Sunday, February 13, 2011

Cars Insurance

Vehicle insurance (also known as auto insurance, car insurance, or motor insurance) is insurance purchased for cars, trucks, and other road vehicles. Its primary use is to provide protection against physical damage resulting from traffic collisions and against liability that could also arise therefrom. 

Public policy

In many jurisdictions it is compulsory to have vehicle insurance before using or keeping a motor vehicle on public roads. Most jurisdictions relate insurance to both the car and the driver, however the degree of each varies greatly.
Several jurisdictions have experimented with a "pay-as-you-drive" insurance plan which is paid through a gasoline tax. This would address issues of uninsured motorists and also charge based on the miles driven, which could theoretically increase the efficiency of the insurance through streamlined collection.


In South Australia, Third Party Personal insurance from the Motor Accident Commission is included in the licence registration fee for people over 16. A similar scheme applies in Western Australia.
In Victoria, Third Party Personal insurance from the Transport Accident Commission is similarly included, through a levy, in the vehicle registration fee.
In New South Wales, Compulsory Third Party Insurance (commonly known as CTP Insurance) is a mandatory requirement and each individual car must be insured or the vehicle will not be considered legal. Therefore, a motorist cannot drive the vehicle until it is insured. A 'Green Slip,' another name by which CTP Insurance is commonly known due to the colour of the pages which the form is printed on, must be obtained through one of the five licenced insurers in New South Wales. Suncorp and Allianz both hold two licences to issue CTP Greenslips - Suncorp under the GIO and AAMI licences and Allianz under the Allianz and CIC/Allianz licences. The remaining three licences to issue CTP Greenslips are held by QBE, Zurich and IAL - NRMA.
In Queensland, CTP is a mandatory part of registration for a vehicle. There is choice of insurer but price is government controlled in a tight band.
These state based third party insurance schemes usually cover only personal injury liability. Comprehensive vehicle insurance is sold separately to cover property damage and cover can be for events such as fire, theft, collision and other property damage.


Several Canadian provinces (British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec) provide a public auto insurance system while in the rest of the country insurance is provided privately. Basic auto insurance is mandatory throughout Canada with each province's government determining which benefits are included as minimum required auto insurance coverage and which benefits are options available for those seeking additional coverage. Accident benefits coverage is mandatory everywhere except for Newfoundland and Labrador. All provinces in Canada have some form of no-fault insurance available to accident victims. The difference from province to province is the extent to which tort or no-fault is emphasized.[ Typically, coverage against loss of or damage to the driver's own vehicle is optional - one notable exception to this is in Saskatchewan, where SGI provides collision coverage (less than a $700 deductible, such as a collision damage waiver) as part of its basic insurance policy. In Saskatchewan, residents have the option to have their auto insurance through a tort system but less than 0.5% of the population have taken this option.


Since 1939 it is compulsory to have third party personal insurance before keeping a motor vehicle in all federal states of Germany. Besides, every vehicle owner is free to take out a comprehensive insurance policy. All types of car insurances are provided by several private insurers. The amount of insurance contribution is determined by several criteria, like the region, the type of car or the personal way of driving.


Third-party vehicle insurance is mandatory for all vehicles in Hungary. No exemption is possible by money deposit. The premium covers all damage up to HUF 500M (about €1.8M) per accident without deductible. The coverage is extended to HUF 1,250M (about €4.5M) in case of personal injuries. Vehicle insurance policies from all EU-countries and some non-EU countries are valid in Hungary based on bilateral or multilateral agreements. Visitors with vehicle insurance not covered by such agreements are required to buy a monthly, renewable policy at the border.


Third-party vehicle Insurance is a mandatory requirement in Indonesia and each individual car and motorcycle must be insured or the vehicle will not be considered legal. Therefore, a motorist cannot drive the vehicle until it is insured. Third Party vehicle insurance is included through a levy in the vehicle registration fee which is paid to government institution that known as "Samsat". Third-Party Vehicle Insurance is regulated under Act No. 34 Year 1964 Re: Road Traffic Accident Fund and merely covers Bodily injury, and manages by a SOE's named PT. Jasa Raharja (Persero).


