If you are shopping for auto insurance for the first time, or if it something that you never gave much thought to in the past, you may benefit from a quick course covering the basics. Considering that you most likely live in a state that requires you to purchase auto insurance that meets a legal minimum standard, you have plenty of incentive to find the right kind of protection.
If you could simply go out and purchase the minimum coverage and feel confident about your level of protection, that would be much easier. Unfortunately, the vast majority of states have coverage standards that are too low to provide you with adequate protection. This short guide will teach you more about the basics so you can find a policy that covers your unique needs and protects your assets.
Most people have heard the term ‘deductible’ before, but not everyone really understand how it works. It is really simple: the deductible is the dollar amount that you must pay out of pocket after an accident. These expenses will not be covered by your insurance policy.
What Your Insurance Will Cover
What damages and medical expenses your insurance pays for depends on the details of your policy. In almost every state, every auto insurance policy must at least include bodily injury and property damage liability coverage. Many other states also demand that drivers purchase some additional types of coverage that will protect them regardless of fault in the accident, including under-insured/uninsured motorist insurance and personal injury protection.
There are many other popular auto insurance extensions that you should research to determine whether they apply to you or not. Most importantly, you need to be fully aware of the minimum legal standard in your state before you set out to purchase auto insurance. If your policy does not follow state laws for any reason, you could be subject to expensive fines and other penalties.
Where to Find the Right Insurance
Insurance providers have policies that are geared toward helping drivers stay within the legal requirements while also providing adequate protection. It is important to remember that most auto insurance experts say state minimum standards rarely provide enough coverage for drivers involved in serious accidents. You will need to fully assess and account for your insurance needs in order to protect your assets.
With all of the different protection options available and the wide variety discounts offered, it really pays to shop around and ask the right questions before making a final decision. Comparing quotes from the top providers in your area will help you find the right policy at the right price.
Did you know that many car insurance companies offer discounts that can help save policyholders a lot of money each year? Few people actually ask about available discounts when they sign up for a policy. This short guide can provide you with some basic information that can help you be more proactive when shopping for auto insurance.
In general, coverage discounts fall into one of three categories:
Some companies will allow you to combine these discounts for even better savings. If you want to get the best savings out of your insurance provider, you should follow some simple tips.
Tips for Driver Discounts
If your driving record is free of accidents, traffic violations, and speeding tickets, you could be eligible for a safe driver discount. Many companies institute discounts when a driver hits an experience milestone like graduating from college, turning 40 years old, etc. The potential savings vary from one company to the next, so you should ask about all the details upfront.
Tips for Policy Discounts
Bundling multiple vehicles on the same policy or policies will earn you often earn you a discount. If you decide to bundle your homeowners insurance or some other coverage with your auto insurance, that would be another way to earn savings. You also should ask your insurance provider if you can earn a discount for paying in a yearly lump sum rather than monthly. Setting auto payments through a checking account or switching to paperless billing can also lead to discounts. Do not forget to ask about potential policy discounts.
Tips for Vehicle Discounts
If your car has extra safety features, your insurance provider may offer you reduced rates. Airbags, vehicle recovery systems, anti-lock brakes, and anti-theft devices can all help you secure a valuable discount.
Finding the Best Savings
You can take a big bite out of your auto insurance premium with one or more of the discounts mentioned above. Bundling your insurance, keeping your driving record clean, and driving a vehicle with safety features can all lead to big savings. However, doing these things alone will not lead you to the best rates on coverage. If you combine those efforts with shopping around and comparing quotes from many different companies, you will be in great position to secure the best coverage at the most reasonable price available.
Many drivers do not carry adequate coverage to protect themselves from severe financial consequences related to catastrophic incidents. If you purchase car insurance that only satisfies the minimum legal requirements in your state, it is likely that you will be stuck with a large portion of the bill for expensive damages and medical care following a serious collision. To determine what would be an adequate amount of coverage for your unique situation, you should answer two questions:
Once you are able to answer these questions confidently, you can begin your search for an auto insurance policy. Only after you are clear on your goals will you be able to find the right coverage at the right price.
The Truth About State-Mandated Minimums
Almost every state requires its residents to meet a minimum standard for auto insurance. These minimum standards always represent bare-bones policies that do not provide adequate financial protection. If you are in a serious accident while carrying the least amount of coverage that is legal in your state, you could wind up being personally responsible for paying medical and property damage expenses that soar into the tens of thousands of dollars or more. Purchasing a policy that goes above and beyond the legal minimum could help save you from financial ruin.
Going Beyond the Minimum
A little research will show you that there are many different kinds of car insurance that help protect you beyond minimum liability coverage standards. If you shop around, you can find affordable add-ons and extensions that could make all the difference when it comes time for you to make a claim.
Comprehensive and Collision Coverage
Collision and comprehensive are two popular auto insurance extensions. Collision will cover repairs or even the total replacement of a vehicle after an accident. Comprehensive coverage can pay for damages that stem from incidents like weather events, vandalism, or theft.
Uninsured/Under-insured Motorist Insurance
Not many states require their citizens to purchase insurance that covers damages stemming from accidents with uninsured or under-insured drivers. With the large number of uninsured drivers out on the roads today, it would be wise to think about this kind of policy. If another driver does not have insurance to cover your injuries and property damage expenses, there could be serious financial consequences for you.
Making a Final Decision on Car Insurance
Your car insurance needs are based on many individual factors, including your budget and the value of the assets you need to protect. Experts agree that, in general, it is better to have too much insurance than too little. Agreeing to a slightly higher deductible can help you find bigger and better coverage at an affordable price. Whatever amount of coverage you decide to purchase, you should compare auto insurance quotes online to ensure you get the absolute best deal on the best policy.