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Ask the Car Insurance Expert

I backed into a pole when I was driving my boyfriend's car. Whose insurance company do we call to file a claim?

Generally the car owner's insurance would provide primary coverage, so your boyfriend should call his car insurance company to file a claim.

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Whether his insurance policy pays for repairs depends on whether he has collision insurance, an optional type of coverage that pays for repairs when a car is damaged in an accident. If he has the coverage, then the insurance company will pay for the repairs, minus the deductible.

Typically a car insurance policy covers the vehicle and the policyholder, household members who are named and insured under the policy and others who have permission to use the car. Car insurance includes several types of coverage.

Most states require vehicle owners to carry liability insurance, which covers damage and injuries an at-fault driver causes to other people and their property. Some states require uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, which covers the driver's and passengers' injuries if the car is hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver. And some states require vehicle owners to carry personal injury protection, which covers the driver's and passengers' injuries, regardless of who was at fault in the accident.

Both collision and comprehensive insurance are optional. Comprehensive insurance covers theft and damage from natural disasters, vandalism and collisions with animals.

For more, see these car insurance basics.

Last updated: Aug. 3, 2012 Redesign Survey