CONSUMER INFORMATION - Your Car is Contributing to Global Warming

Your car emits about 10 tons (or more) of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in a typical year. For details, click here.

Better World Insurance is offsetting your car's first ton of greenhouse gas emissions free! e will be happy to calculate your car's total greenhouse gas emissions if you are interested in offsetting your contribution to global warming beyond the first ton at the rate of $11.00 per ton. Please contact us for more information.

Pay-as-you-drive (PAYD) Auto Insurance
Insurance - Commonly Asked Questions

What are the different components of insurance coverage?

What is no-fault insurance?

What is cheaper: no-fault or conventional insurance?

What is "collision" coverage?

What is "comprehensive" coverage?

Should I carry collision coverage?

How much liability coverage should I purchase?

What about other coverages?

Can I get a discount?

Why do we ask for your Social Security number?

Has Better World researched the environmental records of the insurance companies they represent and work with?

Q. What are the different components of insurance coverage?

An insurance policy usually has between 4 and 13 sections, depending on how many coverages you choose. Insurance Coverages can be broken down into 2 categories:
· personal injury
· property damage

Property damage can also be categorized:
· the damage you cause to another's property
· damage done to your automobile in an accident
· damage to your automobile caused by weather, theft, fire
· other damage from events unrelated to an accident.

Another component of the policy involves your deductible: the amount that you pay before the insurance company begins covering cost of damage or injury. The higher the deductible, the lower will be the premium for the particular coverage. For this reason, consumer groups encourage you to take the highest deductible that you can afford to pay ($500.00 or higher). They also urge you not to file a claim for fender benders because insurance companies will adjust the price of your premium based on how often you submit a claim.

According to Robert Hunter of Consumer Federation of America, insurers are likely to renew your policy even if you have a serious accident, but might refuse to renew if you submit claims for a bunch of minor ones.

Check who is covered under the policy by reading the cover or "declarations" page of your insurance policy. Identify any exclusions (whatever is not covered). Make sure you understand these issues before you purchase a policy. Don't wait until you file your first claim.

Bodily Injury Liability: Covers the medical expenses, pain and suffering, and economic losses of people that you injure in an auto accident.

Property Damage Liability: Covers the damage you cause to someone else's property in an accident.

Uninsured Motorist: Covers your injuries and pain and suffering caused by an uninsured or hit and run driver.

Underinsured Motorist: covers your injuries and pain and suffering caused by an insured motorist whose insurance limits are lower than your losses.

Personal Injury Protection: Required in no-fault states. Covers medical expenses and some earnings, regardless of which driver was at fault.

Q. What is no-fault insurance?

No-fault insurance is typically mandated by the state to assure that a victim has a recovery regardless of who caused an accident. In a "no-fault" state, your insurance will cover your claim (according to the rules of that state) even if someone else was at fault.

Q: What is cheaper: no-fault or conventional insurance?

Although it was once assumed that no-fault would be a cheaper way to go, it hasn't worked out that way so far.

Q. What is "collision" coverage?

"Collision" covers your car in an accident, even if that accident was your fault.

Q. What is "comprehensive" coverage?

"Comprehensive" typically covers your car from damage not related to an accident: theft, fire, a tree falls on your car because of the weather, a pebble breaks your windshield.

Q. Should I carry collision coverage?

There is a fairly simple formula that consumer groups suggest you consider: if a premium costs more than 10% of the value of your car, you should consider passing on it.The average driver gets in an accident once every 11 years, and the resulting cost is usually less than the value of an entire car. If the value of the car and the premium are close, you need to consider how upset you will be if you might once need to pay to repair any damage out of your own pocket. This varies from individual to individual.

Q. How much liability coverage should I purchase?

Consumer groups urge you not to accept the state minimums if you can afford more. Injury to a person can be much greater than damage to property -- even reaching millions of dollars. While state minimums are in the $10,000 to $20,000 range, consumer advocates encourage you to purchase at least $100,000/$300,000 coverage (pays $100,000 per person and $300,000 for everyone injured in the accident) if you can afford it. If you have significant assets, they also encourage you to look at "umbrella" policies, where additional coverage can be purchased relatively cheaply, typically for no more than a few hundred dollars.

Q. What about other coverages?

While each individual must make his or her own decision, consumer groups generally advise not to purchase towing or car rental insurance because you are unlikely to need those services. Towing as an insurance coverage is a "reimbursement" up to a limit after you pay for towing out of pocket. Of course, you can purchase "sign and drive" road service right here at the Better World Club.

Also, you should take a moment to consider whether you need additional medical insurance (generally offered as a "medical payment option" coverage which will pay doctor and hospital bills -- and sometimes funeral expenses -- for you and your passengers) if you already have a good medical insurance plan (life insurance for the funeral coverage). Typically, this coverage will help those passengers in your car who don't have medical insurance.

Q. Can I get a discount?

Insurance providers offer a variety of discounts for good drivers. Bad news for 55 year olds: some insurance companies consider you "seniors". They'll give you a discount all right, but only if you take a drivers test. So how much is your time -- and your pride -- worth? If it's 10-15% off your policy, go for it. We have every confidence you'll pass.

Q. Why do we ask for your Social Security number?

Better World Insurance represents various insurance companies/underwriters. Insurance companies use a wide range of information about a class of risks in order to determine how they set rates. One aspect of this underwriting information that is currently causing a furor in many state legislatures is credit rating, which operates under the assumption that people with impaired or nonexistent credit records present a greater risk in terms of premium payment and potential for losses. The most obvious way for underwriters to obtain your credit information is through your social security number. This intersects with yet another public furor over privacy rights and the protection of personal information. There is no simple answer to this dilemma, as credit rating is a standard insurance industry tool and no clear consensus has arisen from the debates in every state over its use. Suffice it to say that, for the moment, credit rating is a legal and accepted practice and, if you have a good credit rating, insurers say that you can be assured of better rates. If you have personal reservations about giving out your social security number in order to receive a quote, that's fine. Don't provide it. You're under no legal obligation to do so. Understand, however, that any quote you receive under those conditions may not be a reliable indication of the premium you will be asked to pay if you actually purchase the associated insurance policy. When you commit to obtain coverage based on the quote, your social security number will then be required, and the underwriting information - and your price - will be changed to reflect your exact profile. Again, if you have a good credit rating, this will generally work in your favor.

Q: Has Better World researched the environmental records of the insurance companies they represent and work with?

We evaluate each of our vendors independently based on their environmental and consumer records. Unfortunately, we are not able to base this upon whether or not they do business with our competition (i.e. AAA). If we did screen that way, we might not be able to offer our customers certain products and prices that they may be willing to obtain elsewhere. In general, we look for insurance companies that have excellent consumer service and fair prices.

What about bicycle insurance?

Check back for more information on bicycle insurance.

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1% Donated to the Environment