Choosing an auto insurance policy is a major financial decision. You want to be sure you select a policy with the right amount of coverage from a quality car insurance company. The right policy can mean the difference between financial ruin and peace of mind if you are involved in an accident.
Before you even begin shopping for a plan, you will need to determine how much you can afford to pay for a policy and how much risk you're willing to take. How much you can afford to pay will impact the types and levels of protection you include in your policy. Decide how much you can comfortably pay each month or every six months, depending on what type of payment plan you select. In general, the more risk you assume with your policy, the lower your premiums shall be. For example, higher deductibles mean lower premiums, but higher deductibles also mean you will have to pay more out of pocket in the event of an accident. Consider this carefully before you determine your coverage levels and deductible amount.
If you don't know what to look for, comparing policies can be a difficult task. Policies can vary widely between providers, and you want to make sure you're getting the best protection for the best price. The first thing you shall need to find out when assessing your needs is your state's mandatory minimum insurance requirements. Most states require certain levels of bodily injury liability and property damage liability.
Liability coverage is arguably the most important provision on your policy. For one, it is mandated by law in every state. More importantly, liability insulates your finances and assets from costly accident-related lawsuits. If another party with whom you are in an accident sues you for damages, a large lawsuit judgment could ruin you financially without adequate liability coverage. The amount of protection you need will vary by state.
The liability portion of your policy is broken down into two components: bodily injury liability and property damage liability. The first coverage, bodily injury, authorizes pay for the injuries and deaths of other parties involved in an accident in which you are at fault. The second coverage, property damage, will pay for the damage your car does to others' property, such as homes, vehicles, etc. Both types will pay for your attorney fees in the event of a lawsuit. Some companies even provide legal counsel to policyholders as part of their services.
The amount of bodily injury and property damage required by your state is usually expressed in shorthand with three numbers. For example, Utah's requirements are 25/50/15, which means drivers must carry $25,000 of individual bodily injury coverage, $50,000 of bodily injury per accident, and $15,000 of property damage coverage.
You must also have to evaluate your need for specific coverage types; namely, collision coverage, medical payments, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage and personal injury protection.
Collision will pay to repair or replace the insured vehicle if it collides with another vehicle or object or overturns. This is also subject to a deductible set by the policyholder. For example, if a collision claim for $1500 were filed with an insurer and the customer had a $500 deductible, the provider would only pay a benefit of $1,000. If you have a good medical plan, you can probably get by without medical payments coverage. Similarly, if you drive an older vehicle that has little to no cash value, you probably don't need the collision add-on. This is because the carrier will only reimburse you for damages up to the actual cash value of the vehicle.
If you have an accident with someone who does not carry liability insurance or who does not carry enough of it, uninsured motorist coverage will pay for your medical expenses, lost earnings, and pain and suffering. Some states require this option in auto policies. Personal injury protection (PIP) is another of the optional policy options in most states. Regardless of fault, PIP should cover the medical and hospital bills for you and anyone else who was in your car at the time of the accident. Some states require personal injury protection in order to minimize motor vehicle accident-related lawsuits. In other states, medical payments coverage may not be available.
Your budget may also play a role in how much protection you buy. Financial constraints may limit the vehicle insurance policy options from which you can choose. Although it is important to purchase a plan with reasonable rates, you don't want to overemphasize this criterion. The cheapest policy is not always the best value because the savings usually come with a sacrifice in coverage levels or company quality. Set a monthly or yearly budget before you begin shopping to help you decide which premiums you can afford. To get the best premiums, you must want to get quotes from at least two or three different insurers. Needless to say, you should purchase at least the amount of liability required by your state's laws. Drivers with assets of significant worth should purchase policies with larger liability limits. Otherwise, an accident-related lawsuit could force you to sell your home and clean out your savings and retirement accounts.
Recent surveys have found that premiums have been on the rise for years and show no sign of slowing. Insurers attribute the rate increase to the rising costs of healthcare and car repairs. As premiums rise, it's critical that consumers stay well-informed about various providers and understand exactly what factors affect the cost of an auto policy. Here are some common factors that determine your rates:
Driving without car insurance is a risky proposition. For one, you could face serious legal repercussions for driving without it. But legal woes are probably the least of your worries. If you are uninsured and are in an accident that is your fault, you could be financially responsible for paying for the damages and injuries of the parties involved. Unless you're independently wealthy, that means one minor fender bender could jeopardize your assets and put you on the brink of bankruptcy.
If you're driving without car insurance, you will have lapses in coverage on your record. That means that if you ever apply for another policy, your prospective insurer will find this out. To insurers, lapses are red flags for high-risk drivers. Any lapse in policy, no matter how short, could result in sky-high premiums or your application being denied.
Since car insurance is mandatory, you should take a minute to see if there are factors in your life that could translate into money spent on insuring your vehicle. Here are just a few ways you can save big:
The fewer accidents your provider is paying for, the less money you'll pay for your plan. If you've been involved in any major accidents over the past several years, you will pay more.
Installing safety and security devices on your vehicle can greatly reduce your rates. Most companies will give discounts to customers that protect their car with an alarm system, airbags and other safety features.
By enrolling in a defensive driving course, you should become more aware of traffic laws and learn how to drive more safely. Your provider will reward you for this responsible behavior by lowering your premiums.
Good grades can help lower your costs because it shows responsibility. With college, you could get up to seven years of auto insurance discounts. That adds up to a lot of savings that can be put back into your education.
Retired drivers often spend less time on the road than the rest of the population. This means you are less of a risk to the vehicle insurance company. Most providers will offer a discount for those 65 years of age and older.
You can save yourself some money if you combine your auto with your home insurance, or any other policy. This is a way to give the insurer more business, which will be rewarded with lower premiums.
Shopping for a policy isn't nearly the hassle it used to be thanks to the internet. In fact, you can find the right option for your needs without ever having to leave your home. Online car insurance quotes can save you time and a great deal of money. Remember that if you want to get the best deal, you must need to shop around for several quotes. Most experts recommend getting two or three quotes from various insurers before committing to a plan. Comparison shopping is the secret to getting the product you need at the price you want. Many companies also cover motorcycles and boats or jet skis for the ultimate in protection.
To get a pricing estimate online, you shall need to fill out a short form from the company of your choosing. The process will take less than 15 minutes to complete, and the personal information you submit to get your quote will not be released to any third parties. Your form will be completely confidential and used only to provide you with an estimate.
An online auto insurance quotation form will ask questions about the year, make, and model of your vehicle(s), how many vehicles you wish to insure, your driving record, and your contact information. To get the most accurate pricing estimates possible, the information you provide must be accurate. To get your quote, click on the "Compare Quotes" button at the top of this page. You shall have the opportunity to receive quotes from multiple companies that will allow you to compare options and premiums.