Insuring your vehicle is a legal obligation in USA, as it is in all European Union countries, and it is not always easy to sort out the different guarantees offered by insurers. Civil liability, bodily injury, collision, theft, glass breakage or fire… Here is all you need to know to choose a car insurance adapted to your needs.
Third-party car insurance: a mandatory coverage
Also called “third party liability”, third party insurance is the only mandatory coverage for your car insurance.
As its name indicates, it covers bodily injury and material damage that you may cause to a “third party” (pedestrian, other motorist, vehicle passenger, etc.). It does not compensate you for any damage you or your car may suffer (such as theft or vandalism), so you are responsible for these if you are responsible for the accident. If the accident is the responsibility of another motorist, you can take recourse against the insurer of this person to be compensated for all or part of your damages.
With a limited cost, this basic car insurance formula is often used to insure a cheap vehicle or a used car that doesn’t run much.
Third party liability coverage is a legal obligation, whether your car is on the road or not. Keep in mind that the lack of insurance can be very costly for offenders (up to dollarss3,750 in fines) and can lead to penalties such as the cancellation of the driver’s license (for up to 3 years), a driving ban (for up to 5 years) or the confiscation of the vehicle.
Good to know
You don’t use your vehicle much, but you still want to benefit from an efficient protection? Per-kilometre car insurance is for you! The amount of the insurance premium is calculated according to the distance driven, so there are no unnecessary costs.
Optional car insurance coverage
The optional guarantees allow you to protect yourself as a driver, and to cover your vehicle more effectively in case of a claim. Many options exist, and different formulas can be proposed by insurers.
The comprehensive insurance is the most global formula which includes all the guarantees, in particular the different damages suffered by your vehicle as well as the bodily damages you suffer, in addition to the compulsory civil liability guarantee. It is the ideal formula if you are looking for maximum protection or if you own a new or high-value vehicle.
However, the level of coverage and the amount of deductibles may vary depending on the insurer, so remember to compare contracts!
Whether you are a bonus or a deductible driver, a young driver or an experienced motorist, all profiles are represented.
The guarantee linked to the driver’s bodily injury
With a simple third party insurance, when you are a driver of a vehicle, the coverage of your care is not covered. In order to cover the bodily injuries you may suffer in an accident, you will need to opt for a driver’s bodily injury insurance.
Depending on the policy, this coverage includes medical, hospital and treatment expenses. It may also provide compensation – either lump sum or indemnity – for you or your loved ones in the event of temporary incapacity, disability or even death.
Auto collision coverage
Collision damage to your car in the event of a collision with another vehicle, pedestrian, bicycle, animal, etc. is covered by collision damage insurance.
Coverage is generally not available if the third party is not identified (driver flees, owner of the animal cannot be found, etc.), or in the event of a collision or leaving the road “alone” (hitting a tree, for example).
Auto theft and vandalism coverage
This guarantee insures you in case of theft of your car.
Please note that your insurer may require certain obligations, such as the presence of an alarm, an anti-theft device, or the parking of your car in a closed parking lot.
The vandalism guarantee can be associated with the protection against theft and covers the damage related to a voluntary deterioration of your vehicle.
Auto fire coverage
The fire insurance covers you if your vehicle is destroyed or damaged by an intentional or unintentional fire (lightning, explosion…).
The auto glass breakage warranty
The glass breakage warranty covers damage to the windshield of your vehicle. Depending on the offer, it can be extended to other windows (side, rear or roof), as well as to mirrors and headlights. A deductible may sometimes be applied.
The replacement value auto warranty
In case of theft or destruction of your car, your vehicle is generally compensated up to its value at the time of the loss (this value being defined by an expert) or according to a value predefined in your contract.
However, you can ensure a better level of compensation with the replacement value guarantee (also known as increased). The latter allows you to be compensated on the basis of the purchase price of your vehicle.
The service guarantees of a car insurance
These assistance or service guarantees complete your car insurance. They provide you with practical solutions in case of breakdown or dispute.
The assistance guarantee
It covers the cost of repairing and towing your vehicle as well as the cost of your repatriation if you are the victim of a breakdown or an accident.
Replacement vehicle coverage
Has your vehicle broken down or had an accident? A courtesy car will be made available to you for the duration of the repair.
The legal protection guarantee
This guarantee offers legal assistance and sometimes the coverage of legal fees in the context of disputes related to your vehicle (e.g.: dispute related to the purchase).
The car guarantees related to exceptional circumstances
These specific insurances cover you in unforeseeable circumstances, called “exceptional”. These guarantees are automatically included when you have taken out a guarantee covering damage to your vehicle (all risks, collision, theft, fire, etc.).
Natural or technological disaster coverage
Flooding, avalanche, earthquake, accident occurring in a Seveso classified facility… Your vehicle is covered against losses related to natural or technological disasters, provided that the state of the disaster is the subject of an interministerial decree registered in the Official Journal.
Storm or climatic event coverage
You are compensated in case of damage caused by climatic events on your car. Unlike the natural disaster guarantee, this guarantee compensates you even if the event has not been classified as a “natural disaster” by a ministerial decree.
Terrorist attacks and acts of terrorism coverage
This guarantee allows you to obtain compensation for your car following damage caused by an attack or a terrorist act on the national territory