Automobile Q & A

[Q] What are the territorial limits of my private passenger automobile policy?

[A] Your auto policy only provides coverage for accidents and losses which happen in the United States or Canada. US territories and possessions including Puerto Rico are considered to be part of the United States.

[Q]  Who must I list as operators on my automobile policies?

[A]  By law, you must list all household members along with anyone else who regularly uses your automobiles in order to ensure protection in the event of loss. Failure to list an operator who would cause an increase in premium can void any of the optional coverages carried on the policy if that individual is subsequently involved in an accident or loss whether or not at fault.

[Q]  Does my personal auto policy extend any protection when I rent or borrow another private passenger vehicle.

[A]  Your personal auto policy extends protection for both liability and physical damage when you rent or borrow a car while on vacation (less than 30 days) or as a temporary replacement vehicle while your auto is out of commission. Collision, comprehensive and substitute transportation are  provided on a “primary basis”, (your coverage pays first) while your liability coverage is “excess” over and above what the vehicle owners insurance pays out if needed. The policy limit of your substitute transportation (if carried) will apply only to a vehicle rented while Your Auto is out of normal use because of a breakdown, repair, servicing, loss or destruction. “Loss of use” charges levied on you by a rental agency for time their vehicle is out of service are not covered if you lease a vehicle for any other reason including vacation or business purposes. You may also have access to some coverage under your credit cards for certain losses and charges not covered by your auto policy. We always recommend that you verify with your credit card issuer, any benefits which may or may not be available prior to declining any coverage offered by the rental agency. It is especially important to ascertain how the card would respond to any daily charges which would accrue while the auto remains out of service during the course of repairs. If there is any doubt, we recommend that you consider purchasing the insurance offered in the rental agreement to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

[Q]  When and for how long may I attach registration plates from my old car to a newly acquired vehicle.

[A]  You may attach your old plates to a newly purchased vehicle only if you have “lost possession” of the old car. This means that you have executed a transfer of title to another owner for the old vehicle. You would then have up to seven days to operate the new car before filing the required documentation with the Registry of Motor Vehicles. You must carry proof of registration along with an executed certificate of title and bill of sale showing you as owner of the newly acquired vehicle. The new ownership must be the same entity as indicated on the old registration. If you have complied with all RMV requirements, the insurance coverage and limits carried on the disposed of vehicle will apply to the newly acquired vehicle for seven days.

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