Car insurance is a tricky topic with plenty of nuances that can make it difficult to completely understand your policy and what it covers. Your policy documents are probably filled with fine print and legalese that might as well be written in ancient hieroglyphics.
Complicating matters even more are the dozens of myths surrounding car insurance. Rumors abound about which cars are most expensive to insure and what will make your rates skyrocket.
Let’s take a look at the top seven car insurance myths and the truths behind them.
- Myth #1: My new car is automatically covered under my existing auto insurance policy.
Truth: Nope, it’s not that simple. You will need to contact your insurance company within a certain number of days of purchasing your vehicle (usually 30) to add it to your policy.
- Myth #2: It costs more to insure red cars.
Truth: Not at all. The color of your vehicle has no bearing on your insurance rates. The make, model, year, sticker price and engine size of your vehicle are more important factors. Insurers also consider your driving history, when/where/how far you will be driving, and even your credit history.
- Myth #3: My car insurance premiums will increase as I get older.
Truth: Actually, it’s usually the opposite. If you are retired or only working part-time, you may qualify for discounts because you’re driving less. Also, many insurance companies offer discounts for drivers ages 55 or older who complete an accident prevention course to refresh their defensive driving skills.
- Myth #4: Your insurance covers any and all damage to your vehicle.
Truth: No. There are different types of insurance coverage, and you must choose what types you want to purchase (states have their own requirements). Liability insurance covers you if you cause an accident and hurt someone or damage their property. It will not cover damage to your vehicle. Collision coverage pays for damages to your own vehicle after an accident, and comprehensive coverage pays for unexpected events such as vandalism, flooding and fire damage and vehicle theft.
- Myth #5: Your insurance rates automatically increase after filing a claim.
Truth: Unfounded. Car insurance companies consider a lot of factors before modifying your rates, most importantly, the severity of the accident, the cost of your claim and your driving history. Your insurer will also look at who is to blame for the damage — for example, if a tree branch falls and shatters your windshield and you file a claim for the damage, it is less likely your rates will go up than if you caused a multi-vehicle pileup on the freeway.
- Myth #6: New cars are more expensive to insure.
Truth: Not always. As previously mentioned, the make and model of the vehicle, as well as your driving history, have more of an effect on insurance rates. Insurers also consider how often a car is stolen. While it might surprise you, the cars that are more likely to be stolen are not brand-new models, but instead models with parts that don’t change very much over time (the reason being thieves will steal a car, strip it and sell off the parts).
- Myth #7: If your friend borrows and crashes your car, his or her auto insurance will pay.
Truth: Nope. “The insurance follows the vehicle,” according to Leah Hunger, director of insurance operations at Tidewater AAA in Virginia. Likewise, if you borrow and crash a friend’s car, their insurance will pay the damages.
By Samantha B. Rivers
Samantha is a freelance writer based in Chicago who writes about automotive and insurance topics online. Follower her on Twitter @SassySammyBee.