Police officers need car insurance just like anyone else. However, their needs may be more unique than those of other professions, and they may even have additional discounts to take advantage of. If you are a police officer, knowing what your options are for car insurance can help you make an educated decision when it comes to buying an auto policy and choosing your coverage.
Car insurance for police officers
Police officers generally have two layers of financial protection to consider when it comes to car insurance — coverage while they are on the job and using their squad cars and coverage for when they are off duty and using their personal vehicles.
Auto insurance for police vehicles
Police car insurance policies for squad cars work differently than a standard personal car insurance policy. If you have a squad car, you likely do not own it. This means that, because you have no financial interest in the vehicle, you cannot purchase an insurance policy for it.
Police vehicles are typically insured by the state, county or city that owns them and could be insured under a group policy or may be self-insured by the government. This means police officers have no input when it comes to the car insurance they have when they are on duty.
Auto insurance for personal vehicles owned by police officers
When you are off duty and using your personal vehicles, you will need a car insurance policy that meets or exceeds your state’s minimum required limits, just like any other driver.
While auto insurance companies do not sell policies specifically for off-duty officers, there are several companies that offer discounts for law enforcement officers. Additionally, insurance companies may ask for your occupation when you ask for a quote. Police officers may be viewed as safer drivers, since insurance companies know that they understand the rules of the road and have had extensive driving training. When off duty, this means officers may be less likely to cause accidents or file claims.
When you are shopping for coverage, you may want to ask each insurance agent if their company offers law enforcement discounts on insurance. You may be able to save money simply by being a police officer.
Coverage for police officers
As a police officer, you know that accidents can happen to anyone at any time. Car insurance is designed to protect your finances if an accident does happen.
Although you likely do not have a choice about the coverage on your squad car, as those are dependent on law enforcement agencies, you can choose the coverage on your personal vehicles.
Like anyone else, you need coverage for yourself and those in your household who share your insured vehicle, whether it’s a spouse, partner or child. Getting in an accident without insurance can have serious ramifications. In addition to the risk of incurring state fines for driving uninsured (New Hampshire and Virginia are the exceptions), there may be out-of-pocket costs to repair either your vehicle or the other driver’s vehicle. If there are injuries, medical expenses can place a tremendous strain on your finances and run into the thousands.
In addition to minimum coverage, which is focused on liability insurance, there are a number of optional coverage types commonly available to you. These include collision and comprehensive, uninsured motorist coverage and gap coverage. An independent insurance agent can help you understand how these coverage types work in more depth so that you can build a robust and effective policy.
How much does car insurance cost for police officers?
The average cost of car insurance in the U.S. is $1,771 annually for full coverage, which includes liability as well as optional collision and comprehensive. Minimum coverage, which includes liability-only, costs an average of $545 per year. Police officers who insure their personal vehicles for off-duty use may find that their premium differs from the national average, as your motor vehicle record, car’s age and model, insurance claim history and more all play a role in determining your rate.
Police officers are often perceived as safer drivers by insurance companies. It’s typically assumed that as a police officer, you understand the law and know what’s allowed and what’s prohibited when behind the wheel. Additionally, you may spend considerably more time behind the wheel due to the nature of your job, meaning you’re likely to have more driving experience than the average driver. Each of these factors may place you in a lower-risk category, and thus earn you a lower premium rate.
Insurers use statistical models to determine the risks they incur by taking on each policyholder. A driver who’s been in several at-fault accidents in the past, for example, will usually pay more for their policy than someone with a clean driving record due to posing a higher risk for future accidents and claims.
Law enforcement discounts on insurance
Some companies offer special discounts for law enforcement officers. Some of these companies include:
- Geico: Geico offers a federal employee discount that you may qualify for as a police officer.
- Liberty Mutual: If you are a member of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), you may be eligible for special savings with Liberty Mutual.
- Country Financial: Full-time police officers may be eligible for Country Financial’s occupation discount.
- Farmers: In some states, Farmers offers an occupation discount. Speak with a local agent to see if it is available in your area.
- California Casualty: Available in most states, California Casualty sells insurance only to firefighters, police, educators and a few other professions.
In general, getting auto insurance quotes from several providers is a good way to compare coverage, discounts and prices. This way, you may be able to find the coverage you need at a cheaper price. And while some companies list discounts online, not all savings opportunities may be advertised. Talking to a representative from each company might be the best way to find companies that offer law enforcement discounts on insurance.