Author Topic: Getting rid of my car - Life without car insurance?  (Read 7546 times)

tjt

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Getting rid of my car - Life without car insurance?
« on: March 12, 2012, 01:20:06 AM »
How do I live without car insurance? Can I still rent a zipcar or a rental car? Can I drive my friends' and Family's cars?

I'm going to give my '01 Toyota Sequoia back to my folks in April/May.  They gave it to me five or six years ago after college. My little brother just got his license and I'm trying to cut expenses. 

I live in SF and normally only drive my car once a week to escape street cleaning tickets.  I moved here about 2.5 years ago and I've kept it for groceries, moving, and trips.  It's cost me thousands in tickets, 2 tows (parade and driveway complaint), parking permits, registration, maintenance, gas, insurance, and the worry that my windows will get broken by a bum.

I just kept telling myself that it wasn't worth it to sell because I wouldn't get enough to buy an equivalently useful/dependable smaller car - where as the "utility" of being able to go camping or snowboarding was worth the ongoing cost. 

Now I realize that I can deal with having no car.  Between my bicycle/public transit/zipcar etc... I can take care of most things.   

sol

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Re: Getting rid of my car - Life without car insurance?
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2012, 07:49:15 AM »
Zipcars come with their own insurance, so you don't need to have any.  Rental cars from somewhere like Hertz, too.

Just enjoy the absence of an insurance payment.

The only real downside I found of ditching my car was that by letting your car insurance lapse, you may end up paying a higher rate in the future if you get another car and have to insure again.  Continuity of coverage counts for something.  Not enough to warrant to pay for insurance you don't need, but something.

velocistar237

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Re: Getting rid of my car - Life without car insurance?
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2012, 08:56:14 AM »
I had an insurance lapse between high school and post-college. One agent I talked to was willing to overlook that. Naturally, I went with that agent. Your mileage may vary.

If you drive someone else's car infrequently, then you're covered under their insurance when you do drive. If you borrow their car regularly, you'll need to be added to their policy, or you risk not being covered.

Many credit cards have car insurance for non-Zipcar rentals, though the coverage is usually pretty bad. Be sure to read the fine print. The insurance offered by car rental companies almost doubles the cost of renting a car, but it might be worth it. I've heard of temporary insurance, but I don't know if you can get third party insurance for a car rental. It might be worth looking into.

One question I have is, what happens when you have no car insurance and you're hit on a bicycle?

Bakari

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Re: Getting rid of my car - Life without car insurance?
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2012, 08:24:25 PM »
One question I have is, what happens when you have no car insurance and you're hit on a bicycle?

The person who is at fault is supposed to pay, whether they hit you in your car, on your bike, or on foot.
No one suggests that pedestrians should have auto insurance in case they get hit by a car.

Of course, you have to make sure you actually aren't the one at fault!  Ride legally and safely - on the correct side of the road, stopping at stop lights and signs, using lights at night - and its a safe bet that if you get hit, it was the drivers fault.
Even if you were at fault though, there is very little damage you can do to a car while on a bike, so you wouldn't need to pay much anyway.

And even if they are uninsured, your biggest risk is medical bills, which should be covered by your health insurance.

All that said, when me and my ex-wife were living in New Jersey, she was hit by a van on her bike ride to work.  The other driver had a stop sign, she didn't, but the driver said he expected her to stop!
Turns out NJ has some stupid law called "no-fault" where ones' own insurance in any accident is expected to pay.  The other driver's insurance (Progressive) tried to say that because of that law, they shouldn't pay for the medical bills and bicycle damages caused by their driver.  The dollar amount we were seeking was too small for a lawyer, but a certified letters to Progressive supervisors, with CC to the BBB, and the state insurance commissioner, eventually got her a check for the full amount.

Chemistay

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Re: Getting rid of my car - Life without car insurance?
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2012, 12:47:40 AM »

Of course, you have to make sure you actually aren't the one at fault!  Ride legally and safely - on the correct side of the road, stopping at stop lights and signs, using lights at night - and its a safe bet that if you get hit, it was the drivers fault.


To continue the tangent a little further, what's the correct (or expected) way for a bicyclist to go through a roundabout? I'm in Europe for a few weeks with a borrowed bike and have to go through one of these intersections on my way to the grocery store and downtown. I've tried staying with traffic around the circle and cutting across (its a rather small intersection in a pretty small city) but both methods seemed to confuse the drivers which is the last thing I want to do when I'm on a bike!

velocistar237

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Re: Getting rid of my car - Life without car insurance?
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2012, 06:07:09 AM »
One question I have is, what happens when you have no car insurance and you're hit on a bicycle?

The person who is at fault is supposed to pay, whether they hit you in your car, on your bike, or on foot.
No one suggests that pedestrians should have auto insurance in case they get hit by a car.

...

