Personal Auto – FAQ

Personal Auto

  • What type of savings and discounts are available?
    • Insurers discount their rates for good drivers and those who take  safety and security precautions. Depending on the insurer, you can often lower your rates from 5 to 35 percent. Insurers generally offer discounts for: 

      • Clean Driving Record - No violations or accidents. 
      • Safety Features - Anti-lock brakes, air bags and passive restraint systems (i.e., automatic seat belts).
      • Defensive Driving - Clean violation record, driver's education courses for teenagers and defensive driving or accident prevention courses for adults (insurance discounts for the latter are required in some states).
      • Security Systems - Alarms, electronic locks and disabling devices.
      • Changing Driving Habits - Commuting by public transit, using a company vehicle for work-related travel and car-pooling.
      • Buying Home Owners and Auto Policies from the Same Company - If you own a home and an automobile and you are insured by two different companies, check into the cost of carrying both policies by one insurer.
      • Higher Deductibles: You can also lower your insurance rates by requesting higher deductibles. Increasing your deductibles on collision and comprehensive coverage from $100 to $250, or even $500, will bring your rates down. Moreover, you may not need collision and comprehensive coverage if you drive an older car.
      • Multi-Car and Multi-Policy Discount:  Companies give additional discounts for multiple vehicles under the same policy, and for combining your home or tenants policy.
  • What is included in auto insurance?
    • Auto Insurance policies are broken down into the following coverage areas:

      Bodily Injury - covers injury to others you are liable for.

      Property Damage - damage to property of others

      Medical Payments - covers medical expenses for injury to you and anyone in your vehicle, regardless of fault.

      Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury - covers injury to you and everyone in your vehicle caused by someone not insured or someone that does not carry adequate coverage limits.

      Comprehensive/Other than Collision - covers the vehicle for losses other than collision, upset, overturn, or hit-and-run, i.e., fire, theft of vehicle, vandalism, crime coverage, falling objects, glass breakage, water damage.

      Collision - collision, upset, overturn, hit-and-run.

      Towing and Labor - towing due to breakdown and labor for jump starts, or tire changes.

      Rental Reimbursement - Extended transportation-provides coverage for a rental vehicle if your vehicle cannot be drive due to a covered loss. Mechanical breakdown is not covered.

  • Why does my private passenger vehicle have to go on my commercial policy?
    • If a private passenger auto is not a pick up or a van and is registered in the name of a business, it needs to be covered under a business auto policy. If the vehicle is registered in the individual's name, but is used for business use, some uses may be covered under the personal auto policy (for example a sales person). However, the personal auto policy must be designated as business use.

  • What is lease gap coverage?
    • If an auto you lease is totaled in an accident, this provision will pay the outstanding balance of the lease if it exceeds the car's actual cash value.

  • What happens when I add my teen driver to the policy?
    • Some things to think about are...

      Teenagers are expensive to insure because they are the least experienced drivers. A driver's education course can help ease the burden of insurance costs since it teaches your teenager defensive driving techniques. If your child's high school does not offer driver's education, try to find one offered by another school or a private firm in the area. After all, the cost of driver's education could be cheaper than the extra cost of your insurance.

      • Many insurers offer "good student" discounts, if your child is on the honor role or has a B average or better. This can result in a substantial savings.
      • Teenagers are easily distracted by passengers, cell phones etc. Take time to talk with your teen and set rules when they start out on their own.
      • Safe Driving: Accidents do happen, but accidents and violations are going to increase the cost of your young driver's insurance substantially.

      Clark-Mortenson is an active participant in educating new drivers about the insurance process. Have your child give us a call and we will be happy to review the key areas that can effect your child's insurance one on one with them.

  • What do I do after an auto accident?
    • Make sure you and your passengers are safe. Move as far off the roadway as possible, but stay at the scene of the accident. Warn oncoming traffic by activating your hazard warning lights or setting flares.

      Stay calm and call the police to report the accident and emergency personnel if anyone is injured.

      Contact your insurance company. At Clark-Mortenson we have live, 24/7 claims service.

      Do not admit fault for the car accident or discuss the car accident with anyone other than the police and your claims representative.

      Exchange vital information with the other driver involved in the car accident. Write down the name, address, phone number and license numbers for all drivers and witnesses, particularly those who were not riding in a vehicle involved in the accident. Ask for the insurance companies and policy numbers for drivers involved in the car accident.

  • How are auto premiums developed?
    • The cost of your automobile insurance depends on a number of factors: your age, sex, driving record, limits of liability, specific coverages chosen, age, and make and model of your vehicle are all considered when rating auto insurance. Youthful drivers for example, are more costly to insure due to their inexperience (which statistics shows results in a greater chance of an accident).  When you increase your limits of coverage, the cost increases as well.  And different cars are rated on variables like safety and frequency of theft of specific makes and models. Some cars are safer than others to drive and some are less apt to be stolen. Choosing one of these will help lower your insurance rate. We can help you estimate your insurance needs and premiums. Give us a call today at 603-352-2121.

  • Is legal representation included in my automobile insurance?
    • Your automobile insurance provides you with legal defense automatically at no additional cost to you up to your policy limit. This protection is in addition to and does not reduce the limit of the policy.

  • When should I no longer carry collision coverage on my car?
    • We first need to get an approximate idea of what your vehicle is worth. Once we have a general idea of that, we now need to look at what your deductible and premium is for collision protection. If the combined cost of collision and the deductible amount is close to or exceeds the value of the vehicle, we recommend you eliminate this coverage.