10 top-rated insurers
(#1 is best)
- Amica Insurance
- New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company
- USAA Property & Casualty
- Auto Club Group
- Erie Insurance Group
- PEMCO Mutual Insurance Company
- Auto-Owners Insurance Group of Companies
- Auto Club Enterprises Insurance Group
- Travelers Group
10 lowest-rated insurers
(#1 is worst)
- MAPFRE North America Group
- MetLife Auto & Home Group
- Mercury General Group
- Progressive Insurance Group
- Liberty Mutual Insurance Companies
- Nationwide Group
- Farmers Insurance
- Berkshire Hathaway Insurance Group (Geico)
- State Farm
Your deductible is important
When it comes to car insurance, be sure the deductible you have isn’t too low. Take as high a deductible as you’re allowed to if you have a loan on your car. That’s usually $1,000.
Having a low deductible pushes premiums higher. It could also tempt you to make a claim for a small incident that will leave you in trouble with insurers going forward. More on that in a bit, too.
Pay attention to the level of coverage
State minimums for liability
If you have any assets in life to protect, you should think about going past the state minimums for liability.
If you own a home, have savings, etc., you do not want to do state minimums for liability. Why? Because that one time you hit a car in your blind spot or whatever the case may be, you can have serious exposure for liability.
The liability risk for fixing someone’s car is peanuts. The big money is when somebody is injured or says they’re injured. A lot of times people are able to dream up injuries from watching the ads on TV with the lawyers on who say they can get you big money when you’re involved in an accident.
You don’t want to fall into that trap if you have assets to protect.
Of course, if you have no assets and you rent a home rather than owning, then it’s acceptable if you want to just do state minimums.
Collision and comprehensive
Collision and comprehensive covers the damage to the car from a driving event or something else.
When do you need it and when should you drop it?
The general rule is when the cost of comp and collision exceeds 10% of your old vehicle’s value, that’s the time to dump it and just have liability coverage. You can determine your vehicle’s value at Edmunds.com, KBB.com or NADA.com.
So let’s take a simple example. Say your vehicle is worth $4,000. If you’re paying anything more than $400 annually (that’s 10% of $4,000) for comp and collision, it no longer makes any financial sense. One notable exception to this rule: If there’s no way you could financially cover the loss of your vehicle, forget the math and keep paying for comp and collision.
If you have a newer car, you need to have comprehensive and collision — along with that higher deductible of $1,000.
If you’re buying a new car and you can’t afford the $1,000 deductible, then you probably can’t afford the new car in the first place.
What you need to know about making a claim
You never want to make a claim on auto insurance for something small — like a cracked windshield or a broken side-view mirror — because the consequences are so ugly.
The insurer can surcharge you for a number of years; eliminate the discounts you would otherwise qualify for; or put a black mark on your C.L.U.E. report, a little-known industry database of claims. The latter effectively limits your ability to shop with the competition for 36 months.
To properly protect yourself from the always present danger of huge awards for auto liability, it is imperative that you maintain the proper level of coverage for your particular situation.
If you have any doubts about the appropriate level of automobile coverage that’s right for you, we have excellent plans available through reputable auto insurers, and we will be happy to help pinpoint the coverages best suited to your needs.
Compulsory Auto Policy Coverage
- Bodily Injury to Others
- Personal Injury Protection
- Bodily Injury Caused by Uninsured Auto
- Damage to Someone Else’s Property
- Optional Bodily Injury to Others
- Medical Payments
- Substitute Transportation
- Towing and Labor
- Bodily Injury Caused by an Under insured Auto
Auto insurance requirements by province
Car insurance requirements in Canada depend on which province you live in and who you buy your insurance from.
If you live in British Columbia, Saskatchewan or Manitoba, your provincial government requires basic auto insurance that covers injury to yourself and passengers. Additional coverage is available from your insurer.
British Columbia and Manitoba
Purchase ICBC Autoplan insurance in British Columbia and MPI Autopac insurance in Manitoba from your Co-operators Financial Advisor. For more complete coverage, including insurance for theft or damage to your car, ask us about your coverage options.
Ask your local Financial Advisor for SGI insurance in Saskatchewan, which includes basic vehicle damage (with a deductible), personal injury and liability coverage up to $200,000. We also offer extended Third Party Liability coverage, and physical damage coverage at a lower deductible to reduce the amount you would pay if you have a claim.
If you live in Quebec, the provincial public automobile insurance plan covers you for injury or death due to an automobile accident, no matter who is at fault or where in the world the accident happened. However, under the Automobile Insurance Act, you also have to have third-party liability insurance of at least $50,000 for property damage. This protection, available from private insurers such as The Co-operators, covers any property damage caused to another party.
In all other provinces and territories (Alberta, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island or the Yukon) all car insurance is available only from private insurance companies like The Co-operators.
