Five Common Car Insurance Questions Answered

When it comes to insurance, everyone has questions, and often the same ones come up again and again. These common insurance questions have straightforward answers in most cases, and getting these answers can make handling your insurance policies a lot easier. Take a look at these five common insurance questions – and their answers.

  1. How Do I File a Claim After an Accident? In the moments immediately following an accident, many people find themselves confused and unsure what to do next. At the scene, it’s important to focus on the immediate, such as potential injuries and reporting to the police if necessary. It’s not necessary to call in a claim from the scene, but you should do so as soon as possible afterwards.

Most car insurance companies offer a toll-free claims line you can call to report an accident. Provide your policy number and name to the claims representative, and they will walk you through the process of getting the claim filed. Remember that you can file a claim with your insurance company no matter who is at fault in the accident. In fact, in a no-fault insurance province, you should file with your own insurance company.

  1. Is it Worth Going Through Insurance for a Windshield Repair? Repairing a cracked or chipped windshield right away is important – it can affect visibility when you are driving. The comprehensive portion of your insurance policy will provide coverage for such repairs. It’s important to note, however, that you will be required to pay your deductible for the repair, which may render it pointless to go through insurance.

Before you file a claim, get a quote on the repair or replacement of the windshield. This will tell you whether it’s high enough to be worth paying the deductible. Some insurance companies offer a reduced deductible or will even waive it for a windshield repair or replacement, so check with your insurance company. Most insurance companies will not charge you an increase in premiums for filing a windshield claim, but you should verify with your company before you file.

  1. How Long Do I Have to Report Buying a New Car? Most insurance companies offer a grace period during which you can drive a new car and be automatically covered. The common misconception about this grace period is that it’s "free coverage". There is no free coverage – the policy on the new car will be backdated when you notify the insurance company and you will pay for that time period. There’s no reason to delay, and many reasons to call right away.

Grace periods range from 2 weeks to 30 days. If you do not notify the insurance company within that time, you will be driving uninsured. The grace period is designed to allow you to buy a car during non-business hours for the insurance company and still be insured for the same coverages on your current car while driving your new car home. You should call your insurance company as soon as it re-opens for business and provide the information.

  1. What Happens to My Car After a Write-Off? A car is written off when the cost to repair it is higher than the current value of the car. In most cases, the car will be sold at auction and you will be given a payment for the calculated value of the car to allow you to buy a replacement.

There is a little-known option, however, in the event of a write-off that allows you to get your car back. Most auto insurance companies will allow you buy the car back from them at a much reduced price. The car will then carry a mark on the title indicated it was a write-off. Some people choose to do this in order to obtain parts from the car. Some choose to repair or sell the vehicle themselves.

  1. Does My Insurance Cover Me in Another Car? This is an area that can get very tricky, but the bottom line is that an insurance policy follows the car, and not the driver. Thus if you drive a friend’s car, it’s their insurance policy that will cover the car – and you as the driver. A good reason to be careful about lending your car.

If you are driving a rental car and have added rental car coverage to your policy, then your policy is extended to cover that vehicle. Without that coverage you will need to purchase the policy from the rental car company to protect you.

In the event that you are involved in an accident in someone else’s vehicle and find out later that it wasn’t insured, there may be some coverage available on your policy. It’s always best to make sure ahead of time that there is coverage on a vehicle before you get behind the wheel.