Every state legally requires you to carry a minimum amount of auto insurance coverage or proof of financial responsibility in case you’re in an accident. These laws are written to provide a base level of protection for drivers, but after that, it’s up to individuals to figure out if they have sufficient coverage to meet their needs.
What exactly are your other options? Are they a good idea for you? If you’re unfamiliar with possible additions to your policy, here are five optional auto insurance coverages to consider.
1. Medical Payments Coverage
Often referred to as “Med Pay,” this special type of coverage can help pay for medical, hospital, or funeral expenses after an auto accident. Anyone who is insured under your policy would be eligible to receive funds, regardless of who is at fault in the collision.
If you (or a friend or a family member), have ever been in a bad car accident, you’re well aware that medical bills can add up in a hurry. Having a little extra financial security in such cases can be a big relief, which is why medical payments coverage might be a good option to consider.
Need another reason to consider medical payments coverage? It typically travels with you. In other words, whether you’re walking down the street, cruising around town in your friend’s car, or taking the city bus, you’ll be covered if you suffer injuries caused by an auto accident.
2. Rental Reimbursement Coverage
You’re involved in an accident, and while you’ve escaped with only a few bumps and bruises, your car is in need of major repairs. What are you supposed to do while the repair shop fixes the smashed side of your car? How do you get to work or school?
Some people may have access to another vehicle. For example, your spouse might be able to drop you off at the office before they head to their job in their car. But for some people, this isn’t an option. If you live alone or only have one car in your household, being without your vehicle can cause serious stress and complicate basic tasks.
With rental reimbursement coverage, you don’t have to worry! In the event your car can’t be driven due to a covered accident or loss, rental reimbursement coverage helps cover the cost of a rental car. You’ll be able to cruise around with less financial stress until your car is restored to its pre-accident glory.
3. Accidental Death Coverage
Many of us don’t like to talk about uncomfortable topics. Conversations about a worst-case scenario are never fun and can seem pessimistic at the time. However, they can help you be more prepared to take on unexpected challenges that arise.
Therefore, considering accidental death coverage might be worth your time. Should you end up in a fatal accident, your family will receive a death benefit. With this payout, your loved ones will be able to grieve without having to worry as much about funeral expenses or other post-death obligations. A few thousand dollars might not seem like much, but it can mean the world to your family during an incredibly difficult season of life.
4. Uninsured Motorist Coverage
You’re driving down the road, and out of nowhere, a car runs a stop sign and collides with your vehicle. You collect yourself, get out of the vehicle, and prepare to exchange information with the other driver. When the topic of insurance comes up, you learn the driver who hit you is uninsured. It’s a nightmare scenario, but it’s not unheard of. In some states, the percentage of uninsured drivers is greater than 20%!
So, how do you protect yourself in these situations? With uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance, you’re covered! If you’re in an auto accident with an uninsured driver, or if the driver can’t be identified (hit and run), this type of insurance coverage offers financial protection.
Please note: While in many states only liability coverage is required, certain states require uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Make sure to check your state’s insurance laws before driving.
5. Roadside Assistance
Driving is wildly unpredictable. You can take your car for a tune-up, and end up with a flat tire on the way home. You might rush out the door after breakfast to make your morning meeting before discovering a dead battery. No matter the reason, feeling stranded can be scary and frustrating.
This is where roadside assistance can come to the rescue! While it’s not technically a type of insurance, if you choose to pay for a roadside assistance plan, you’ll have access to services that can save you from sitting and waiting on the side of the road for a kind soul to help you out. Instead, you’ll have a trained professional headed your way as soon as possible.
Roadside assistance plans look different depending on your insurance company, but take Direct Auto’s as an example of services you might expect:
- If you’re stuck with a car that can’t be driven, we offer emergency towing 24/7.
- If you run out of gas and are stuck on the side of the highway, Direct can deliver gasoline or other essential fluids to you.
- Lock your keys in your car? We can send someone to help you get back in with lockout service.
- Accidentally leave your car’s lights on? We’ll dispatch someone to jump-start your battery.
- Have an unknown issue that’s causing your car to act up? We’ll send someone to see if they can provide mechanical help to get you going.
- If you prefer to travel the old-fashioned way, you can request maps or travel routes with concierge benefits.
With roadside assistance, you can rest easy because you know help will come when something goes wrong, and you know that you’ll be back on your way as quickly as possible. Also, if you end up calling for help a few times, your plan has likely paid for itself because one-off service fees can be expensive.