DALLAS — Who wants to buy a car right now? This probably wont get any hands up.
Reports say the average new vehicle costs $45,717. The average used vehicle costs almost $30,000 ($29,969 ).
What if you have to buy one though, because your car gets obliterated by severe weather (it happens in Texas). Or if your ride is stolen? Or if you total it (that happens a lot in Texas, too)?
And what if you have to come up with the money for a new or used vehicle all on your own because one of those bad things happened to your car and you didn’t have comprehensive or collision coverage?
One out of five drivers only has liability protection. If that's you, there’s a good chance you get nothing if something bad happens to your car. You pay less monthly for just liability protection.
So, back when buying another car wasn’t ridiculously expensive, that may have seemed like a good way to save money.
With car prices so inflated now, you might want to consider full coverage.
Even if you have all that protection though, will your insurer do right by you if you have a total loss?
The Insurance Information Institute says if your insurance company has to pay you for a total loss, they are required to offer you fair market value.
According to III, "A vehicle is legally considered a total loss if the cost of repairs and supplemental claims equal or exceed 75% of the fair market value. If your car is a total loss, and the insurance carrier accepts liability, they are required to pay fair market value for the vehicle. If you are not satisfied with the offer, you may be able to negotiate the final settlement with your insurance adjuster but be prepared to present current market value data for support of your position. You also may want to ask your insurance agent to help you through this process."
You can negotiate that figure, but the III says you have to know your car’s current market value. They recommend several sites like Kelley Blue Book, Autotrader, Edmunds and the Consumer Reports Car Value Estimator to help you estimate how much your car is worth.
They also recommend that you call your insurance company and ask them for your current market value just so you have an idea.
The III says the average cost of replacing a vehicle has gone up 12.5% since last year.
Insurance companies have to recoup those costs. And there are predictions that many of us will see our rates increase.
So, while you are contacting your insurer and possibly adjusting your coverage anyway, shop the competition. I recommend doing it every year, but it’s especially important when the costs of buying and insuring are unusually steep.