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Car insurance for police officers
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Police officers need car insurance just like anyone else. However, their needs may be different than those of other professions. The good news is, with some insurance companies, police officers may qualify for additional discounts to help them save money. But where should a police officer start in their search for the right car insurance? Bankrate’s insurance editorial team, which includes licensed agents, has dug into some of the things a police officer may want to consider when looking for the right car insurance.
Car insurance for police officers
There are generally two layers of financial protection that a police officer has to consider when it comes to car insurance. — coverage while they are on the job and using their police cars and coverage for when they are off duty and using their personal vehicles.
Auto insurance for police vehicles
Car insurance policies for a police officer’s squad car works differently than a standard car insurance policy. Since squad cars are typically not owned by police officers, you likely don’t have a financial interest in the vehicle and won’t be responsible for the auto insurance policy on your squad vehicle.
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 on the coverage types or options 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, many insurance companies ask for your occupation when you ask for a quote. Since car insurance companies calculate rates based on risk, officers have a better chance at landing a lower rate. 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.
What type of coverage should police officers consider?
As a police officer, you know that accidents can happen to anyone at any time. Although the coverage on your squad vehicle is dependent on law enforcement agencies, selecting the right coverage on your personal car is essential. Car insurance is designed to protect your finances if an accident does happen.
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 the required minimum coverage, which is focused on liability insurance, there are a number of optional yet common coverage types available to police officers, such as the ones below:
- Uninsured motorist coverage: This optional coverage helps pay for your medical bills and related expenses if you are hit by a driver who does not carry insurance coverage. Underinsured motorist coverage is similar and helps fill in gaps if you are hit by a driver who has insurance, but not enough to cover the damages or injuries they caused.
- Collision coverage: Collision is an optional vehicle coverage that is part of full coverage car insurance that helps pay for damages to your vehicle after it collides with something, regardless of whether you or another driver causes the accident. Collision coverage comes with a deductible, which means you’ll have to pay a certain amount out of pocket before insurance kicks in to cover the damage after an approved claim.
- Comprehensive coverage: The other key part of full coverage car insurance, this type of coverage covers damage to your vehicle caused by most things other than a collision (and includes coverage if you hit a deer). If you live in a state where natural disasters are quite common, comprehensive coverage can help pay for any damages caused by certain severe weather such as hail, floods, and winds. Additionally, comprehensive insurance will cover damages from fire, theft, hitting an animal, and vandalism. Comprehensive coverage also carries a deductible.
. 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?
Bankrate’s insurance editorial team partnered with Quadrant Information Services to determine the average costs of auto insurance in the U.S. in 2023. According to our findings, the average cost of car insurance in the U.S. is $2,014 annually for full coverage, which includes liability as well as optional collision and comprehensive. Minimum coverage, which includes liability-only, costs an average of $622 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.