We get a lot of (often colorful) comments on our Facebook timeline … and we love it! But, along with those comments, we also get quite a few insurance questions. As my ninth-grade history teacher used to say, “If one person has a question, it’s likely that others are wondering the same thing.” So to satisfy some of those inquiring minds, we asked our knowledgeable customer service reps to weigh in.

Do I always have to pay my deductible?

The deductible is the portion of an insurance claim that you agree to pay, and it’s “deducted” from what’s paid out by your insurance company. Every claim is unique, but there are 2 common reasons why your deductible would not be subtracted from your claim payout.

The first is if you’re involved in an accident where the other person is at fault and you file the claim through their liability insurance. In this case, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will pay for your claim and no deductible would apply.

The other is if you have a repair that costs less than your deductible. For instance, if your deductible is $500, but your repair costs $350, you’d (logically) pay for the price of the repair.

Should I buy comprehensive and collision coverages?

In most states, if you finance or lease your car, comprehensive and collision coverages (also known as physical damage coverage) are required. In other cases, it’s more of a personal choice.

The question you should ask yourself is whether you could afford to replace your car if it’s totaled. If not, you should consider buying the protection and choosing a deductible that you’re comfortable paying if there’s an incident.

Why are car insurance terms only 6 months?

In most states, car insurance policies are valid for 6 months — and that can be a good thing for drivers. Why? Because it means your insurance company is able to recalculate your premium at the start of each term to ensure you’re always getting the most accurate price.

Another benefit of the 6-month term is your ability to compare car insurers more often without any penalty. Most insurance companies charge an early termination fee. If your term lasted one year and you were unhappy with your current company, you’d be stuck for 12 long months. No, thank you!

My policy is about to expire. When should my new one begin?

If you’re switching car insurance companies, you’ll usually be asked when you want your new policy to begin. Since policies typically expire at 12:01 a.m., you’ll have only one minute of coverage on that last day. And a gap in coverage, even for just a day, can lead to higher car insurance rates.

To avoid this situation, set your start date for the same day that your current policy expires. If your current policy ends on May 31, for example, your new one should begin on May 31.

Send us more questions

Have insurance questions for our experts? Leave them here or on our Facebook page and we’ll try to answer as many as we can! And be sure to check out our in-depth and jargon-free car insurance tips and info!

Car insurance 101


about Jessica

During her time as senior copywriter at Esurance, Jessica wrote about everything from automotive trends to insurance tips to driving dogs (it’s a thing!). In her free time, you can find Jessica hiking with her dog (who cannot drive), devouring a good mystery, or very slowly learning Spanish.