Auto Insurance in India deals with the insurance covers for the loss or damage caused to the automobile or its parts due to natural and man-made calamities. It provides accident cover for individual owners of the vehicle while driving and also for passengers and third party legal liability. There are certain general insurance companies who also offer online insurance service for the vehicle.
Auto Insurance in India is a compulsory requirement for all new vehicles used whether for commercial or personal use. The insurance companies have tie-ups with leading automobile manufacturers. They offer their customers instant auto quotes. Auto premium is determined by a number of factors and the amount of premium increases with the rise in the price of the vehicle. The claims of the Auto Insurance in India can be accidental, theft claims or third party claims. Certain documents are required for claiming Auto Insurance in India , like duly signed claim form, RC copy of the vehicle, Driving license copy, FIR copy, Original estimate and policy copy.
There are different types of Auto Insurance in India :
Private Car Insurance - In the Auto Insurance in India, Private Car Insurance is the fastest growing sector as it is compulsory for all the new cars. The amount of premium depends on the make and value of the car, state where the car is registered and the year of manufacture.
Two Wheeler Insurance - The Two Wheeler Insurance under the Auto Insurance in India covers accidental insurance for the drivers of the vehicle. The amount of premium depends on the current showroom price multiplied by the depreciation rate fixed by the Tariff Advisory Committee at the time of the beginning of policy period.
Commercial Vehicle Insurance - Commercial Vehicle Insurance under the Auto Insurance in India provides cover for all the vehicles which are not used for personal purposes, like the Trucks and HMVs. The amount of premium depends on the showroom price of the vehicle at the commencement of the insurance period, make of the vehicle and the place of registration of the vehicle. The auto insurance generally includes:
Loss or damage by accident, fire, lightning, self ignition, external explosion, burglary, housebreaking or theft, malicious act. Liability for third party injury/death, third party property and liability to paid driver On payment of appropriate additional premium, loss/damage to electrical/electronic accessories The auto insurance does not include:
1).Consequential loss, depreciation, mechanical and electrical breakdown, failure or breakage
2).When vehicle is used outside the geographical area
3).War or nuclear perils and drunken driving


The Road Traffic Act, 1933 requires all drivers of mechanically propelled vehicles in public places to have at least third-party insurance, or to have obtained exemption - generally by depositing a (large) sum of money with the High Court as a guarantee against claims. In 1933 this figure was set at £15,000. The Road Traffic Act, 1961 (which is currently in force) repealed the 1933 act but replaced these sections with functionally identical sections.
From 1968, those making deposits require the consent of the Minister for Transport to do so, with the sum specified by the Minister.
Those not exempted from obtaining insurance must obtain a certificate of insurance from their insurance provider, and display a portion of this (an insurance disc) on their vehicles windscreen (if fitted). The certificate in full must be presented to a police station within ten days if requested by an officer. Proof of having insurance or an exemption must also be provided to pay for the motor tax.
Those injured or suffering property damage/loss due to uninsured drivers can claim against the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland's uninsured drivers fund, as can those injured (but not those suffering damage or loss) from hit and run offences.


In Norway you need a minimum of liability insurance to drive any kind of vehicle on the road.


Romanian law mandates Răspundere Auto Civilă, a motor-vehicle liability insurance for all vehicle owners to cover damages to third parties

South Africa

South Africa allocates a percentage of the money from gasoline into the Road Accidents Fund, which goes towards compensating third parties in accidents.

