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Pam's Insurance Site

When I bought my first house, I was already going into a lot of debt. I didn't have the money to seriously insure it, so I bought only the bare minimum without consulting an insurance professional. That was a big mistake on my part. It could have turned out alright. That is, if my house hadn't been in the path of a huge storm. Huge gale winds knocked a tree down straight through my roof. My house was practically destroyed, and my minimal policy didn't cover nearly enough. I spent years and years trying to get myself out of that financial mess. Since then, I have always been very cautious in learning about insurance and talking to the real professionals.

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3 Things You Didn't Know That Your Auto Insurance Won't Cover

When was the last time that you read the fine print on your auto insurance policy? You may not be as familiar with the terms of your policy as you should be. Things that you would think should be covered may not be, and other things may be covered, but not in the way that you think.

It's always a good idea to know exactly what is covered in your auto insurance policy so that you aren't caught unawares when you really need to make a claim—any gaps in your policy can often be closed with a rider or supplemental policy. Take a look at a few areas where you may not be as covered as you think.

Theft Insurance Might Not Cover Items in Your Car

You stand to lose a lot if some breaks into your car. You may have repair broken locks and windows, paint damage, and vandalism in addition to replacing anything that was stolen from the car. And if you happen to have had your computer, your smartphone, or a trunk full of Christmas presents in your car, that can add up to a lot. But that's what you have insurance for, right?

Maybe not. Your car insurance should definitely pay for the damage to the car. But if you left your tablet in the back seat or your wallet in the console, chances are that your car insurance won't pay to replace those items. Instead, the items in your car should be covered by your homeowner's or renter's insurance. That means that you'll have to file a second claim and pay a second deductible to have those items replaced.

What about aftermarket car parts, like custom hubcaps or a high performance stereo system? Those may be covered and they may not. Insurance companies vary, so if you're going to have an expensive sound system installed in your car, check with your insurance company to find out whether or not it's covered.

Rental Insurance May Not Always Cover a Rental

Rental insurance seems fairly straightforward. You pay a premium and you get a rental car to drive while your car is disabled. However, this may not apply, depending on the reason why your car is disabled. Most rental insurance policies will cover a rental car if you need one because your car was disabled in an accident. However, if your car is in the shop for a mechanical failure or you're having it repainted, you may be on your own for the rental car fees.

Speaking of rental cars, be extra careful when driving one. In most cases your insurance covers you if you're in an accident while driving a rental car, but it may not cover every single expense. If you damage or total the rental car, the rental company can charge an additional fee for loss of use, and your insurance won't cover that. And if the car is valued at less than what the rental company wants for it, you'll have to pay the difference.

You May Need Business Insurance and Not Know it

If your car is insured for personal use only, but you're using it for business purposes, your medical expenses and damage to your car may not be covered if you get into an accident while using the car for business. Most people know this. What you may not know is what exactly constitutes "business purposes."

Depending on your state and your auto insurance company, things like driving to a conference or picking up your boss's dry cleaning might fall under the category of business driving. If you need your car for any business purpose other than simply driving to and from work, it's a good idea to clarify with your insurer exactly what is and isn't covered—you may need to talk to your employer about insuring you for any work-related driving.

If it's been a while since you looked through your insurance policy and examined the fine print, there's no time like the present to do so. Your insurance agent will be happy to answer your questions and help you update your coverage if you find that you're not as protected as you thought. Otherwise, you can start comparing prices with other insurance providers such as Breitweiser Insurance Services.