Vehicle insurance (also known as car insurance, motor insurance, or auto insurance) is insurance for cars, trucks, motorcycles, and other road vehicles. Its primary use is to provide financial protection against physical damage or bodily injury resulting from traffic collisions and against liability that could also arise from incidents in a vehicle. Vehicle insurance may additionally offer financial protection against theft of the vehicle, and against damage to the vehicle sustained from events other than traffic collisions, such as keying, weather or natural disasters, and damage sustained by colliding with stationary objects. The specific terms of vehicle insurance vary with legal regulations in each region.
For example, a 50-year-old woman with 30 years' driving experience and a squeaky clean licence is in a prime position for one of the cheapest insurance policies available. Her 18-year-old daughter on the other hand, recently unleashed onto the roads, will be considered a far higher risk for the insurer, consequently increasing the overall cost. Read our guide on getting cheap insurance for young drivers if this applies to you.
Motor insurers in the UK place a limit on the amount that they are liable for in the event of a claim by third parties against a legitimate policy. This can be explained in part by the Great Heck Rail Crash that cost the insurers over £22,000,000 in compensation for the fatalities and damage to property caused by the actions of the insured driver of a motor vehicle that caused the disaster. No limit applies to claims from third parties for death or personal injury, however UK car insurance is now commonly limited to £20,000,000 for any claim or series of claims for loss of or damage to third party property caused by or arising out of one incident.
In most U.S. 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. Rating practices, such as debit for a poor driving history, are not dictated by law. Many 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. Any motoring convictions should be disclosed to insurers, as the driver is assessed by risk from prior experiences while driving on the road.
In several countries insurance companies offer direct repair programs (DRP) so that their customers have easy access to a recommended car body repair shop. Some also offer one-stop shopping where a damaged car can get dropped off and an adjuster handles the claim, the car is fixed and often a replacement rental car is provided. When repairing the vehicle the car body repair shop is obliged to follow the instructions regarding the choice of original equipment manufacturer (OEM), original equipment supplier parts (OES), Matching Quality spare parts (MQ) and generic replacement parts. Both DRPs and non OEM parts help to keep costs down and keep insurance prices competitive. AIRC (International Car body repair Association) General Secretary Karel Bukholczer made clear that DRP's have had big impact on car body repair shops.
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.
Some classes of vehicle ownership, or use, are "Crown Exempt" from the requirement to be covered under the Act including vehicles owned or operated by certain councils and local authorities, national park authorities, education authorities, police authorities, fire authorities, health service bodies, the security services and vehicles used to or from Shipping Salvage purposes. Although exempt from the requirement to insure, this provides no immunity against claims being made against them, so an otherwise Crown Exempt authority may choose to insure conventionally, preferring to incur the known expense of insurance premiums rather than accept the open-ended exposure of effectively, self-insuring under Crown Exemption.
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 US 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.
Under the cents-per-mile system, rewards for driving less are delivered automatically, without the 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.