What your auto insurance plan must include
While insurance plans vary by province, these are the most common types of insurance you must have before you can use your vehicle. Make sure you check the following when you compare auto insurance quotes:
Liability: If you are in a car accident and are held legally liable for other people’s injuries, or for damage to another person’s vehicle or property, your insurance company will pay up to the total amount listed on your policy. You are responsible for amounts above that limit.
Accident Benefits: This covers medical expenses not covered by a provincial health plan, plus loss of income as the result of an auto accident. In some provinces, you may be entitled to additional benefits if you are someone’s caregiver. Accident Benefits are paid regardless of who was at fault in an accident. Not available in Quebec.
Uninsured Automobile: Protects you and your family if you are injured or killed by a hit-and-run driver or by an uninsured motorist. It also covers damage to your vehicle caused by an identified uninsured driver. Not available in Quebec.
Direct Compensation Property Damage (DCPD): Available only in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, P.E.I. and Quebec, this covers the cost of loss or damage to your car in an accident for which you were not entirely responsible. To qualify, the other driver has to be identified, insured and found to be at least partially at fault. In some provinces, you can no longer sue another person for damage to your car.
Your insurance company will look at the degree to which you are responsible for the accident and your deductible to determine how much compensation you will receive. You will be paid if you were partly or not at all responsible for the accident. Be sure to review your car insurance policy for specific details, restrictions and exclusions.
You may want additional coverage to be sure you’re fully protected in case of an automobile accident, theft or damage. Here are some coverage options to consider:
Collision: You’re covered for the cost of repairs or replacement of your car in the event of a collision where you are partially or totally at fault.
Specified Perils: This covers you for specific perils such as fire, lightning, theft*, windstorm, earthquake, hail, explosion, riot and others.
Comprehensive: With this option, you’re covered for any threat or danger other than collision, including theft*, damage or loss caused by vandalism, projectiles, and falling or flying objects such as stones kicked up by a truck in front of you. The important thing to remember is that this coverage applies to your vehicle only, not you or your passengers.
*Comprehensive and Specified Perils do not insure your car against theft if a member of your household steals your car, or if an employee whose job involved using or maintaining the car steals your vehicle.
All Perils: This is the most complete Loss or Damage coverage available. All Perils combines Collision and Comprehensive coverage and protects against theft by a person who lives in your household or an employee who steals your vehicle.
The most popular combination is Collision and Comprehensive coverage.
Understanding why you need auto insurance on your personal vehicle is easy. You want to protect your loved ones and your property and also it is required by law in most states. Knowing when you need commercial insurance is a completely different matter. There are certain types of vehicle usage that are not covered under a personal auto policy. If you own a business and use a vehicle solely for the business then you need commercial vehicle insurance. Also, if your vehicle has commercial tags on it you should get a commercial policy for it. If you do not insure your business the same way you insure your house, then why insure your business vehicles the same way you insure your personal auto.
Here are just some of the things you need to look at before deciding what type of insurance you need on your vehicle:
Registration:The first factor you need to look at is under whose name the vehicle is registered. When the vehicle is registered in the name of the business then you definitely need commercial auto insurance. If the vehicle is registered in your name, it does not automatically mean that you should get personal auto insurance on it. A lot of times a solely owned business will have a vehicle registered in the name of the owner. If the vehicle is being used primarily for the business though, you will need commercial insurance.
Who drives?: Another sign that you need a commercial auto insurance policy is if other employees at your company are driving the car. Commercial insurance policies allow you to list employees as drivers so that the insurance company can properly underwrite the risk on the vehicle.
Business Use:The next question you need to ask yourself is, “Is the vehicle getting regular business use?” A vehicle getting regular business use is defined as one that is used for commercial purposes, on average, more than 3 times in a 1 month period. If your answer is “Yes,” then commercial insurance is right for you.
- What is Business Use?: Before we discuss what constitutes business use lets talk about what business use isn’t. Only driving to and from your principal place of work is considered commuting and does not need a commercial insurance policy. This is covered under a standard personal auto policy. If you use the same vehicle to then travel to clients or job sites, depending on how often you do this and the nature of your work, you might need commercial insurance. Also if you do any of the following, get a quote for commercial vehicle insurance and properly protect you and your business.
- Carrying Equipment (ladders, supplies, tools, etc)
- Carrying Hazardous (or flammable) material
- Carrying Housekeeping Equipment for a business
- Equipped with cranes, winches, snowplows (not for use on private property only)
- Towing for Hire
- Delivery of Goods (including but no restricted to pizza, flowers, wholesale, retail)
- Rural Newspaper Delivery
- Trucking – Local and long haul
- Messenger, deliverer, chauffer
- Taxi driver
Policy Add-ons: If you need one of the following additions to your auto policy then your needs are probably best met by a commercial policy:
- Coverage for a third party as an additional insured.
- Waiver of subrogation.
- Liability coverage for hired or non-owned vehicles.
- Liability coverage for mobile equipment.
