The majority of states require a minimum amount of liability coverage before you can legally drive that makes it an essential purchase. This requirement is often enforced through fines, vehicle impounding and jail time. Another primary reason for automobile insurance is to protect your assets. If you are in an accident it will cover the cost of bodily injuries and property damages to others, as well as legal defence fees (if you are sued). If you buy full coverage it will also pay for accident-related repairs to your vehicle and your medical bills (if included). With the help of our comprehensive guide, you will be able to find the right policy for you.
Determine How Much Coverage You Need
To find the right car insurance, start by determining how much protection 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 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 a basic plan may have lower monthly payments, you must decide if it is enough for your specific needs. The types of options available in an auto policy include:
- Bodily injury liability.
- Property damage liability.
- Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.
- Medical payments or personal injury protection (PIP).
- Collision and Comprehensive coverage for own vehicle.
Note: The state-required minimum limits usually are not enough. If you have a lot of assets, it can be beneficial to purchase generous liability coverage to protect them. Drivers with decent cars are recommended to have a full policy that includes Collision and Comprehensive.
Shop Around for Competitive Quotes
When shopping for auto insurance, you want to find a policy that is affordable but still protects you well, in case something does happen. In order to find the best deal, you need to shop around and compare quotes. They 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 questions that are not answered online, call them directly to get the answers you need. You can also choose to obtain quotes over the phone if you have the required information available in front of you. Then, you could ask questions in real-time that could speed up the process.
Once you have generated enough prices, build a list of the companies that offer competitive rates. Include information such as the annual and monthly premiums for different types of coverage. In order to avoid confusion, make sure that you are comparing prices for the same provisions.
Check for Discounts
Most carriers offer discounts for various circumstances. Knowing what they are may allow you to line up yourself for them. Here are some of them;
- Insuring your automobile and home with the same provider.
- Insuring multiple vehicles with the same company.
- Taking a defensive driving course.
- Being a member of certain organizations or working for certain employers.
- Having a garage to park the car at night.
- Having a good credit score.
- Owning your home.
- Avoiding especially small claims and keeping a clean record.
Assessing the Reputation of Insurance Companies
It is not just about getting the policy you need at the cheapest price. You also want to look into the insurer’s reviews and history to see how the customers rate their services. After all, you want to make sure that you are getting the best service when you have to file a claim. First-hand experiences from customers provide good insight into their fairness and effectiveness. You can find out more about insurance companies by asking friends, family and neighbours. Browsing the internet is also a good way to uncover information.
In addition to customer service, a company’s financial standing should also be pertinent to your decision. You want to be sure that they will pay for your and third-party losses with minimum fuss and difficulty. Typically, financial strength ratings can be found online through well-known reputable sources.
Review the Policies and Make Your Decision
After completing your research on auto insurers, 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 everything is as it should in the schedule and there are no mistakes or omissions. Once all is done, make sure you carry proof of insurance on your person or in your vehicle at all times.
Note: Do not feel obligated to stick to the same renewal terms. 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 the requirements and prices. So, it is important to assess them regularly and compare quotes again at each renewal.