Auto insurance is an essential purchase for most drivers. The majority of states require you to have a minimum amount of insurance coverage before you can legally drive. This requirement is often enforced through fines, vehicle impounding and jail time. Another primary reason for car insurance is to protect your assets. If you are in an accident your insurance will cover the cost of liability for bodily injury and property damage to others, and an attorney (if you are sued). Your auto insurance may also cover the cost of accident-related repairs to your insured vehicle and your medical bills. With the help of our comprehensive guide, you will be able to find the right car insurance for you.
Determine How Much Coverage You Need
To find the right car insurance for you, start by determining how much coverage you need. Depending on the state you live in, there may be different minimum coverage requirements. All states require that drivers are insured for bodily injury liability and property damage liability at the very least. Some states also require that motorists have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage and personal injury protection. While minimum coverage has lower monthly payments, you must decide which coverage fits your specific driving needs. The types of coverages available in an auto policy include:
- Bodily injury liability.
- Property damage liability.
- Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.
- Medical payments or personal injury protection (PIP).
Note: The state-required minimum coverages usually are not enough to fully cover you and your assets. If you have a lot of assets, it can be beneficial to purchase enough liability coverage to protect them. Drivers with expensive luxury or exotic cars are recommended to have an insurance policy that offers full coverage.
Shop Around for Competitive Quotes
When you’re shopping for auto insurance, you want to find a policy that is affordable but still meets your coverage requirements. In order to find the best policy, you need to shop around and compare your options. Insurance quotes can be generated online or by calling a company’s toll-free number. Before you start comparing quotes you should have:
- Your driver’s license number.
- Your vehicle registration.
- Your current insurance policy (if you have one).
- At least an hour to shop around.
If you have any questions that are not answered online, call the insurance company directly to get the answers you need. You can also choose to call and generate insurance quotes over the phone if you have the required information available in front of you. This method allows for you to ask questions in real-time and can sometimes work faster than finding quotes online.
Once you have generated enough quotes, build a list of the companies that offer competitive rates. Include information such as the annual and monthly rates for different types of coverage. Make sure that you are comparing rates for the same coverage limits for a more accurate comparison of cost and coverage.
Check for Discounts
After finding insurance policies that meet your requirements, you can save even more money by checking if you are eligible for insurance discounts. Finding available discounts can help make more expensive insurance policies affordable. Most companies offers discounts for various circumstances such as:
- Insuring your automobile and home with the same insurance company.
- Insuring multiple vehicles with the same insurance company.
- Taking a defensive driving course.
- Being a member of certain organizations or working for certain employers.
- Having a young driver in the family with good grades.
Assessing the Reputation of Insurance Companies
Finding the right car insurance is more than just the getting the right coverage and policy. You also want to look into an insurance company’s reviews and history to see how the customers rate their service. After all, you want to make sure that you are getting the best service when you have to file a claim. Firsthand experiences from customers provide good insight into an insurance company’s fairness and customer service. You can find out more about insurance companies by asking friends, family and neighbors. Browsing the internet is also a good way to uncover information about a company.
In addition to customer service, a company’s financial standing should also be pertinent to your decision. When you pay for coverage, you want to be sure that your insurance company will be able to provide that coverage when you need it. Typically, financial strength ratings for insurance companies can be found online through different reputable sources.
Review the Policies and Make Your Decision
After completing your research on insurance companies, read over the policies again. Narrow your search by eliminating companies that don’t meet your standards and prices that are out of your range. Verify that policies include the coverage you requested at a prices you are satisfied with and select the policy that best meets your requirements. Once you have the insurance policy that you want, make sure you carry proof of insurance on your persons or in your vehicle at all times.
Note: Do not feel obligated to stick to the same insurance plan. In fact, it is recommended that you periodically evaluate your coverage to see if there is a better option available. Certain life events can affect your premiums, so it is important to assess your coverage and compare quotes often.