10 Car Insurance Add-Ons That Are Worth Considering
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Car insurance add-ons, like key replacement, roadside assistance, gap insurance and key replacement, can offer useful coverage that can save you time, headaches and money in unexpected situations. However, you’ll want to be mindful about which add-ons you buy. Coverage you never or rarely use can cost more than it’s worth, after all.
Read on to learn how car insurance add-ons provide you with additional protection for specific events and circumstances.
What Is a Car Insurance Add-on?
Also called endorsements or riders, car insurance add-ons are optional coverages that drivers can buy. Add-ons cover specific instances. For example, roadside assistance coverage pays for tows and fuel deliveries, while gap insurance steps in when you have an outstanding auto loan.
Drivers should note that add-ons supplement the existing coverage in your auto policy and do not meet any insurance requirements mandated by your state. When buying auto insurance, always start with meeting the minimum limits required in your location.
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10 Top Car Insurance Add-ons
With a wide array of car insurance add-ons, drivers can purchase the ones that best fit their situation. Below, we list some common endorsements that can be worth adding to your auto policy. (Availability for certain add-ons can vary by insurance company.
- Roadside assistance: Provides emergency services when your car breaks downs. Covered services may include towing, fuel delivery, battery jump starts, flat tires, on-site repair, locksmithing services and much more for a relatively low monthly cost.
- Windshield repair: Pays to repair or replace a windshield damaged by a covered peril, like hail or vandalism. This type of loss is covered under the optional comprehensive coverage.
- Collision coverage: Pays to repair or replace your car if it strikes another vehicle or object, like a fence, tree or guard rail. Collision coverage is required if you are financing or leasing your car.
- Personal injury protection (PIP): Pays for you and your passengers’ medical costs after a car accident, regardless of which driver was at fault. Covered expenses include medical treatment, surgery, medication, ambulance fees, and possibly even rehabilitation therapy and lost wages. If you don’t have health insurance, PIP could be a good alternative for medical benefits for auto-related injuries.
- Uninsured motorist (UM): Pays for your medical injuries and property damages if you get into an accident and the other driver was liable but has zero liability coverage. UM insurance also steps in when you’re the victim of a hit-and-run — very useful when a hit-and-run occurs every 43 seconds in the U.S.
- Comprehensive coverage: Comprehensive protects you from non-crash-related damages and losses, including fallen branches, hail, fire, vandalism and theft. Similar to collision insurance, comprehensive insurance is usually required if you are leasing or financing your car.
- Rental car reimbursement: Covers most or all the costs of a rental car while your car is being repaired after a covered accident — which can sometimes take several weeks. Without rental car insurance, you are responsible for alternative transportation arrangements, whether that’s buying a rental car out of pocket or using public transportation.
- Gap Insurance: Pays for the outstanding balance on your auto loan after a covered car accident. If your car is totaled in a car accident and you’re still making car payments, you’re responsible for any remaining payments that your auto policy does not cover. Remember: depreciation reduces the value of your car, which can lead to your car’s value being lower than what you owe on your car loan.
- New vehicle replacement: Helps you replace your new car. It is recommended if you just purchased a newer model car since new cars tend to depreciate once you drive off the lot.
- Custom parts and equipment coverage: Many standard car insurance policies cover custom equipment up to a limit. If you customize your car with an expensive sound system or paint job, your coverage limit probably wouldn’t be enough to cover repairs.
Custom equipment coverage provides the needed protection for your car.
How Do Car Insurance Add-Ons Work?
Add-ons widen the coverage in your auto policy and can reduce out-of-pocket costs for certain situations. For example, comprehensive insurance covers several types of non-collision damage, including hail damage, vandalism and theft. If somebody steals your car, you are responsible for the cost to replace your car unless you have comprehensive coverage. Similarly, foregoing roadside assistance would leave you financially responsible for towing services if your car breaks down.
Let’s explore other examples of car insurance add-ons at work.
Gap coverage pays for the difference between your car’s market value (after depreciation) and the outstanding balance on your auto loan. Say you owe $15,000 on your loan and your car is worth $10,000. Your auto policy would reimburse you for $10,000 and gap insurance would cover the remaining $5,000 on your auto loan.
Rental car reimbursement pays for the cost of a rental car while your car is undergoing repairs or was totaled. By slightly increasing your monthly premium, you can have your insurer pay for rental car costs after a covered accident. Car accidents can already be traumatizing and this add-on can at least remove alternative transportation from your list of worries.
Are Car Insurance Add-Ons Worth It?
Drivers will have to weigh the peace of mind that add-ons provide against the cost to add it to their auto policy. Remember: insurance pays for “what if” situations. There’s no guarantee you will use your add-ons and it can feel like you paid more for nothing. However, the coverage extended when you get into a covered accident can be immensely helpful. For many, the extra cost is worth the peace of mind, knowing that you’re financially covered if something unforeseen happens.
Moreover, not all add-ons are useful to all drivers. Comprehensive insurance, for example, loses its worth if the value of your car barely meets your deductible. Adding roadside assistance to your policy may be unnecessary if you’re already covered through another company, like your auto lender or credit card provider. Only purchase add-ons that are truly worth your while (and budget); otherwise, you’ll pay more for something you don’t need.
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Add-ons are a buffer from financial hardship and the right coverages will safeguard you and your family. If your car insurance does not offer the add-ons you want, you can shop around for better coverage and a lower premium. SmartFinancial can help you compare local car insurance companies in just minutes. Simply enter your zip code below and answer a few questions to secure maximum coverage.
- AAA Foundation. “Hit-and-Run Crashes: Prevalence, Contributing Factors and Countermeasures.” Accessed Nov. 27, 2022.