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 affect the expected cost of future claims.[38] 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).[39]
The regulations for vehicle insurance differ with each of the 50 US states and other territories, with each U.S. state having its own mandatory minimum coverage requirements (see separate main article). Each of the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia requires drivers to have insurance coverage for both bodily injury and property damage, but the minimum amount of coverage required by law varies by state. For example, minimum bodily injury liability coverage requirements range from $30,000 in Arizona[36] to $100,000 in Alaska and Maine,[37] while minimum property damage liability requirements range from $5,000 to $25,000 in most states.
Providers can also offer sub-divisions of auto repair insurance. There is standard repair insurance which covers the wear and tear of vehicles, and naturally occurring breakdowns. Some companies will only offer mechanical breakdown insurance, which only covers repairs necessary when breakable parts need to be fixed or replaced. These parts include transmissions, oil pumps, pistons, timing gears, flywheels, valves, axles and joints. [59]
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).[23] 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.[24]
Auto insurance is financial protection, and not just for the investment you made when you bought your car. After a really serious accident, bills for damage and injuries can easily reach into hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you happen to cause such a wreck, the victims could sue you. In the worst case scenario, assets such as your savings and home could be seized.
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