Saturday, April 25, 2009

How much car insurance is enought?

This week I was trying to answer the question: "How much insurance do I really need?"

All over the web, the only answer is 'the minimum legal' or if you have valuable assets 'the more you can afford to protect them'.

I will try to answer this question here.

Bodily Injury and Property Damage is what we are concerned about.

Bodily Injury
Let's say you injured Bill in a traffic accident.
You will have to pay bill for his pain, mental anguish, lost wages, loss of family time and more... Yes you will have to pay damages if Bill can't have sex with his wife for sometime!.... how much is she worth? His employer can also come after you for productivity loss.

Unfortunately if the worse was to come, it will all be settled by numbers.

So here's the question that comes next:

How much does a serious injury cost?
How much would it cost in case of a death?

Find below the US national average for 2006 per injured

Incapacitating injury$201,100
Nonincapacitating evident injury$50,400
Possible injury$24,400
No injury$2,200

Property Damage Crash

(Data from the National Safety Council

Remember, if there are 2, 3, 4, 5 people in the car, the costs will multiply and unfortunately not your coverage.
So you should adjust your coverage with the number of people usually in your car, and in the cars around you.

Also, remember that all this does not need to be covered only by a car insurance, you can buy a global 'liability' insurance that will cover you for liability with your cars, houses...
some $200-$300 for $1Million then $50 per additional million.

You may be safer inside an SUV/Pick-up, but you have 6 times more risk of killing others in the event of an accident. SUV/Pick-up don't handle as well as cars and are four times more likely to roll over.

Public transportations are the safest, 10 times!

Below is a table of the coverages that my insurance offers me. You can select the different options you want and see the total. In red is what I believe appropriate for someone in a case similar as mine.
I drive a 4 years old VW Passat, which I consider safe.
I park it in a safe neighboorhood.
I live in California, bay-area => the chances of hitting a Mercedes, Porshe or Lexus are pretty high: I need a good Property Damage coverage.

Bodily Injury
This pays for the people you injure and protect your assets from lawsuits

Uninsured Motorist
This pays if you are injured by an uninsured

Property Damage
This pays for cars and properties you damage and protect your assets

This pays if you car gets damaged by theft or nature

$1000 Ded.
$500 Ded.
$250 Ded.
$200 Ded.
$100 Ded.
$50 Ded.
$0 Ded.
This pays for repair or replacement in case of an accident

$1000 Ded.
$1000 Ded./Waiver
$500 Ded.
$500 Ded./Waiver
$250 Ded.
$250 Ded./Waiver
$200 Ded.
$200 Ded./Waiver
$150 Ded.
$25 Ded.
Rental Reimbursement
This pays for rental car while you car is repaired after a collision

$25/Day, $750 Max
$50/Day, $1,500 Max
Medical Payments

Current Selection

Bodily Injury
Uninsured Motorist
Property Damage
Rental Reimbursement
Medical Payments
Grand total

Hopefully this will help you drive without worrying.

Good Day!


  1. PS: Don't see this table as something to show you how much you should pay.
    I use this table to see where I get the most coverage for the $$$ and how much coverage I need to feel comfortable.
    I suppose the curve would be similar for other people.

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