Insurance 101: Declarations & Figuring Out How Much Car Insurance You Have
Posted by Lisa D. on October 3, 2016 in Auto Focus

Auto insurance can be confusing—heck, all insurance can be! Most people buy their insurance and file it away without ever really knowing what they are protected from or for how much. They just hope that if the day comes when they have to use it, they have enough coverage. Here at Acuity, we view insurance differently. We don’t want it to be confusing—we want you to understand your auto policy. When you think about it, insurance is what protects many of your valuable possessions.


Let’s start with the Auto Declarations page. This is where you can find all the basic information about your insurance policy, including coverages, deductibles, and coverage limits.


In the Coverages and Premium Information section of the Declarations page, the type of insurance coverage carried and the corresponding limit for each type is displayed. Each vehicle is listed separately.


Coverage limits can be defined in several ways:

  • Each Person. This is the maximum amount that will be paid for injuries to a single person per occurrence.
  • Each Occurrence/Accident. This is the total maximum amount that will be paid for all claims resulting from a single accident.
  • Actual Cash Value (ACV). The value of your property based on the current cost to replace it minus depreciation. This is often referred to as fair market value.
  • Deductible. This is the amount you agree to pay for repairs before your insurance company starts paying.


To break this down in an easier way, let’s look at a couple of examples.

In the first example, Jim has Bodily Injury Liability coverage with a limit of $100,000/300,000, which is sometimes shown as 100/300. Bodily Injury covers physical injury to other people when you are at fault in an accident. It is important to note Bodily Injury does not pay for your own injuries. Jim’s limit of 100/300 means that his policy would pay a maximum of $100,000 for injuries to each person up to a total of $300,000 for the accident.


In the next example, Susan’s vehicle is damaged in an accident. Before we figure out what coverage this accident is under, we must first determine if the damage was caused by a collision or by something other than a collision. Collision coverage pays the repair costs for your vehicle when it is damaged by another vehicle or object. Other Than Collision coverage, which is often referred to as Comprehensive or “Comp,” pays repair costs for your vehicle when it is damaged by something other than another vehicle, such as an animal hit, hail, theft, or vandalism. These physical damage coverages are subject to a deductible. The damage to Susan’s vehicle was caused by an at-fault collision with another car, so her Collision coverage would pay to repair the car. Because she has a $500 Collision deductible, she is responsible for paying the first $500 in repairs, and her insurance company will pay the rest of the covered expenses.


Auto insurance is important and is certainly more than a commodity. Contact your independent insurance agent to make sure you have the right coverages and high enough limits to ensure you don’t get caught off guard in the unfortunate instance you find yourself involved in an accident! 

Lisa D.
Lisa D. has over 14 years of experience in the auto insurance industry, including 12 years at ACUITY. She obtained her P&C license and sold personal insurance for two years before starting at ACUITY, where she focuses on researching new auto coverages, helping with the auto pricing system, and leading auto insurance-related projects. On top of that, Lisa has her Association in General Insurance (AINS) and Associate in Personal Insurance (API) designations. Outside of work, Lisa enjoys cooking, photography, and spending time with her family. The last two go hand in hand, as she takes pictures of her kids every day.

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