Car insurance is largely considered a necessity in and across the United States. Whether it’s still at the dealership, on the road, or sitting idly in your garage, if there’s a possibility that the car will be driven – or impaired – it needs to be covered.
Coverage, however, can often be a tricky thing. The cost of insurance for any given vehicle can vary by not only credit and accident history, but location, automobile specifics, and risk assessments unique to your specific insurance provider. For a car insurance quote in New Jersey, the number of passengers that travel with you on a daily basis can also impact your premium.
The Texas A&M Transportation Institute and INRIX declared the tristate region the fourth most congested metropolitan area in the United States, in its 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard. With commuter delays and operation costs increasing, many drivers are understandably turning to carpooling. Uber is doing it, as well as Lyft, and a slew of other ride-hailing apps. But if you prefer more traditional methods of ridesharing, you’ll need to know what to it takes to have the right kind of coverage. Before you agree to join a carpool group, make certain that all policies involved can support you and your shared driving arrangements.
Even if you carry your state’s mandated amount of insurance (for most that’s a combination of liability and collision insurance) there is still going to be a “carpool gap” in your coverage. This means that if you’re carpooling to work and get in an accident, there’s a high chance you don’t have enough coverage for your injured passengers. This is where personal injury protection comes in.
With this, everyone riding in your vehicle will be granted reimbursements for damaged goods and medical coverage for any sustained injuries, in the event of an accident. If another member of your ‘pool’ has personal injury protection, the same would be true, whether you have insurance of your own or not.
Another policy worthy of consideration, albeit unnecessary, is uninsured motorist coverage. According to a 2014 study conducted by the Insurance Research Council, 10.3 percent of New Jersey drivers were uninsured – the national average being one in eight. While those aren’t astounding numbers, if you were to get into an accident that wasn’t your fault, your uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance would cover any bills the at-fault driver couldn’t. It works similarly to your liability coverage, and would pay for many of the same things; pain and suffering, medical expenses, etc., for you and any passengers.
Once you are sure your fellow carpoolers’ safety needs are met, you can choose if and how you want to protect your vehicle from damage caused by others. Comprehensive and collision coverage are both separate from liability, but would get the job done.
If you’re concerned that getting more insurance is going to drive up the cost of monthly premium, don’t fret. Most insurance companies will offer their customers a significant discount when they combine their insurance policies under a bulk insurance policy. So ask yourself this: can you afford not to get more insurance?
Whether you pick and choose from the options given here or create an amalgamation all your own being insured and safe, no matter your position in the car, will only add to the convenience of carpooling. Not to mention, it’ll make your passengers feel even more safe knowing that you’re a responsible driver!
If you are considering driving in a carpool, contact one of our licensed CoverHound advisors to discuss your options and get a proper car insurance quote.