United Kingdom

In 1930, the UK government introduced a law that required every person who used a vehicle on the road to have at least third party personal injury insurance. Today UK law is defined by the Road Traffic Act 1988, which was last modified in 1991. The Act requires that motorists either be insured, have a security, or have made a specified deposit (£500,000 as of 1991) with the Accountant General of the Supreme Court, against their liability for injuries to others (including passengers) and for damage to other persons' property resulting from use of a vehicle on a public road or in other public places.
It is an offence to use a car, or allow others to use it, without the insurance that satisfies the act whilst on the public highway (or public place Section 143(1)(a) RTA 1988 as amended 1991); however, no such legislation applies on private land.
Road Traffic Act Only Insurance differs from Third Party Only Insurance (detailed below) and is not often sold. It provides the very minimum cover to satisfy the requirements of the Act. For example Road Traffic Act Only Insurance has a limit of £1,000,000 for damage to third party property - third party only insurance typically has a greater limit for third party property damage.
The minimum level of insurance cover commonly available and which satisfies the requirement of the Act is called third party only insurance. The level of cover provided by Third party only insurance is basic but does exceed the requirements of the act. This insurance covers any liability to third parties but does not cover any other risks.
More commonly purchased is third party, fire and theft. This covers all third party liabilities and also covers the vehicle owner against the destruction of the vehicle by fire (whether malicious or due to a vehicle fault) and theft of the vehicle itself. It may or may not cover vandalism. This kind of insurance and the two preceding types do not cover damage to the vehicle caused by the driver or other hazards.
Comprehensive insurance covers all of the above and damage to the vehicle caused by the driver themselves, as well as vandalism and other risks. This is usually the most expensive type of insurance.
Vehicles which are exempted by the act, from the requirement to be covered, include those owned by certain councils and local authorities, national park authorities, education authorities, police authorities, fire authorities, health service bodies and security services.
The insurance certificate or cover note issued by the insurance company constitutes legal evidence that the vehicle specified on the document is insured. The law says that an authorised person, such as the police, may require a driver to produce an insurance certificate for inspection. If the driver cannot show the document immediately on request, and proof of insurance cannot be found by other means such as the Police National Computer, drivers are no longer issued a HORT/1. This was an order with seven days, as of midnight of the date of issue, to take a valid insurance certificate (and usually other driving documents as well) to a police station of the driver's choice. Failure to produce an insurance certificate is an offence. The HORT/1 was commonly known - even by the issuing authorities when dealing with the public - as a "Producer".
Insurance is more expensive in Northern Ireland than in other parts of the UK.[vague][citation needed]
Most motorists in the UK are required to prominently display a vehicle licence (tax disc) on their vehicle when it is kept or driven on public roads. This helps to ensure that most people have adequate insurance on their vehicles because an insurance certificate must be produced when a disc is purchased
The Motor Insurers' Bureau compensates the victims of road accidents caused by uninsured and untraced motorists. It also operates the Motor Insurance Database, which contains details of every insured vehicle in the country.

United States

In the United States, auto insurance covering liability for injuries and property damage done to others is compulsory in most states, though different states enforce the requirement differently. The state of New Hampshire, for example, does not require motorists to carry liability insurance (the ballpark model), while in Virginia residents must pay the state a $500 annual fee per vehicle if they choose not to buy liability insurance. Penalties for not purchasing auto insurance vary by state, but often involve a substantial fine, license and/or registration suspension or revocation, as well as possible jail time. Usually, the minimum required by law is third party insurance to protect third parties against the financial consequences of loss, damage or injury caused by a vehicle.
One common misconception in the United States is that vehicles that are financed on credit through a bank or credit union are required to have "full" coverage in order for the financial institution to cover their losses in the case of an accident. While most states do require additional coverage to be purchased, some such as Pennsylvania only require Comprehensive and Collision to be purchased in addition to liability and not "full" coverage. Vehicles bought on cash or have been paid off by the owner are generally required to only carry liability. In some cases, vehicles financed through a "buy-here-pay-here" car dealership--in which the consumer (generally those with poor credit) finances a car and pays the dealer directly without a bank--also only require liability coverage.
Several states, like California and New Jersey, have enacted "Personal Responsibility Acts" which put further pressure on all drivers to carry liability insurance by preventing uninsured drivers from recovering noneconomic damages (e.g. compensation for "pain and suffering") if they are injured in any way while operating a motor vehicle.
Some states, such as North Carolina, require that a driver hold liability insurance before a license can be issued.
Some states require that insurance be carried in the car at all times, while others do not enforce this law. For example, North Carolina does not specify that you must carry proof of insurance in the vehicle; however, NC does state that you must have that information to trade with another driver in the event of an accident. Whether a state specifies you must have proof of insurance in the car or not, it's always advisable to have the information on hand in case an officer should request it.
Arizona Department of Transportation Research Project Manager John Semmens has recommended that car insurers issue license plates, and that they be held responsible for the full cost of injuries and property damages caused by their licensees under the Disneyland model. Plates would expire at the end of the insurance coverage period, and licensees would need to return their plates to their insurance office to receive a refund on their premiums. Vehicles driving without insurance would thus be easy to spot because they would not have license plates, or the plates would be past the marked expiration date

Coverage levels

Vehicle insurance can cover some or all of the following items:
  • The insured party (medical payments)
  • The insured vehicle (physical damage)
  • Third parties (car and people, property damage and bodily injury)
  • Third party, fire and theft
  • In some jurisdictions coverage for injuries to persons riding in the insured vehicle is available without regard to fault in the auto accident (No Fault Auto Insurance)
Different policies specify the circumstances under which each item is covered. For example, a vehicle can be insured against theft, fire damage, or accident damage independently.


