Best Car Insurance Options for Large Families in the Pacific Northwest (PNW)
Your car spends most of its time rolling up and down your drive. You spend your days commuting to and from work and transporting the kids to school, sports activities, and other social events. Your new teen drivers compete for the family vehicles, too. When all is said and done, your private fleet seems to be on the road ‘round the clock.
So how does all of that road warrior work affect the car insurance of drivers like you who live in the Pacific Northwest?
Frequent PNW Drivers Should Consider Full Coverage Insurance
One concept that’s pretty easy to understand is that the incidence of car accidents goes up the longer you’re on the road. To put it another way, your vehicle is just about as safe as it can be from collision damage if it’s sitting alone in your garage. But that’s not where your large family’s vehicles spend the bulk of their time. Not by far.
And that’s what makes it imperative to shop for full coverage car insurance, even though it costs more than liability insurance alone. (More on that later.)
The three most important factors of full coverage insurance are your state-required minimum liability coverage, plus comprehensive and collision coverage. Let’s take a fuller look at those last two.
Collision — This is what we mean when we think about traditional accident coverage. It’s when your vehicle collides with another or is involved in a single-car event such as a rollover. This also includes impact with a stationary object such as a wall or tree. A hit-and-run accident caused by another driver is also covered through collision.
Comprehensive — Sometimes a vehicle can sustain damage when it’s not even on the road. Maybe it gets involved in a fire, an extreme weather condition, or an act of vandalism. A tree branch falls on it while it’s parked. Or your car is stolen and either never found or recovered damaged. Comprehensive coverage pays a settlement for this type of off-road misadventure.
In addition, a full coverage car insurance policy can handle a couple more important areas of coverage, either as a standard part of the policy or as an add-on.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage — In most U.S. states, the insurance company of the driver at fault pays for damages. While car insurance is mandatory everywhere in the PNW and beyond, the unfair reality is that some drivers never get insurance. Some might not even be licensed to drive.
What uninsured motorist insurance does is pay for the damage inflicted on you and your vehicle when the driver at fault is uninsured and unable to pay for the damage – or in the event someone causes an accident and then flees the scene (hit and run). Uninsured motorist insurance is required in Oregon, but not in Washington or Idaho. However, it’s a good idea for everybody.
Roadside Assistance — A family member is stranded at the side of the road at midnight with a flat tire, dead battery, or collision damage that makes the car inoperable. Whatever the situation, your insurance plan’s roadside assistance benefit will have help on the way in the form of a tire change, fuel refill, battery charge, or a tow — whatever emergency assistance you need, whenever and wherever you need it.
You might consider this to be an especially important car insurance feature if you have young drivers who spend way too much time on the road at odd hours and late at night.
Your Young PNW Drivers Might Be in the Market for Liability Coverage
As all insurance underwriters know, younger drivers are the likeliest to drive recklessly at high rates of speed and get into disproportionately more accidents ranging from fender benders to serious collisions. That’s why it costs more — often much more — to insure the new drivers in your family. If you’re about to make your first contact with your insurance agent regarding coverage for a teen driver, you might be in for a little sticker shock.
That’s why we recommend pricing liability coverage, which is the minimum coverage for drivers in the PNW. The main feature of this lowest-cost coverage is liability insurance. Personal injury and property damage liability protects the other driver, passengers, and property owners from accidents in which your young driver is at fault.
The sticking point is that your young driver’s vehicle won’t be covered. If the car of your teen driver is totaled, there will be no settlement. In return, your insurance agent can help you find the most affordable coverage available to keep your young driver street legal.
Consider Deductible Options to Keep Car Insurance Rates as Low as Possible
Full coverage for the adults in the family, liability insurance for the teens. Your coverage rates add up quickly, don’t they? And that’s in addition to all that you owe for car payments, licensing, fuel, maintenance, and associated transportation costs.
One strategy for keeping your car insurance rates as manageable as possible is to consider higher deductibles. Since your deductible is the amount that your insurance company won’t have to pay when you make a claim, your premium rates go down as your deductible goes up.
Is this a gamble? Sort of. If a driver in your family gets into an accident, you’ll have to pay more out of pocket with a higher deductible. But if everyone drives carefully, you can minimize that risk and keep coverage within your budget.
Just make sure that you can come up with the deductible amount if you need it. If you can’t, you’re likely better off paying more for your premiums. Your insurance agent will be able to provide you with cost options at various deductible levels to help you determine which cost point is best for your family’s pocketbook.
Contact Vern Fonk Insurance to Learn About Your Car Insurance Options for Large Families
What we’ve introduced you to here is a lot of options for car insurance coverage and costs, especially for large families in the Pacific Northwest. You have a lot of decisions to make and you can use some expert help. That’s why we’re here.
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