We get this question a lot. Why buy car insurance? Yes, it is required in New Jersey (and that’s certainly the primary reason) but there are additional important reasons why we buy car insurance. Controlling risk and ensuring that there is downside protection against a large economic loss due to a driving mistake are also essential reasons for car insurance. Let’s take a closer look.
As mentioned, the first reason we buy car insurance is because it’s the law. In New Jersey and virtually all other states, a minimum level of car insurance is required in order for you to lawfully operate a vehicle. The penalties for driving while uninsured carry severe penalties, including loss of license and possible jail time. Not to mention a hefty fine. The type and cost of coverage in New Jersey can vary significantly depending on the type of policy you obtain. In New Jersey, you have the option of purchasing a standard policy or a basic policy. As their names dictate, one is a policy with “standard” coverages while the other is “basic” in nature. The differences between both policies are rather significant and will be covered in a separate article.
So, what is the second reason to buy car insurance? It’s smart. For most of us, our car is the single greatest source of risk in our lives. Because driving is such an integral part of our day-to-day experience, it’s very easy to forget what driving actually entails: conveying a steel box at high speeds filled with explosive liquid, and on roads filled with other such vehicles operated by other very, very fallible human beings. It’s so ingrained into who we are that we sometimes, quite understandably, take for granted how risk-filled the act of driving.
More than anything else you own, your car is by far the most likely cause of significant injury to yourself or others, and the most likely reason you’d be sued for significant sums of money – in most cases far more than you’d be able to afford. A sound principle to abide by is to only risk what you can afford to lose. For the vast majority of people, the type of losses that are commonly the results of car accidents represent risks that are too great to assume themselves. Nobody wants to be a victim, and buying insurance soundly is one of the best means of ensuring that this doesn’t happen to you or your loved ones. Buying car insurance, and other types of insurance, is an important part of being prepared in life and not letting a mistake devastate you or someone else.
The third reason to buy car insurance – it is a matter of our basic duty as responsible citizens in society. Insurance isn’t just about protecting ourselves. It’s also about protecting others from us. We all make mistakes, but, unfortunately, driving means that seemingly minor errors – momentary lapses in judgement and attention – can irreversibly alter another’s life, and even end it. I believe we must be responsible for our actions and accountable for our mistakes. Buying insurance is the best means of ensuring that we are able to take full responsibility for any mistakes we make on the road. It keeps us accountable to those around us, as well as keeping those around us accountable to us.
If you find yourself in a situation where someone has made a mistake behind the wheel and there’s been an accident, it is imperative that you understand not only your insurance but your legal rights, obligations and options. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you.