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UPDATED: May 7, 2018
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Purchasing optional car insurance for business travel is a good idea for many reasons, especially if you travel frequently and plan to be away from home for a certain amount of time. Optional car insurance is one of the best ways to ensure you have the proper level of protection.
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Most people are aware of the standard types of car insurance that are required across the United States.
If you are not 100% sure of your state requirements, you can check with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. They use a map of the U.S. to direct users to individual state insurance agencies, including automobile insurance providers.
Once you verify the level of car insurance you must obtain to remain compliant with your state, you are free to add other types of coverage as well. This often pertains to optional car insurance.
Take care to make mention to your selected agent the status of your vehicle right away. Never try to conceal information.
For example, if you finance your vehicle, the finance company who provides the loan may want you to carry more than the state minimum.
According to a survey conducted by the American Financial Services Association or AFSA, most financed vehicles will require optional car insurance called Guaranteed Auto Protection, or GAP insurance.
This GAP insurance acts as a sort of debt cancellation for the consumer who purchased the vehicle in the event of a totaled vehicle due to a collision, fire, or theft.
This allows the customer to avoid having to pay off the remaining balance of the car, and the car insurance company can write the cost of the vehicle off their books.
Purchasing Optional Car Insurance Protects Against the Unexpected
Optional car insurance coverage when you are traveling for business is extremely helpful if you leave your meeting and find yourself looking at a flat tire or if your car simply fails to start. The last thing you need is aggravation during an already stressful time.
By utilizing optional car insurance, you are covered for mechanical breakdowns, lock-outs, flat tires, windshield damage, and more. If you drive hundreds of miles on your vehicle on a regular basis, this type of coverage can really pay off over just a few short weeks.
A tiny pebble can hit your windshield and turn into a huge crack or worse. A pothole can cause major alignment problems. If you travel to heavily populated, metropolitan areas like New York City, sometimes the government officials recommend optional car insurance for things like:
- Falling ice, hail, and tree limbs
- Hitting small animals
- Parked vehicle hit by another vehicle
These types of issues are covered under comprehensive or collision car insurance coverage but in New York City and many other places, neither are required. Therefore, although optional, purchasing an additional level of insurance is considered wise.
Optional car insurance has a way of soothing your nerves and protecting your assets. It allows you to focus on your job and not your car.
Having peace of mind is not something you can put a price tag on, so it may be prudent for you to discuss options with your car insurance agent before your next road trip.
On average you should not be expected to pay more than $25 extra per month on your premium for this type of coverage; make sure towing and labor is included. This will save you from dipping into your own pocket to pay the tow truck driver for time and distance.
Car Rental after a Collision or Mechanical Breakdown
If you are traveling for work and find yourself in the middle of an accident or mechanical failure of any kind, your optional car insurance can provide you with a car rental while your personal vehicle is towed to a local service shop.
This can be inconvenient since you will not be anywhere close to your home. You will have to put your trust in someone you may not feel comfortable with which can add to your anxiety.
When your car insurance company provides you with this level of protection, you can be assured that they will deal with reputable service stations only.
In addition, you will more than likely have a few to choose from, and everyone loves having options. Finally, the work will be guaranteed because they will need to gain authorization from your car insurance agent before any repairs are performed.
This means you will remain in the loop during the entire process from the first transaction to the end of the procedure.
Nothing will be completed without you knowing about it, and all records will be kept on file with your insurance company. This is an excellent feature since you may need to review these documents in the future should an issue arise.
Accidental Death or Dismemberment Protection for Your Family
If, while you are on the road for business purposes, you are involved in a fatal collision or disabled permanently, optional car insurance can protect you and your family. Depending on the terms you agree to within the policy, a specific amount of money will be paid to your beneficiary.
This does not void any other amount payable through liability, no-fault or any other coverage selected.
If you are permanently disabled, you may require more money to pay for long-term medical costs. This is especially true if you were the sole breadwinner, or if your salary outweighs the other contributors to the household by more than half.
Your family may begin to feel the financial pressure if you are not thoroughly prepared. This is where accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) optional car insurance can really assist you. The amount and eligibility requirements for AD&D coverage vary from state to state.
For example, if you reside in Oregon and you want to take advantage of the AD&D optional car insurance benefits, you must meet certain requirements and be an active Public Employee’s Benefit Board (PEBB) member.
Since most residents of the state of Oregon do participate and are members of this organization through their employers, it is not as strict a guideline as it may seem to someone who lives in an adjoining or surrounding state.
The Most Popular Types of Optional Car Insurance
The two most popular types of optional car insurance are Collision and Comprehensive.
Collision protects your vehicle against any damage when the accident is your fault. Comprehensive coverage protects your vehicle against issues like theft or natural disasters including weather damage and fires.
You are also protected if your vehicle is damaged due to potholes or even stationary objects.
This is why many car insurance companies have lobbied for so long to have these two levels of coverage made mandatory. You should review the minimum requirements for your state because you may reside in a state that has already made these “optional” types of insurance required.
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The Purpose of Supplemental Spouse Liability Coverage
Unbelievably, most car insurance policies will protect all of the passengers who become injured in an accident if the collision is the driver’s fault except the spouse.
This is why so many car insurance agents are now required to present supplemental spousal liability coverage to all married couples seeking a policy with their company.
It is not mandatory that couples accept this level of coverage, but they must be made aware of the consequences that will affect them if they deny this optional protection.
For this reason, most who do elect to add supplemental spouse liability insurance should not pay more than $10 to $15 extra per month.
Other Types of Optional Car Insurance
There are quite a few other types of optional car insurance for you to review, including higher limits of both Bodily Injury Liability and Property Damage Liability.
Many state minimum requirements fall below $50,000 for bodily injury liability. Property damage liability is usually around $10,000 in most states.
If you are able, you should increase these limits to at least $15,000 to $50,000.
If you are looking to protect your assets, you may need coverage amounts between $100,000 and $250,000; go higher if you can afford the rates. In the event of a lawsuit, you will wish you had selected much higher limits.
Another type of optional car insurance is called Supplementary Uninsured or Underinsured Coverage, also known as SUM Coverage.
An increased amount of $250,000 for each person per collision or incident helps substantially. While the premium will increase, your mind that will be placed at ease, especially during a hit-and-run or an accident involving a motorist without insurance.
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