent and 14 percent, respectively, in 2005.
  • In June 2010 the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released the findings of a study that found that ESC for passenger vehicles is one of the most effective technologies for the prevention of fatal crashes, especially rollovers. IIHS data show that it lowers the risk of a deadly crash by 33 percent and cuts the risk of a single-vehicle rollover by 73 percent. The IIHS examined 10 years of crash data from NHTSA. Read more at iii.org

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