Car insurance can be hard to understand. What makes it even harder is that you don’t really know what can happen until you have an accident. The tiny fine print you skimmed over or the legal terms that you didn’t really understand can come back to haunt you at the worst possible moment. The pain and emotional stress of a car accident is overwhelming, add approximately unsettling and costly surprises from the insurance company and you have the recipe for a nervous breakdown.
Some people don’t realize it, but many of us cause our own policy cancellations and other issues that result in not as much coverage as we thought we had or not having any at all. Some things we all do, on purpose or not, that put us in danger of being without coverage. If the insurance carrier decides you’ve broken any of their diehard rules, they can drop you in a second. Some of these things are obvious to most people, others are surprising but all can have you without accident coverage.
DUI or Otherwise Impaired
This one is a no-brainer. We all know not to drive while drinking or impaired. Being impaired at the scene of a crash can leave you without repairs to your damaged car. Accident and liability benefits will still apply but the insurance carrier does not have to replace or make repairs to your car. Just being charged with a DUI is enough to negate your insurance claim. You don’t have to be convicted.
Allowing an Unlicensed Driver to Drive Your Car
A lot of people will ask someone else to drive their car if they’ve a few to many drinks or are feeling badly. You not even think twice before allowing your friend to borrow your truck for a move across town. What many fail to do is make sure that person has a driver’s license. Any accident they get in while driving counts against your insurance. If they are drunk, you could get in trouble.
If your son just got his permit and is driving your car with regularity and you fail to report it to your insurance carrier, you could be in big trouble. If anyone you know or in your family drives your car and has an accident the insurance company may or may not pay the claim. They could adjust the rate or cancel the policy entirely, however. If the rate is adjusted, they may prorate it to include all the premiums you owe them for another driver.
Driving for Uber or Lyft
Car-for-hire drivers must carry liability insurance and maintain a special policy. They cost a bit more although not as much as before when commercial vehicle use rates were higher. The catch is that there are often time limitations on the policy as to how many hours per week you can drive for hire. Driving more than the allotted time can result in cancellation of your policy. The same goes for commercial use. If your insurance is for personal use and you are couriering pizza, flowers or documents, you conducting business and that is commercial use of your vehicle for which you are not covered.
Wrong Location Rating
Something people rarely think will get them in trouble is listing your cars garaged address in one area when it’s really in another place when not being driven. Some locations are rated safer and cost less on your policy. If you think this will go unnoticed by your carrier, you are wrong. One minor accident and you get caught, you’ll find yourself without an insurance carrier.
Insurance companies have ingenious ways of checking on the policies their clients hold. Constant complaining from customers and the media about rising prices keep them diligently looking for ways to cut costs and keep their income high. To keep your insurance intact, remember to always disclose everything truthfully and read the fine print.