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rental car damage and liability insurance

Having the right comprehensive car insurance coverage is crucial to fully protect your vehicle. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can:

  • Confirm your current policy details

  • Assess if your coverage adequately meets your needs

  • Obtain quotes to change providers if needed

  • Purchase a new policy that covers your risks

  • Keep new insurance documents in your car and home

You only have to check the declaration page of your policy to know what does it covers

Taking an active role in managing your policy ensures you have the proper coverage, at an affordable price, to safeguard your vehicle against damage and loss. Check your policy annually and ask your provider questions anytime.

Locate policy number

To check what coverage is included in your current car insurance policy, you first need to find your policy number. This number can usually be found in two places:

  • Your vehicle registration card was received from the DMV. This card contains important info like your VIN number and license plate. The policy number is also printed on it.

  • Your insurance card is provided by your insurer. This card has policy details and is used as proof of insurance if pulled over.

Keep these cards handy in your glove compartment or another easily accessible place in your car. Some other places to look for the policy number:

  • Previous statements or documents from your insurance company

  • Your insurer's online account dashboard or app

Once you have the policy number, you can use it to:

  • Log into your insurer's website or app

  • Call your insurance company's customer service line

  • Speak to an agent at a local branch

Having the number ready will make it quicker to access your policy details and check coverage.

Contact insurance provider

After locating your policy number, the next step is to contact your insurance provider directly to check the details of your coverage. There are a few ways to do this:

  • Call the customer service number on your insurance card. Tell them you want to confirm your comprehensive coverage and any exclusions.

  • Visit your insurer's website and log into your account using the policy number. Look for your coverage summary and policy documents.

  • Go to a local branch and speak to an agent in person. Tell them you want the specifics of what is covered and not covered.

Be sure to ask:

  • Do I have comprehensive coverage?

  • Does my policy cover natural disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes?

  • What damage is excluded?

  • Do I have any deductibles for comprehensive claims?

Getting the details of coverage from your provider directly is the best way to understand exactly what you are covered for in your current policy.

Assess current coverage

Once you have confirmed the details of your current comprehensive coverage, you need to compare it to your needs and look for any gaps.

  • Make a list of the types of damage you want to be covered for. This may include:

    • Natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc.

    • Severe weather events like hail, flooding, fallen trees

    • Vandalism, theft, fire

    • Collision with animals

    • And anything else you want protection for

  • Review your current policy and exclusions

  • Identify situations that would not be covered

    • For example, some policies may exclude flood or earthquake damage

  • Determine if your current deductibles fit your budget in the event of a claim

  • Consider whether your policy limits are sufficient to fully repair/replace your vehicle if it were totaled

Carefully comparing your existing coverage to your needs and priorities will allow you to decide if you need to upgrade your policy to get more comprehensive protection.

Make changes if needed

If your assessment shows that your current policy does not meet your needs, you may need to make some changes to get the right coverage. Here are some options:

  • Upgrade your existing policy with your current insurer. Contact them and ask about adding more comprehensive coverage or reducing deductibles. Be specific about the gaps you want to fill.

  • Change providers completely to find a policy that better fits your situation. You can shop for quotes from other insurers (see next section).

  • Modify your coverage limits. Increase your overall protection or the limit for specific things like accessories or personal items in your car.

  • Remove exclusions you don't want. For example, you may pay extra to include flood or earthquake damage.

  • Lower or remove your deductible. This will increase premiums but reduce out-of-pocket costs in the event of a claim.

  • Add additional benefits like rental car reimbursement or roadside assistance.

Work with your insurance agent to determine the best changes to make for your needs and budget. Make sure you get new policy documents reflecting any upgrades.

Get new quotes

If you decide to change providers to get better coverage, you'll need to shop around and compare quotes from multiple insurers. Here are some tips:

  • Get quotes from major national companies like Geico, Progressive, and Allstate.

  • Check quotes from local and regional providers in your area.

  • Use online quote comparison sites like The Zebra or Gabi to find and compare options.

  • Work with an independent insurance agent to have them shop rates.

  • Consider usage-based programs from insurers like State Farm or Allstate that can reward safe driving.

  • Ask about all available discounts you may qualify for - good driver, good student, multiple policies, etc.

  • Compare the price, financial strength of the company, customer service ratings, coverage details, and deductibles.

  • Pay attention to limitations, exclusions, and endorsements that can impact costs.

Taking the time to compare multiple quotes will help you find the best balance of affordable price and adequate coverage for your situation. Discuss options with an agent to decide the right provider for you.

Select the best policy

Once you've compared quotes from new providers, it's time to choose the policy that fits your coverage needs and budget.

  • Review the coverage details, limits, exclusions, deductibles, and premiums for each quote.

  • Make sure the policy meets your must-haves in terms of comprehensiveness and exclusions.

  • Confirm it covers the major risks you want protected against in your area - like hurricanes, tornadoes, winter storms, etc.

  • Verify any important additional benefits like rental reimbursement are included.

