Protecting Yourself and your Loved Ones on the Road in North Dakota

Owning a car or truck is a big responsibility. In addition to making your auto loan payments every month, you also need to purchase auto insurance to protect yourself and others while you are on the road.

Purchasing vehicle protection is not only a smart step to take - carrying a certain amount of coverage is legally required in all 50 states.

There are many variables that should be considered when purchasing a policy. What does it actually take care of? How much protection is enough? What types of discounts are available?

Options to Consider

When purchasing a plan, it is important to consider the different options available to ensure that you select the right plan for your needs.

There are five types of coverage options to consider:

  • Bodily Injury: This option provides the policyholder with protection from legal claims made by other injured drivers if the policyholder is found to be at fault for an accident.
  • Liability: The option provides the policyholder with protection if the there are damages to property in an accident.
  • Collision: This option takes care of any costs associated with damage to the covered vehicle that is caused by a parked vehicle or other stationary object.
  • Comprehensive: This concerns any costs associated with damage to the policyholder's vehicle that is caused by non-vehicular incidents, such as fire, theft or vandalism.
  • Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist: This protects the policyholder in the event he or she is in an accident that is caused by a driver with little or no insurance.

How Much Protection is Enough?

Drivers in almost every state are required to carry a minimum amount of liability coverage. In North Dakota, the state minimum coverage is 25/50/25, meaning that drivers must carry $25,000 for bodily injury for one person, with a maximum of $50,000 for all injured persons, and $25,000 for property damage.

While the state minimum liability limits do offer drivers some protection if they are at fault for a car accident, many times, the minimum limits are not necessarily enough to provide sufficient protection.

For example, the average cost associated with an average hospital stay of 4.6 days was $23,958 in 2006, according the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

If you carried North Dakota's minimum bodily injury liability limit, your policy would pay out up to $25,000 for the care of one injured person. With the average hospital stay costing just under $24,000, your protection would barely account for those costs, provided the injured person did not require any additional care following his or her hospital discharge.

If for any reason the costs exceed $25,000, you would be on the hook to come up with the remaining costs and the injured person could go after your personal assets to take care of the costs.

Available Discounts

Today, insurers offer several discounts to help make policies more affordable. Here are just a few of the most common discounts available:

  • Multiple Policy Discount: This discount can save you money if you combine your homeowners insurance or other policies with the same provider.
  • Safe Driver Discount: This discount can save you money if you have no moving violations or have not been in an accident within a certain time period.
  • Anti-Theft/Safety Device Discount: This discount can save you money if your vehicle includes an anti-theft device, such as an alarm, or certain safety features, such as airbags.
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