An excess payment, also known as a deductible, is a fixed contribution that must be paid each time a car is repaired using an automotive insurance policy. Normally this payment is made directly to the accident repair "garage" (the term "garage" refers to an establishment where vehicles are serviced and repaired) when you collect the car. If one's car is declared to be a "write off" or "totaled" the insurance company will deduct the excess agreed on the policy from the settlement payment it makes to you.
If the accident was the other driver's fault, and this is accepted by the third party's insurer, you may be able to reclaim your excess payment from the other person's insurance company.

Compulsory excess

A compulsory excess is the minimum excess payment the insurer will accept on the insurance policy. Minimum excesses vary according to the personal details, driving record and insurance company.

Voluntary excess

To reduce the insurance premium, the insured may offer to pay a higher excess than the compulsory excess demanded by the insurance company. The voluntary excess is the extra amount over and above the compulsory excess that you agree to pay in the event of a claim on the policy. As a bigger excess reduces the financial risk carried by the insurer, the insurer is able to offer you a significantly lower premium.

Basis of premium charges

Depending on the jurisdiction, the insurance premium can be either mandated by the government or determined by the insurance company in accordance to a framework of regulations set by the government. Often, the insurer will have more freedom to set the price on physical damage coverages than on mandatory liability coverages.
When the premium is not mandated by the government, it is usually derived from the calculations of an actuary based on statistical data. The premium can vary depending on many factors that are believed to have an impact on the expected cost of future claims. Those factors can include the car characteristics, the coverage selected (deductible, limit, covered perils), the profile of the driver (age, gender, driving history) and the usage of the car (commute to work or not, predicted annual distance driven).


Men average more miles driven per year than women do, and consequently have a proportionally higher accident involvement at all ages. Insurance companies cite women's lower accident involvement in keeping the youth surcharge lower for young women drivers than for their male counterparts, but adult rates are generally unisex. Reference to the lower rate for young women as "the women's discount" has caused confusion that was evident in news reports on a recently defeated EC proposal to make it illegal to consider gender in assessing insurance premiums.


Teenage drivers who have no driving record will have higher car insurance premiums. However, young drivers are often offered discounts if they undertake further driver training on recognized courses, such as the Pass Plus scheme in the UK. In the U.S. many insurers offer a good grade discount to students with a good academic record and resident student discounts to those who live away from home. Generally insurance premiums tend to become lower at the age of 25. Some insurance companies offer "stand alone" car insurance policies specifically for teenagers with lower premiums. By placing restrictions on teenagers' driving (forbidding driving after dark or giving rides to other teens, for example) these companies effectively reduce their risk.Senior drivers are often eligible for retirement discounts reflecting lower average miles driven by this age group.

Driving history

In most states, moving violations, including running red lights and speeding, assess points on a driver's driving record. Since more points indicate an increased risk of future violations, insurance companies periodically review drivers' records, and may raise premiums accordingly. Laws vary from state to state, but most insurers allow one moving violation every three to five years before increasing premiums. Accidents affect insurance premiums similarly. Depending on the severity of the accident and the number of points assessed, rates can increase by as much as twenty to thirty percent.

Marital status

Policy owners that are married often receive lower premiums than single persons. One reason is that marriage may be considered an indicator of stronger financial stability within the household.

Vehicle classification

Two of the most important factors that go into determining the underwriting risk on motorized vehicles are performance capability and retail cost. The most commonly available providers of auto insurance have underwriting restrictions against vehicles that are either designed to be capable of higher speeds and performance levels, or vehicles that retail above a certain dollar amount. Vehicles that are commonly considered luxury automobiles usually carry more expensive physical damage premiums because they are more expensive to replace. Vehicles that can be classified as high performance autos will carry higher premiums generally because there is greater opportunity for risky driving behavior. Motorcycle insurance may carry lower property damage premiums because the risk of damage to other vehicles is minimal, yet higher liability or personal injury premiums because motorcycle riders face different physical risks while on the road. Risk classification on automobiles also takes into account statistical analysis of reported theft, accidents, and mechanical malfunction on every given year, make, and model of auto.


