Insurance Pro Tip 102 – Property Damage Coverage
Last week, we started a series of “insider tips” to help you get more bang out of your buck for your Auto insurance. Insider tips are useful advice from people in the trenches to help avoid wasting time or money.
I used to sell women’s shoes for a few years at the mall. It was a fast-paced type of job and I enjoyed meeting new people and welcoming back regular customers. My insider tip for women’s shoes is to buy your sandals in March/April and your boots in late August/September for best selection of styles and sizes. We always chuckled when someone would ask for a size 8 sandal in June or a popular boot in December. Sandals and boots may have at best one minimal reorder during the season. Don’t wait to get what you are looking for in-season.
I shared the auto insurance insider tip of rental reimbursement coverage last week. As in- get the rental reimbursement coverage. It is very inexpensive and will save you tons of time, hassle, and money down the line when the unthinkable accident happens.
This week’s insider tip for auto insurance is: property damage coverage. My guess is that you don’t have enough of it.
Did you know that the minimum property damage coverage for the State of Wisconsin is only $10,000? That is a ridiculously low number. Property damage coverage helps pay for the other person(s) vehicle (or home/business, fence, bushes, store sign, etc.). It also helps pay for the stop light, road sign, electrical box, street light, construction barriers, etc.). Pretty much any one elses’ property that you damage in an accident that you cause or are held liable for (in other words- the police or other witnesses “think” you caused.)
People underestimate how costly cars are these days. A new Honda Odyssey minivan averages $44,000. A GMC Denali is over $60,000. Even some of the bigger pickup trucks like a Chevy Silverado or Ford F-150 over $50,000 when loaded up. That’s not even considering a Lexus, Infinity, BMW, or Mercedes (or even more exotic cars).
If you have the state minimum property damage cover of $10,000 and you hit and total a $50,000- you will owe quite a bit of money out of your own pocket.
But what if you hit more than one car during your accident? And you also careen off one of the cars and drive through a store front? Or hit someone’s home? Or something… I don’t know… simple, like a light post… that knocks out power to the neighborhood and requires the energy company to send emergency crews out that get billed to you.
And yes- these things happen. Even to safe drivers. Even to people who don’t “plan” on getting into accidents.
They even happen to people who have more than the state limits on their policy!
Most people that we talk to seem to have $100,000 of property damage coverage on their policy. If you are at-fault in an accident and cause more damage than your property damage coverage on your policy, you will owe the balance out of your pocket. Your wages will be garnished. Your life will be changed.
Our advice is to increase your property damage coverage to the highest your carrier has available. It is one of the most affordable coverage that you can upgrade and will protect you and your future income if something terrible happens in the future. You will be shocked at how little it will cost to upgrade this coverage! The key is- don’t be afraid to talk to your insurance agent and ask!
Both the rental reimbursement that was discussed last week and the property damage coverage that was detailed this week are small, but very important parts of your policy that can be enhanced without spending a lot of money. But both can save you tons of money in the future!
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