Acceptable Business Usage: Not all business use requires a commercial insurance policy. Some forms of business use are covered by a personal auto policy. Still, let your insurance agent know about these so they can tailor the policy to better protect you. These are a few of the business uses that are covered under your personal auto policy.
What is Commercial Auto Insurance?
- An employee hits a pedestrian while driving a company truck and the pedestrian requires medical treatment that results in substantial bills.
- You accidentally swerve off the road while driving to work and take out a residential mailbox and have to pay for the damage.
- An employee driving to work accidentally hits another car and totals it.
Who Needs Commercial Auto Insurance?
- Owns, leases or rents vehicles such as cars and trucks.
- Has employees who drive their own vehicles to conduct business.
- Has employees who operate company vehicles that are leased, rented or owned.
Auto insurance is a contract between the policyholder and the insurance company. The policyholder agrees to pay the premium and the insurance company agrees to pay losses as defined in the policy.
Auto insurance provides property, liability and medical coverage:
- Property coverage pays for damage to, or theft of, the car.
- Liability coverage pays for the policyholder’s legal responsibility to others for bodily injury or property damage.
- Medical coverage pays for the cost of treating injuries, rehabilitation and sometimes lost wages and funeral expenses.
Most states require drivers to have auto liability insurance before they can legally drive a car. (Liability insurance pays the other driver’s medical, car repair and other costs when the policyholder is at fault in an auto accident.) All states have laws that set the minimum amounts of insurance or other financial security drivers have to pay for the harm caused by their negligence behind the wheel if an accident occurs. Most auto policies are for six months to a year. A basic auto insurance policy is comprised of six different kinds of coverage, each of which is priced separately (see below).
Bodily Injury Liability
This coverage applies to injuries that the policyholder and family members listed on the policy cause to someone else. These individuals are also covered when driving other peoples’ cars with permission. As motorists in serious accidents may be sued for large amounts, drivers can opt to buy more than the state-required minimum to protect personal assets such as homes and savings.
Medical Payments or Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
This coverage pays for the treatment of injuries to the driver and passengers of the policyholder’s car. At its broadest, PIP can cover medical payments, lost wages and the cost of replacing services normally performed by someone injured in an auto accident. It may also cover funeral costs.
Property Damage Liability
This coverage pays for damage policyholders (or someone driving the car with their permission) may cause to someone else’s property. Usually, this means damage to someone else’s car, but it also includes damage to lamp posts, telephone poles, fences, buildings or other structures hit in an accident.
What Is Commercial Auto Insurance?
Business Automobile Liability Insurance is for businesses that own and operate vehicles. This insurance helps companies cover the costs of repairing or replacing company vehicles within the boundaries of the insurance policy.
Every business that uses vehicles to transact business needs Commercial Auto Insurance. Companies using their personal vehicles for business-related purposes may find that their personal insurance does not cover business-related risks. Personal Auto Insurance on a vehicle used for business purposes may not have enough insurance, leaving the company financially responsible for losses.
Business Automobile Liability Insurance was purposefully designed to help protect businesses from the unknown. With higher coverage limits than personal auto insurance, it helps safeguard businesses and improves a business’ chances of continual operations.
Commercial insurance contracts create partnerships between companies and insurers. Under these contracts, insurers are required to pay for physical damages based on the terms of the insurance policy and up to the limits of the insurance coverage. Insurers can’t cancel Commercial Auto Insurance if a business files a claim against the insurance policy.
Businesses can purchase Commercial Auto Liability coverage for their cars, trucks, heavy-duty trucks, and semi-trucks.
Depending on the coverage selected, this insurance covers vehicles the business owns, contracts with, and leases. It also helps cover injured employees should an accident happen.
Florida has over 700 car crashes per day. How they start, and more importantly, how an accident can impact you cannot be predicted. Not only can there be bodily injury, property damage or worse, lawsuits can be filed — financially devastating a household.
As a licensed driver in the state of Florida it is imperative you have the proper Auto Insurance coverage to fit your individual needs. At first Car Insurance can seem costly but not having the proper coverage on your vehicle(s) and yourself can be even more expensive. At Harbor Insurance, we are here to assist you in determining what coverages you may need in order to help protect you against any potential future insurance claims.
How Much Automobile Insurance Is Right For You?
We have been serving the Treasure Coast and South Florida since 1901; our team understands the Vehicle Insurance needs of our customers.
Auto Insurance requirements vary by state. To insure your vehicle in Florida, we offer:
- Liability Coverage — to pay for losses you cause others, and
- No-Fault Coverage — to pay you and your passengers for medical and related expenses caused by injuries from a car accident, regardless of who is at fault
- Collision Insurance — to pay for damage caused to your vehicle in the event that it is damaged in a collision.
- Comprehensive Insurance — covers damage to your car in some way other than a collision such as if your car was stolen, vandalized or damaged by fire.