Some car insurance plans do not differentiate in regard to how much the car is used. There are however low mileage discounts offered by some insurance providers. Other methods of differentiation would include: over road distance between the ordinary residence of a subject and their ordinary, daily destinations.

Reasonable estimation

Another important factor in determining car insurance premiums involves the annual mileage put on the vehicle, and for what reason. Driving to and from work every day at a specified distance, especially in urban areas where common traffic routes are known, presents different risks than how a retiree who does not work any longer may use their vehicle. Common practice has been that this information was provided solely by the insured person, but some insurance providers have started to collect regular odometer readings to verify the risk.

Odometer-based systems

Cents Per Mile Now(1986) advocates classified odometer-mile rates, a type of usage-based insurance. After the company's risk factors have been applied and the customer has accepted the per-mile rate offered, customers buy prepaid miles of insurance protection as needed, like buying gallons of gasoline. Insurance automatically ends when the odometer limit (recorded on the car's insurance ID card) is reached unless more miles are bought. Customers keep track of miles on their own odometer to know when to buy more. The company does no after-the-fact billing of the customer, and the customer doesn't have to estimate a "future annual mileage" figure for the company to obtain a discount. In the event of a traffic stop, an officer could easily verify that the insurance is current by comparing the figure on the insurance card to that on the odometer.
Critics point out the possibility of cheating the system by odometer tampering. Although the newer electronic odometers are difficult to roll back, they can still be defeated by disconnecting the odometer wires and reconnecting them later. However, as the Cents Per Mile Now website points out:
As a practical matter, resetting odometers requires equipment plus expertise that makes stealing insurance risky and uneconomical. For example, to steal 20,000 miles (32,000 km) of continuous protection while paying for only the 2,000 miles (3,200 km) from 35,000 miles (56,000 km) to 37,000 miles (60,000 km) on the odometer, the resetting would have to be done at least nine times to keep the odometer reading within the narrow 2,000-mile (3,200 km) covered range. There are also powerful legal deterrents to this way of stealing insurance protection. Odometers have always served as the measuring device for resale value, rental and leasing charges, warranty limits, mechanical breakdown insurance, and cents-per-mile tax deductions or reimbursements for business or government travel. Odometer tampering—detected during claim processing—voids the insurance and, under decades-old state and federal law, is punishable by heavy fines and jail.
Under the cents-per-mile system, rewards for driving less are delivered automatically without need for administratively cumbersome and costly GPS technology. Uniform per-mile exposure measurement for the first time provides the basis for statistically valid rate classes. Insurer premium income automatically keeps pace with increases or decreases in driving activity, cutting back on resulting insurer demand for rate increases and preventing today's windfalls to insurers when decreased driving activity lowers costs but not premiums.

GPS-based system

In 1998, Progressive Insurance started a pilot program in Texas in which drivers received a discount for installing a GPS-based device that tracked their driving behavior and reported the results via cellular phone to the company. Policyholders were reportedly more upset about having to pay for the expensive device than they were over privacy concerns.] The program was discontinued in 2000.

OBDII-based system

In 2008, The Progressive Corporation launched MyRate to give drivers a customized insurance rate based on how, how much, and when their car is driven. MyRate is currently available in Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon and Texas. Driving data is transmitted to the company using an on-board telematic device. The device connects to a car's OnBoard Diagnostic (OBD-II) port (all automobiles built after 1996 have an OBD-II.) and transmits speed, time of day and number of miles the car is driven. There is no GPS in the MyRate device, so no location information is collected. Cars that are driven less often, in less risky ways and at less risky times of day can receive large discounts. Progressive has received patents on its methods and systems of implementing usage-based insurance and has licensed these methods and systems to other companies. Progressive has service marks pending on the terms Pay As You Drive and Pay How You Drive.

Credit ratings

Insurance companies have started using credit ratings of their policyholders to determine risk. Drivers with good credit scores get lower insurance premiums as it is believed that they are more financially stable, more responsible and have the financial means to better maintain their vehicles. Those with lower credit scores can have their premiums raised or insurance canceled outright.[21] It has been shown that good drivers with spotty credit records could be charged higher premiums than bad drivers with good credit records. [