You go for lunch and you ask "Is this available with salad instead of fries?", "Can I have this cooked only medium rare?" "Is desert included?" I'm sure you can come up with a long list of questions that you want to have answered BEFORE you order lunch, yet when it comes to your car insurance, even though you have spent much more for the policy than you would have for ten or twenty lunches and might have thousands of dollars at stake, many people don't even think of questions about their insurance policy until AFTER they have had an accident or some other reason to make a claim.
The point I'm attempting to make here is that you should be asking questions and trying to understand what your insurance covers before something happens ... and if possible even before you buy the policy.
If you start asking questions when you are shopping for insurance, you just may be able to get a policy that will cover you for exactly what you want not what a standard policy provides.
If you leave it until after you've bought your insurance, just reading through the policy and understanding it can save you a lot of time and frustration when and if the time comes to make a claim.
To give you an example, there are some credit cards that carry a buyer protection policy for anything that you purchase using that credit card to pay for it. In one case, the policy protects you against theft or damages that happen within 90 days after you bought it.
Suppose you buy a new set of tires and two weeks later hit a pot-hole in the road that badly damages the tire. That damage is not covered by the tire manufacturer because it it not a defect in the tire, and even if you wanted to claim for it under your car insurance, you would have to pay the deductible and might result in having your insurance premium increase, but, if you claimed for it from the credit card you might end up getting it paid for.
Now that I've raised your hopes about getting some benefit from a credit card benefit, I'm going to splash some cold water in your face. Some credit cards state that this 90 damage or loss coverage is for "Personal Property." Does this exclude tires on your car? It really depends on how the policy defines "Personal Property." To learn this you need to read your policy.
So, again, it is important that you read your policy.
This is another important thing to consider when you are both buying and claiming for insurance.
It seems to me that a lot of people consider insurance to be some kind of deal something like a lottery ticket that is going to give you a fantastic prize if you simply pass the test of convincing the insurance company that you qualify.
In reality most standard insurance policies are designed to return you to a state in which you are exactly the same as you were before some unexpected misfortune occurred -- most certainly there is no intention to improve your situation or to come close to striking-it-rich, as some people seem to believe.
Look at a situation in which some tires are damaged beyond repair. In the simplest and purest form an insurance policy would give you a tire which is exactly the same as the tire which was damaged. Exactly means that if that tire was 3 years old and nearly completely worn out, the obligation of the insurance company would be to give you another tire that is 3 years, nearly worn out BUT which still is as usable as the one which was destroyed.
Of course, it might be nearly impossible to find a 3 year old tire with the same amount of wear that your lost tire had, so the insurance company might allow you to purchase a new one, and possibly reduce the value which they pay you to account for the extra life which you get from the new tire that you would not have got from the one which had been damaged.
If you shop for insurance you may find policies which will pay you the full replacement cost without any reduction, but if you compare the cost of that insurance policy, you'll probably discover that it will cost more than one which only pays the exact replacement value.
There's another very common way of getting an insurance policy which costs less. This is by increasing what the insurance industry calls "The Deductible" This is a term which means that when you make a claim against the policy, you agree to pay part of the damage you are claiming, and the insurance policy pays the rest. The amount you pay is "The deductible." So, for example, if your policy has a deductible of $100.00, you pay the first $100.00 of whatever you are claiming you lost.
Obviously, if you have a claim of just $101.00 and have to pay $100.00, you may not feel that it is worth the time and effort required to get only $1.00 back from the insurance company.
Now you might have another possibility of buying a policy with a deductible of $500.00. If you do, your insurance premium (that is what the insurance costs) will be less than if the deductible is just $100.00 but, of course, when it comes time to make a claim you know that you are going to have to pay the first $500.00.
The following applies not only to tires, but to virtually any kind of accident or damage claim which you might experience.
Once you understand your policy and know what you can claim for you may run into difficulties if you do not take certain steps or provide the insurance company with the information they require to know that they have a valid claim.
To sum it all up, the most important an vital thing to do, is to read your policy, and understand what it contains BEFORE something happens. If there's something you don't like you might be able to replace that policy with one which is more suitable to your needs.
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