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Auto Insurance Information Center

November 2009

What is auto insurance?

Auto insurance protects you against financial loss if you have an accident.

It is a contract between you and the insurance company. You agree to pay the premium and the insurance company agrees to pay your losses as defined in your policy. Auto insurance provides property, liability and medical coverage:

  • Property coverage pays for damage to or theft of your car.

  • Liability coverage pays for your legal responsibility to others for bodily injury or property damage.

  • Medical coverage pays for the cost of treating injuries, rehabilitation and sometimes lost wages and funeral expenses.

An auto insurance policy is comprised of six different kinds of coverage. Most states require you to buy some, but not all, of these coverages. If you're financing a car, your lender may also have requirements. Most auto policies are for six months to a year. Your insurance company should notify you by mail when it's time to renew the policy and to pay your premium.

Reproduced with permission from the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.). For more information visit www.iii.org.

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