Auto Insurance FAQs

If you have questions, you’re not alone, but we can help. From questions about car rentals to liability issues, we have answers to the most frequently asked Auto Insurance questions.

Here are some answers to your FAQs about Automobile Insurance

Why is a credit score used in rating auto insurance?

Statistical and insurance companies have done analyses comparing individuals’ credit scores with insurance loss history, and have found a significant correlation between the two. This information is claimed to be predictive of future loss experience, thus making it a useful tool for companies to use in matching drivers to a proper premium level.

What is credit scoring?

Credit scoring refers to a system by which some companies use an individual’s credit experiences–such as bill paying history, the number and types of accounts they have, late payments, collection actions, outstanding debts and the age of their accounts–in determining whether to sell insurance to the individual or what rate to charge the individual.

Why does the insurance company need my Social Security number?

Similar to other financial service providers like banks and credit unions, an insurance company uses your personal information for a variety of purposes including verification and record keeping. Just like financial service providers, the insurance company and insurance agents are bound by state and federal privacy laws and may not release your personal information to others without your permission except as allowed by law.

What Are "Physical Damage Coverages"?

Comprehensive and collision coverages are the “Physical Damage Coverages”. Under Comprehensive coverage, we will pay for damage to your car and its equipment not caused by collision. Comprehensive coverage includes glass breakage, contact with persons, animals, birds, missiles, or falling objects. Under Collision coverage, we will pay for damage to your car and its equipment cause by collision or upset.

What is an auto insurance deductible?

A deductible is the amount of the claim that you agree to pay or the part that is deducted from your claim check. Comprehensive and collision coverages generally have deductibles. The higher the deductibe that you choose, the lower the premium. The lower the deductible that you choose, the higher the premium.

What Is Provided By The Liability Coverage In My Policy?

Under your Liability Coverage, we agree to pay all sums you legally must pay as damages caused by an accident covered by the policy. The accident must arise out of the ownership, maintenance, use, loading, or unloading of an auto that The ERIE insures. The damages must involve bodily injury, (physical harm, sickness or disease, including care, loss of services or resultant death) or property damage (including loss of the property use).

How can I save money on my auto insurance?

A safe driving record, driving a well-rated car, good credit, and having a combination policy (auto & homeowners insurance with the same company) are all excellent ways to reduce insurance premiums. Adjusting coverage or increasing deductibles may or may not be a good way for you to bring down the cost of insurance. There are plenty of ways to lower the cost of your insurance premiums. Feel free to check out Get better coverage and pay less money article in our Auto insurance Tips section.

But the BEST way to save money on your insurance is to work with an insurance agent you trust and let your agent match a policy to your needs. Contact Gilmartin Agency, the agency you can trust!

Why are the rates for young drivers so much higher than for adults?

Insurance rates are based upon statistics. Traditionally, less experienced drivers have shown significantly higher losses resulting in higher rates. Your premiums may not be affected when your teen gets a learner’s permit, but will increase when a driver’s license is obtained. Check with your agent or company to find out when the teen needs to be added to your policy.

What if I don't pay my insurance by my due date?

Property and casualty policies, including auto policies, are not required to have a grace period that allows for late payment of premium. The premium must be in the hands of the company on the date identified on the billing. If the premium is not received by that date, the policy automatically terminates. Some companies voluntarily allow grace periods without a lapse in coverage. Most companies, however, do not permit a grace period.

What is the difference between a cancellation and a non renewal?

A cancellation happens in the middle of the policy period. A non-renewal takes place at the anniversary or renewal date of the contract. Unlike cancellation, a company may non-renew a contract based upon underwriting criteria. Underwriting criteria are those specific requirements written into the company’s program. Claims frequency and driving record are examples of underwriting criteria used by companies when deciding whether to renew or non-renew a policy. A company must give 30 days notice for a nonrenewal. Both cancellation and non-renewal result in termination of the contract.

How can a company charge more premium than the agent quoted me?

As described earlier, there are many different factors involved in rating a policy. The agent’s quote is an estimate based on information you provide. The actual premium is determined by the company after reviewing all the information including Motor Vehicle Reports, insurance credit scores and claims reports. When shopping, it is important that all questions are answered truthfully and completely, including any traffic tickets or accidents. The wrong information may result in an incorrect price quotation and/or rejection of your coverage. Remember, the actual premium may be more or less than the quoted estimate.

If I Rent a Truck Or Trailer To Move, Does My Auto Insurance Provide Any Coverage?

Liability coverage for damage you do to other vehicles and property, or injuries you cause to other persons is the same as provided for a car. However, there is no coverage if the truck you rent has more than six wheels. This liability coverage also applies to a rented trailer.

If I Loan My Car To Someone Else, Is There Coverage?

Generally, anyone to whom you give permission to driver your car is covered under The ERIE’s policy. Relatives who live in your home are automatically covered while driving your car. Drivers specifically excluded on your policy, however, are not covered. The name of any excluded driver should appear on the coverage sheet (Declarations) of your policy.

If I Rent a Car, Will It Be Covered If I Damage It?

Generally, private passenger autos you rent (including motor homes, pick ups, and vans) are covered for damage your cause to them, if they are not covered by the rental agency’s insurance. Coverage is available for up to 45 consecutive days. Coverage only applies if there is physical damage coverage on at least one vehicle on your policy. If you don’t carry physical damage on your policy, we recommend you buy the rental company’s “Collision Damage Waiver”. Coverage only applies in the Unites States of America it’s territories and possessions, Puerto Rico, Canada or between their ports. The only drivers covered are the named insured on the policy and their spouse. However, there are other costs you may want to consider.

Most car rental agreements include a clause making you responsible for “loss of use”, meaning you will be responsible for any income that they are not able to earn while the vehicle is out of commission or while it is being repaired.

Am I Covered If I Borrow Someone Else's Car?

The ERIE will provide excess liability protection while you are using any auto or trailer not owned by you (except those furnished for use by any governmental agency or unit). Your ERIE policy will pay the amount for which you are liable for damage to other vehicles or property and injury to other persons that are not covered by the vehicle owner’s insurance. Your operation or use of a non-owned auto or trailer must be with the permission of the owner, or you must reasonably believe you have permission. Coverage for damage to the vehicle itself is provided, if at least one of your cars on your ERIE policy has comprehensive and collision coverage. However, this coverage pays only for damage that is not covered by the vehicle owner’s policy.

What Should I Do If an Accident or Loss Occurs?

If you are involved in an accident or loss:

  • Help any injured. Get names, addresses, and auto license plate numbers of those involved, including all witnesses.
  • Do not discuss an accident with anyone except the police or our representative.
  • Protect your auto and any property from further damage.
  • Promptly call the police if someone is injured, damage is extensive, or in the case of theft. In the case of a “hit-and-run”, you must report the accident to the police within 24 hours or as soon as possible.
  • Notify your Agent of the accident or loss.