Updated: 9/8/2011 11:30 AM ET|
The 6 biggest car insurance myths
If a tree branch damages your car, you won't have to pay for a rental while it's being repaired, will you? And if someone steals your ride, you're covered, right?
Insurance policies can be complicated. Don't let a flood of misinformation drown out the facts. Since confusion can be costly, Insure.com is setting the record straight. Here are the most common car insurance myths debunked.
Myth No. 1: Red cars are the most expensive to insure.
Fact: Red will not cost you more green. Roughly 25% of drivers surveyed by Progressive Insurance believe car color is a factor in determining insurance rates -- especially if a car is red. But insurance companies will likely not even ask about the color of your car when they're calculating your quote.
"The idea that the color of a car enters into what you're going to pay for insurance is a myth that's been around for a long time," says Jeff McCollum, a spokesman for State Farm Insurance. "I wouldn't be surprised if it came from the fact that people with red sports cars have the image of being wild and reckless, but it certainly isn't based on any type of reality."
Insurers are interested in the year, make, model, body type, engine size and age of your vehicle. The color may be important to you, but it really doesn't matter to your insurance company.
Myth No. 2: Thieves are more likely to steal new cars.
Fact: It's the other way around. Statistics indicate that thieves actually tend to steal older cars. According to a National Insurance Crime Bureau report, the top 10 most-stolen vehicles reported in 2007 were the 1995 Honda Civic, 1991 Honda Accord, 1989 Toyota Camry, 1997 Ford F-150 pickup, 1994 Chevrolet C/K 1500 pickup, 1994 Acura Integra, 2004 Dodge Ram pickup, 1994 Nissan Sentra, 1988 Toyota pickup and 2007 Toyota Corolla.
"The reason we see so many older vehicles on the list is because they are easier to steal," says Frank Scafidi, a bureau spokesman. "Also, people are keeping their cars longer (in the faltering economy). That creates a good market for used parts. A lot of times, when they are stolen, they don't make it back on the street intact."
The insurance bureau's report suggests that thieves have different preferences from state to state. Crooks in California and Florida are more likely to take Hondas, Toyotas and other imports. Thieves in Texas tend to grab pickup trucks. Criminals in Illinois, Indiana and Michigan steal more domestics, especially Dodges and Fords.
If you have an older vehicle and have dropped comprehensive coverage to save money, you are not covered for theft and do not qualify for rental car coverage.
Myth No. 3: My insurance will cover me if my car is stolen, vandalized or damaged by hail or fire.
Fact: Unless you have comprehensive coverage, you are not covered for any of these things. A bare-bones policy in most states requires only that you buy liability coverage. This pays only for damage you cause to others. You need to purchase both collision and comprehensive coverage in order to fully protect your vehicle from all types of damage.
Comprehensive coverage pays for damage to your car that is not the result of a car accident. That includes theft, vandalism, hail, fires and accidents involving animals. Collision coverage pays for damage to your vehicle from a car accident.
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