Myth No. 4: If my car is totaled, my insurance will pay off what I owe on my loan or lease.
Fact: When your car is totaled, your policy does not promise to pay off what you owe. It will pay you the actual cash value of your car, minus your deductible. Actual cash value is the amount your car was worth before the accident, factoring in depreciation. You are still responsible for any amount outstanding on the loan or car lease.
The only way to cover the difference between the car's cash value and the amount you owe on a loan is to purchase gap insurance. Available to cover both auto leases and loans, gap insurance covers you if your car is totaled before you've paid your loan or before your lease term expires. Buying the coverage could save you some grief.
Your insurer will decide whether your car is totaled. Generally, a total loss is declared when the repair costs would exceed a certain threshold of the car's value, generally 70%. At that point, the insurance company will tow your car to a salvage yard and offer you the actual cash value of the vehicle.
Myth No. 5: My insurance company will pay for a rental car if my car is stolen or damaged in an accident.
Fact: Even if you have comprehensive and collision coverage, it may not include a rental car. Rental car reimbursement is not automatically included in most insurance policies, but you can add it at an affordable cost. According to the Insurance Information Institute, rental reimbursement coverage is available for $1 to $2 a month with most insurers.
Even if you have this coverage, it won't necessarily last until your stolen car is recovered or your damaged car is fixed. There's a limit on how much your insurance company will reimburse you per day, plus a cap for a maximum amount per accident. For example, Geico charges $20 a year for a maximum $750 in rental reimbursement, with no deductible to pay. In this case, Geico would reimburse you up to $25 a day but no more than $750 per accident.
Myth No. 6: Drivers of sports cars get more tickets and thus pay higher insurance premiums.
Fact: That's not necessarily the case. According to a study released in 2009 by Quality Planning, leading the pack with the most violations are drivers of the Hummer H2/H3. Hummer drivers have almost five times the average number of violations. Drivers of three Scion models (tC, XB Station, XA) also made the top 10 list. Others on the list include drivers of two Mercedes-Benz models (CLK63 AMG, CLS63 AMG), two Toyotas (Solara, Matrix), the Subaru Outback station wagon and the Audi A4.
At the other end of the spectrum, the study also included a "well-behaved vehicle list." Topping that list were drivers of the Jaguar XJ, followed by the Chevrolet Suburban, Chevrolet Tahoe, Chevrolet C/K-3500/2500, Buick Park Avenue, Mazda6, Buick Rainier, Oldsmobile Silhouette, Buick Lucerne and GMC Sierra C1500 pickup.
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