  • Check that the company is financially stable by looking at AM Best ratings.

  • Consider the insurer's reputation and customer service reviews.

  • Make sure the premiums and deductibles fit within your budget.

  • If needed, adjust limits or coverages to optimize the price/protection balance.

    Choosing the right policy is an important decision - take your time and consult an agent to understand the options fully. The optimal choice provides the coverage you need at a price you can afford long-term.

Purchase new policy

Once you've selected a new insurance provider and policy, it's time to complete the purchase.

  • Contact the insurance company or agent to begin the process.

  • Provide requested information like driver's licenses, vehicle details, home address, prior insurance history, etc.

  • Select any optional coverage additions or limit increases.

  • Review the full policy contract and make sure it aligns with what you were quoted.

  • Agree to any required inspections of your home or vehicles.

  • Pay the first premium to activate coverage. This can be paid online, by phone, or by mail.

  • Set up recurring payments if desired to automatically pay future premiums when due.

  • Confirm the effective start date for the new policy. There may be a waiting period.

  • Receive new proof of insurance card and policy documents. Review them for accuracy.

  • Add new cards to your glove compartment and update insurance info with lenders if needed.

  • Cancel the old policy only once new coverage is officially in effect. Never go without active insurance on your vehicles!

Following the proper steps to purchase and activate your new car insurance policy ensures you have seamless, continuous protection.

Update records

Now that you have a new insurance policy in place, you need to update your records and notify relevant parties.

  • Review your new policy documents in detail. Make sure all vehicles, drivers, coverages, limits, deductibles, and premiums are accurate.

  • Note your new policy number and save documents in a safe place. Also save digital copies as backups.

  • Update insurance information on vehicle registrations with your state's DMV. Provide new proof of insurance.

  • Inform lienholders or lenders of the change and give them updated insurance docs. This includes banks/credit unions if you have an auto loan.

  • Add new insurance cards and policy docs to your glove compartment or app. Have accessibility in vehicles at all times.

  • Update the insurance company name and policy number with your primary care doctor, mechanic, or anywhere else you have on file.

  • If switching mid-policy, expect a prorated refund from the old insurer and prorated bill from the new one.

  • Mark your calendar with the new policy renewal date and when premiums are due.

Keeping all records and entities up to date ensures you, your vehicles, and your assets remain fully protected by your new insurance coverage at all times.

Keep documents accessible

Now that you have new insurance policy documents, it's essential to keep them easily accessible in case you need to prove coverage.

  • Keep your insurance cards and policy docs in the glove compartment of each insured vehicle. This allows you to provide proof if pulled over.

  • Take photos of cards to store on your phone so you have digital access if needed.

  • Set reminders on your phone calendar for when new cards are mailed prior to policy renewal each year. Add them to your glove box as soon as you receive them.

  • Keep full policy documents safely stored at home in case you need to reference details or file a claim. A fireproof safe is ideal.

  • Scan or take photos of the full policy to back up digitally - for example in your secure online cloud storage, encrypted USB drive, etc.

  • If you downsize policies or vehicles, remember to remove old cards and docs so only current info is readily available.

  • When traveling, keep proof of insurance cards accessible in your car in case crossing state lines.

Having immediate access to your current insurance documents protects you in the event you need to show proof of coverage while driving or file a claim due to an accident or damage.

Ask questions

Managing your car insurance policy does not end once you have purchased coverage. It is important to stay engaged with your insurance provider and ask questions to ensure you fully understand your plan.

  • Keep your agent's contact info handy and reach out to them with any questions about your policy coverage, exclusions, claims process, etc.

  • Contact customer service if you cannot reach your agent or want a second opinion on policy interpretations.

  • If there are upcoming changes - new vehicle purchases, adding teen drivers, moving homes - proactively ask how it impacts coverage.

  • Before any major trip, call your insurer to check the requirements for driving out of state or country.

  • When renewing, ask if there are any new discounts you now qualify for to lower your premium.

  • If you file a claim, ask for a full explanation of the claim resolution, settlement amount, and any future impacts.

  • Request an annual policy review to re-evaluate your risks, needs, and coverage options.

  • Learn how to access your policy and claims information online through the insurer's portal.

Staying engaged with your provider makes sure you maximize the value of your policy. Don't hesitate to ask any questions about your coverage!

Final Thoughts

Having the right car insurance coverage is crucial to protecting your vehicle against damage. Comprehensive plans cover incidents like severe weather, vandalism, collisions and more. If you want to check your current policy or need to make changes to get better protection, follow these key steps:

  • Locate your policy number

  • Contact your insurance provider

  • Compare your coverage to your risks

  • Shop quotes to upgrade inadequate policies

  • Keep proof of new insurance accessible

Follow this guide to ensure you have the comprehensive coverage you need.

Other readers were also interested in the following posts:

How does comprehensive coverage differ from liability coverage or collision coverage?  

Does Comprehensive Car Insurance Cover Engine Failure?    

Where to get Comprehensive car insurance?   

Why Comprehensive Car Insurance is Best?

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