The article linked says that police officers are often biased against cyclists, and that they will assign fault to the cyclist whatever the reality. I have health insurance, which means my injuries will be covered, but what if someone hits me and scratches their expensive car, and the police say it's my fault?

I did poke around online and find mention of non-owner insurance, which a few sites say costs only a few hundred a year, or someone could add you to their policy and you pay the difference.

Maybe I should go ahead and buy that car.

velocistar237

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Re: Getting rid of my car - Life without car insurance?
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2012, 06:12:19 AM »
To continue the tangent a little further, what's the correct (or expected) way for a bicyclist to go through a roundabout? I'm in Europe for a few weeks with a borrowed bike and have to go through one of these intersections on my way to the grocery store and downtown. I've tried staying with traffic around the circle and cutting across (its a rather small intersection in a pretty small city) but both methods seemed to confuse the drivers which is the last thing I want to do when I'm on a bike!

I go through a bastardized rotary on my daily commute, and there's not a very good way to navigate it. I basically maintain a good speed and get into the traffic. I do use a cycle mirror, which helps a tiny bit in this case.

Here are a couple of pages, neither encouraging.

http://tomrubenoff.hubpages.com/hub/Cycling-Through-a-Rotary-or-Roundabout
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roundabout#Cycle_facilities_at_roundabouts

Is it possible to dismount and walk around the perimeter?

catalana

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Re: Getting rid of my car - Life without car insurance?
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2012, 06:55:21 AM »
To continue the tangent a little further, what's the correct (or expected) way for a bicyclist to go through a roundabout? I'm in Europe for a few weeks with a borrowed bike and have to go through one of these intersections on my way to the grocery store and downtown. I've tried staying with traffic around the circle and cutting across (its a rather small intersection in a pretty small city) but both methods seemed to confuse the drivers which is the last thing I want to do when I'm on a bike!
How many lanes are there?  If it is only one, then stay on the right to turn right (assuming you are in a country where they drive on the right).  Otherwise move into the centre of the lane as you approach the roundabout, so that you effectively block them from overtaking you.  [Obviously peddling hard to keep the speed up!]  The biggest risk is if you stay on on the outside (right hand side) and a driver doesn't spot you and turns right across the front of you.

If there are two or more lanes, the same applies - get into the centre of the appropriate lane for your exit.

Bakari

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Re: Getting rid of my car - Life without car insurance?
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2012, 10:24:04 AM »

The article linked says that police officers are often biased against cyclists, and that they will assign fault to the cyclist whatever the reality. I have health insurance, which means my injuries will be covered, but what if someone hits me and scratches their expensive car, and the police say it's my fault?

Come to think of it, that happened in the case I described!  We went to the police station after having looked up the relevant legal statutes, spoke to a supervisor, and made them amend the police report.

Chemistay

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Re: Getting rid of my car - Life without car insurance?
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2012, 04:19:15 PM »
Thanks Velocistar and Catalana! It's a pretty whimpy roundabout (only two one-lane roads intersecting) and I basically need to cut straight across it. Also, the 'road' that I take out of it is a dead-end street except for bicycles so most motorists seem to expect bikes to cruise straight through but I'll keep being observant.

trammatic

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Re: Getting rid of my car - Life without car insurance?
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2012, 05:43:45 AM »
A number of major companies offer "extended non-owner operator" policies.  They're liability-only policies (since there's no vehicle asset to cover). 

The typical situation that they sell these for is say granny has a beater and no assets, so just keeps the state minimums limits on her coverage.  So in a typical state, you'd only have about 10k in coverage for property damage.  Now, if you're a rich mustashian with tons of assets but no vehicle, and you borrow granny's to go to Costco every other month, you're not covered against accidentally hitting and totalling a brand new Benz.  Since you don't want to pay $45k out of pocket (after the 10k limit is exhausted), you can go buy a cheap ENOA policy with 100k PD limits and be covered.

grantmeaname

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Re: Getting rid of my car - Life without car insurance?
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2012, 07:05:56 AM »
That solves the liability issue, but as a cyclist you would have the opposite problem. You don't really weigh enough to damage a car, and if you ride like you have half a brain you'll never hit a pedestrian, so you're only worried about being hit. The bike law blogger I follow recommends that cyclists add the uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) provision to their car insurance, and then also purchase an umbrella policy... is there a way you could just get the UIM provision? If you don't have a car and insurance, would your umbrella policy cover that situation? Hmm...

trammatic

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Re: Getting rid of my car - Life without car insurance?
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2012, 07:20:32 AM »
They'll typically let you add UM/UIM to a ENOA policy.

Although this whole thing depends on your health insurance.  Although car insurance is primary, your health insurnace should cover what is not covered by the auto.

So legally, the other person is liable for the entire bit.  Your auto or health insurer should pay the claim and then subrogate the liable party to recover their damages.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2012, 07:29:31 AM by trammatic »