If you’re a Millennial between 18 and 29, chances are you can’t tell whether these simple statements about auto insurance are true or false. Gen Xers and Boomers: Don’t be too smug because plenty of you are striking out, too.
A new survey conducted by InsuranceQuotes.com has found that across the board, people don’t know as much about their car coverage as they think—and that could cost them big time.
Think you know whether the following statements are fact or fiction? Read on to find out (the answers are below.)
- True or False: Driving a red car makes your insurance more expensive.
- True or False: Auto insurance covers you when an accident is your fault.
- True or False: Where you live affects how much you pay for auto insurance.
- True or False: Items stolen from a vehicle are covered by auto insurance.
- False: This is a perennial myth, probably perpetuated by parents as they tried to avoid buying flashy speed demons for their young drivers. Purported, too, is the idea that red cars are pulled over more frequently, causing insurance rates to spike for the unlucky driver. Again, not true.
- True: A basic auto insurance plan should cover you, even if that fender bender was your fault. To make sure you’re protected, check that your liability and collision coverage are above the minimum your state requires.
- True: Most Americans actually do know that location affects insurance rates. Urbanites with a car typically have higher insurance rates than those who live in rural areas based on the simple idea that cities are more densely populated—and more people equals more accidents, if you’re looking at basic probability.
- False: When something is stolen from your home, it’s typically covered under “personal property” or “contents” insurance—and 34% of Americans think the same principle applies to autos. If you’re worried that something will be stolen out of your vehicle, check with your homeowners or renters insurance to see if the items in your car are covered, too. Surprisingly, Millennials did better than their parents’ generation on this question. People age 18 to 29 responded correctly 68% of the time; those 65 and older responded correctly only 38% of the time.
With Age Comes Wisdom — Sometimes
Knowing exactly how you’re covered by your auto insurance plan doesn’t seem that important until you find yourself reaching for your insurance card after an accident. Unfortunately, Adams says that too many people—especially Millennials—wait until they’ve been in a collision before educating themselves.
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“Unless you’re taking Uber 100% of time or using a public transportation system, you can’t escape insurance. We all have to budget for it and make it part of our financial profiles.”
And when you think about it, you really ought to know what your coverage includes when you’re shelling out an average of $6,100 a year for auto insurance if you’re under 25, according to personal finance site Value Penguin.
Luckily for drivers, if they’re not happy with their coverage, Adams says shopping around often yields cheaper rates. The important thing is to make sure that even if you’re paying less for your plan, you’re not skimping on value.
“Having good value is something you have to be inquisitive about. If people assume their insurance company or agent is proactively working for them, they’re going to be sorely disappointed.”
If you’re unsure which areas of your coverage leave you the most vulnerable, Adams says to start by analyzing your liability coverage, the money that covers damage to another person’s car when you’re at fault. One of the biggest mistakes people make, Adams says, is choosing a plan based on your state’s minimum liability requirement. For example, if your insurance offers $10,000 in liability protection and your accident costs exceed that, you may be putting your other financial assets at risk.
Bundling your home and auto insurance is a way that consumers can find plans that are more affordable without skimping on coverage. Adams says if you’re a renter, combining your renters insurance with your auto insurance can qualify you for a discount.
And if you passed the quiz above, don’t get too comfortable—keep up with any policy updates from your provider to make sure you’re protected by your plan.