Does My Car Insurance Cover Me If I Hit a Pole or Tree?
At some point, most drivers have bumped into stationary objects, whether it’s a neighbor’s mailbox or a barrier in a shopping center parking lot. It’s a very common type of accident, and repair bills can climb into the thousands very quickly.
To make sure you’re covered in the case of a rogue tree or pole, you need to examine your policy. Understanding the difference between liability and collision coverage is the first step. From there, we’ll move on to strategies that help you save on premiums without increasing your risk.
How to understand the different types of insurance
Just about everyone is required by law to have insurance, but there are different types of insurance, and they aren’t all mandatory. Basic insurance plans won’t help you if you hit a tree, but they do keep you out of prison. Everything beyond those basic plans is left to the discretion of the driver.
- Liability coverage is legal protection in case of an accident. It does not cover damage to your car, but it pays for any damage you do to another driver and their vehicle if you are at fault for a collision. This basic coverage is required by law in nearly every state.
- Collision coverage is not required by law. It represents a range of additional options that cover damage to your own vehicle for various types of accidents and repairs caused by collision. These services raise the cost of your monthly premium, but they minimize your financial risk in the case of an accident.
You get what you pay for when it comes to insurance
We mentioned briefly that collision and comprehensive coverage plans vary and that they come at an additional cost. The more coverage you want, the more you’ll have to pay as part of your monthly premium. Since we’re talking about insurance, it’s more complicated than that, of course.
Some plans cover a particular dollar amount of damage. Other plans cover specific parts of your car. Either type of plan limits coverage based on the cause of damage.
Most people have at least some collision damage. This protects them in case of an accident, so they aren’t left to foot the bill entirely on their own. Not all collision insurance covers stationary objects, however, so read the fine print and ask your insurance agent questions before committing.
Finding the right place on the sliding scale
The cost of collision coverage comes on a sliding scale that balances between your deductible and your premium. The more you pay every month, the lower your deductible will be and vice versa. Although everyone wants a low premium, it’s important to choose a plan that has a deductible you can afford.
Your insurance will only begin to cover expenses once the deductible is met, so you have to be realistic about how much money you could afford to lose in an emergency. The best way to meet your deductible is to plan ahead. By building a savings account with enough liquid funds to cover your deductible after an accident, you can select a plan with a lower monthly premium without putting your vehicle at risk.
Having that money at the ready puts you in a much better position when selecting car insurance. You are no longer gambling with unknown variables but working from solid facts. It’s also a great feeling to have full confidence in your ability to meet the deductible and receive your insurance benefits before you’re ever in an accident.
Discuss your options with your insurance agent
Once you know how much you can set aside and how much you can afford to pay each month, you can begin to examine your collision insurance options. While liability coverage’s features are mandated by the state, collision coverage varies by insurer and plan. Read the fine print in any plan you consider to ensure trees, poles, and other stationary objects are covered.
The cheapest collision plans usually cover your car in case of a collision with another car. This isn’t always the case, but it’s a common trait. If you want to be covered from other kinds of accidents, you may have to pay a slightly higher premium.