Everyone’s aware of the basic benefits of auto insurance. Not as many know there may be other safeguards tucked away in many policies that protect you from more than collisions.

“Why do I need auto insurance?” According to the Insurance Information Institute, an average auto insurance policy consists of the bodily injury liability, personal injury protection, property damage liability, collision, comprehensive, and uninsured/underinsured motorist.

Many motorists feel that’s enough. Others feel that you can never be too safe. And the more inclusive you can make your auto insurance policy, the more likely you’ll be to enjoy the following perks:

Your pets may be protected

Animals are frequent passengers in vehicles which puts them at risk like any human. Typically, a driver will assume that if they want their pet protected in any way, then pet insurance will have to cover it. As many as 84% of drivers take their dog along for the ride without any kind of restraint and 60% admit to being distracted by pets while driving.

A little more comforting is the fact that, depending on the details of your policy, there may be a payout available from your auto insurer if your pet is hurt while in your car. It’s not a common perk in auto insurance but if it’s there for you, it can contribute some valuable financial assistance toward a vet’s bill.

A legal umbrella

If you’re lucky, any auto accident you’re involved in will be resolved quickly and (relatively) painlessly between the two insurance companies. If things are worse it may mean a lawsuit, and the other party’s insurer isn’t too likely to admit liability.

Your auto insurance may provide you with a legal representative to defend you in court. Since personal injury cases can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars (and sometimes more), you can be sure your insurance provider will be fighting in your corner to avoid making such a payment. (Payments are subject to policy limits).

Your policy will pay up to the limits of its coverage before you must pay anything personally. And if you’ve got an umbrella policy in place, you’ll really be looking after yourself. Paying a little extra monthly for umbrella coverage can protect you from $1 million upwards, meaning even when your standard coverage maxes out, you won’t have to pay out of pocket for the remainder.

Wildlife protection

An animal is hit by a car every 26 seconds in America, resulting in hundreds of human deaths, thousands of injuries, and a billion dollars in costs. More than a million times a year a driver finds their vehicle left damaged this way and wondering if they’re covered by their auto insurance.

If you have comprehensive insurance in place, then this will typically be what covers you – not the collision aspect of your policy, as many assume. Check with your insurer if repairs which cost less than your deductible are covered.

It doesn’t always end in fatality, however. You may just get a bump that knocks a dent in your vehicle, or a curious animal may find its way in and wreak some havoc. This is considered an act of vandalism just as if it were caused by a person.

Acts of God

Floods and earthquakes cause catastrophic damage to vehicles every year. These “acts of God” are bad news for homeowners who don’t have the extra insurance needed to cover their house. Comprehensive auto insurance is more understanding and protects you against natural disasters. You’re at no fault whatsoever under such circumstances, after all.

Rodent relief

The space under your car hood can be a snug and cozy place. From rats and mice to chipmunks and squirrels, rodents can select your car as their future nesting site and cause plenty of chaos as a result.

The sensitive (and expensive) wiring of your car will be the first thing to feel the bite. Another hazard of rodents under the hood is the risk of catching an airborne virus. Feces and dander can get sucked straight from a nest and blown into your car via the air filter.

Electrical systems and our health can be expensive to repair. If you have comprehensive insurance, your policy provider will help you meet the costs if your vehicle has been nibbled into non-compliance.

Your friends and their property

Most insured drivers know that when they give permission to drive their car to a family member or friend, that person will receive the benefits of your auto insurance. You can also look at your auto insurance as an ally if you happen to be driving their car.

If your friend has some personal property on board that gets damaged while you’re driving their vehicle, the property liability coverage of your auto insurance will help cover the cost. This may not apply if their property is stolen, so check with your insurer.

Lost wages

If you’re hurt in an accident, staying home is great for recovery but often hard on your finances. Having the right insurance in place can see you protected from lost wages in three forms: personal injury protection (commonly known as PIP), liability bodily injury, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

The process of documenting a lost wages incident can be demanding as this quick guide demonstrates. If it goes in your favor, then your insurer will pay out to assist with your lost earnings and even cover such things as missed job interviews and lost job promotion opportunities, both of which could have led to an increase in your income.

Make sure to thoroughly check your current policy to see which of these surprising items may be covered, and consider adding coverage to fill any gaps. If you have any questions or you would like to find a new policy or expand your coverage, give us a call at 516.544.0006 or fill out our contact form.