Winter rats are usually inexpensive vehicles that Vermont residents purchase for the express purpose of driving during winter’s harsh conditions, and this should be kept in mind when selecting car insurance coverages for these vehicles. If you have an older car, truck or SUV that you’ll be driving this winter, here are a few considerations to keep in mind when insuring it.

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What Coverages Should I Include in My Winter Rat’s Vermont Car Insurance Policy?

Don’t Skimp on Liability and Injury Protections

Most importantly, liability and injury coverages aren’t the place to cut back in an auto insurance policy. The potential cost of a liability or injury claim generally isn’t related to the value of your vehicle, so you shouldn’t be reducing personal injury protection, property damage liability or bodily injury coverage limits just because you’re driving something that’s inexpensive. In fact, you may even want to increase the personal injury protection limits if your winter rat has fewer safety features.

Moreover, Vermont winters are not the season when the risk of being in an accident goes down. With the increased darkness, slippery road conditions and limited visibility that the season brings, the risk you assume when you get behind the wheel generally increases. That’s another reason to keep your liability and injury protections the same or increase them.

Consider Skipping Comprehensive and Collision Coverage

If you are interested in lowering your auto insurance premiums, skipping comprehensive and collision coverage might be a reasonable way to do so.

These coverages normally insure your vehicle against damage, with each providing coverage for a different cause of damage. In the case of comprehensive, protection usually extends to damage sustained in non-collision incidents (e.g. falling trees, hitting snow banks, hitting animals, break-ins). Collision frequently covers collisions, which the insurance industry commonly defines as incidents involving multiple moving vehicles.

By not getting these coverages, you’re assuming responsibility for any damage that your winter rat sustains. If it’s damage, you’ll likely have to personally pay for any required repair work. If it’s totaled, you’ll probably have to purchase another vehicle out-of-pocket (or switch to driving your main vehicle).

Taking on this responsibility, obviously, increases your risk exposure. If your winter rat isn’t worth much, however, the amount of risk you’re assuming might not be too much. Especially if you can afford to pay cash for another winter vehicle, you may decide you’re okay with taking on the potential cost of replacing the vehicle. Ultimately, you must personally decide what your risk tolerance is.

(The same logic generally shouldn’t be applied to liability and injury claims because these can cost much more. While a winter rate might have a defined value of a few thousand dollars or less, a liability or injury claim’s total cost isn’t known until the claim is settled. In serious accidents, these types of claims can reach six- and seven-figure totals.)

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Think About Roadside Assistance

While not absolutely essential, you may want to purchase emergency roadside assistance from your auto insurance carrier. Even if you don’t get this the rest of the year, having help just a phone call away is reassuring when you’re driving an older vehicle that’s less reliable and the roads are slippery.

The total cost of purchasing roadside assistance for a winter usually doesn’t amount to too much. It’s normally a lot less than carrying comprehensive and collision coverage for the season.

Talk with a Vermont Agent About Car Insurance

When considering coverage decisions like these, you shouldn’t just get the first car insurance quote that you find online. Instead, take a few moments to call an insurance agent who can help you think through the various coverage decisions and make sure you’re selecting a wise combination of coverages.

To speak with an insurance agent in Vermont about car insurance, contact T.S. Peck Insurance. Our independent agents have helped drivers insure all different kinds of vehicles, and they’d be happy to help you get coverage for a winter rat.