Vehicle insurance companies and policies
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 companies and policies
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.
In many jurisdictions, it is compulsory to have vehicle insurance before using or keeping a motor vehicle on public roads. Most jurisdictions relate insurance to both the car and the driver; however, the degree of each varies greatly.
Several jurisdictions have experimented with a “pay-as-you-drive” insurance plan which utilizes either a tracking device in the vehicle or vehicle diagnostics. This would address issues of uninsured motorists by providing additional options and also charge based on the miles (kilometers) driven, which could theoretically increase the efficiency of the insurance, through streamlined collection.
Vehicle insurance can cover some or all of the following items:
- The insured party (medical payments)
- Property damage caused by the insured
- The insured vehicle (physical damage)
- Third parties (car and people, property damage and bodily injury)
- Third party, fire and theft
- In some jurisdictions coverage for injuries to persons riding in the insured vehicle is available without regard to fault in the auto accident (No Fault Auto Insurance)
- The cost to rent a vehicle if yours is damaged.
- The cost to tow your vehicle to a repair facility.
- Accidents involving uninsured motorists.
Different policies specify the circumstances under which each item is covered. For example, a vehicle can be insured against theft, fire damage, or accident damage independently.
If a vehicle is declared a total loss and the vehicle’s market value is less than the amount that is still owed to the bank that is financing the vehicle, GAP insurance may cover the difference. Not all auto insurance policies include GAP insurance. GAP insurance is often offered by the finance company at time the vehicle is purchased.
An excess payment, also known as a deductible, is a fixed contribution that must be paid each time a car is repaired with the charges billed to an automotive insurance policy. Normally this payment is made directly to the accident repair “garage” (the term “garage” refers to an establishment where vehicles are serviced and repaired) when the owner collects the car. If one’s car is declared to be a “write-off” (or “totaled”), then the insurance company will deduct the excess agreed on the policy from the settlement payment it makes to the owner.
If the accident was the other driver’s fault, and this fault is accepted by the third party’s insurer, then the vehicle owner may be able to reclaim the excess payment from the other person’s insurance company.
The excess itself can also be protected by a motor excess insurance policy.
A compulsory excess is the minimum excess payment the insurer will accept on the insurance policy. Minimum excesses vary according to the personal details, driving record and the insurance company. For example, young or inexperienced drivers and types of incident can incur additional compulsory excess charges.
To reduce the insurance premium, the insured party may offer to pay a higher excess (deductible) than the compulsory excess demanded by the insurance company. The voluntary excess is the extra amount, over and above the compulsory excess, that is agreed to be paid in the event of a claim on the policy. As a bigger excess reduces the financial risk carried by the insurer, the insurer is able to offer a significantly lower premium.
Basis of premium charges
Depending on the jurisdiction, the insurance premium can be either mandated by the government or determined by the insurance company, in accordance with a framework of regulations set by the government. Often, the insurer will have more freedom to set the price on physical damage coverages than on mandatory liability coverages.
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. 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).
Some of these companies include:
- AIICO Insurance Plc.
- Zenith Insurance Plc.
- FBN General Insurance.
- Cornerstone Insurance.
- Consolidated Hallmark Insurance.
- Old Mutual Nigeria.
- AXA Mansard Insurance Plc.
- Leadway Assurance Plc.
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