We've all heard in casual conversations certain ideas about insurance that on the surface, appear to be true but actually are not--or in some cases a mix of truth and fiction. Here are some of the more common myths explained. Feel free to add any that you've heard as well, and we'll try to answer them as best we can:
1. The color of a vehicle affects the cost of auto insurance. Total myth. The VIN or serial number of a vehicle tells an insurance company everything there is to know about a particular model and color is not one of those things. This myth may partly stem from the feeling that a brighter color might attract the attention of law enforcement, especially if you are speeding, but with the advent of radar, even that is not the case any longer. Go ahead...buy the red one!
2. It costs more for auto insurance as the driver gets older. Mostly myth. We all know teen drivers (actually their parents in most cases) pay the most of any drivers on the road, and one reward for gaining years and experience is a lower cost for auto insurance. With most companies the rates bottom out around age 40 and either stay low or discount even further into one's 50's and 60's. It is true with some companies that from age 70 on up the rates will edge back up which is where this myth comes from. However, there are many fine companies that don't surcharge older drivers with good driving records. At any age, accumulating accidents or moving violations can cause rates to rise, but it is very possible to find good insurance at any age that doesn't penalize a driver for being older.
3. "Liability" Insurance will cover my broken windshield. Total myth. This problem comes about as a result of a lack of communication between the agent and the customer, and confusion over what all those insurance words actually mean. The liability section of an auto insurance policy is what protects those around us from the injury or damage we cause to them with our vehicle. It has nothing to do with fixing your own vehicle. This is where it is up to the agent to make sure they and the customer are on the same page, and that the customer understands and gets the type of coverage they are actually asking for. The broken windshield, the deer damage, the dented fender...that all comes under what insurance policies refer to as "Physical Damage Coverage" or "Coverage for Damage to Your Auto." Glass claims, collisions with animals, vandalism, fire, theft, falling objects...those are the types of incidents covered under the Comprehensive Coverage (also known as Other Than Collision. Collision coverage means either your car collided with something other than an animal, or some other object collided with your car. Always tell your agent exactly what kind of coverage you want and ask the agent to explain any terms or coverages you don't understand. You can never ask too many questions and a good agent will always be willing to explain things to you.
4. "Full coverage" means the policy will pay for anything that happens to my car. Total myth. The term "full coverage" actually doesn't appear in an auto policy anywhere, and isn't an actual insurance term. It originated with the busy agent who's desk is full and in the interest of time has condensed a fifteen minute explanation of the available coverages down to "Do you want full coverage or liability?" Every insurance policy ever sold has exclusions in it, lists of things that are not covered, and the word 'full' makes it sound like these exclusions don't exist. Again, it's important as the customer to make sure you and your agent are speaking the same language, and that the agent delivers the coverage you are asking for if it is available.