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- Car Insurance Discounts
- Car Insurance Glossary
Car Insurance Buyer’s Guide
Choosing car insurance is one of the most important tasks for any driver. Insurance is what gives you coverage in the event of an accident. It’s also essential in order to legally drive your vehicle. With the help of this car insurance buyer’s guide, you’ll know what to look for when shopping for rates and the top providers across the country.
Most people simply choose the same insurance company as family members. However, that might not be the right provider for you. By knowing these essential things to look for, finding the right insurance will surely be easier.
What type of coverage do I need?
First, let’s discuss the type of coverage that you should be looking for. The vast majority of states require some type of insurance. The most popular types of coverage include property damage, personal injury protection, and bodily injury liability. You will certainly want to consider the minimum insurance requirements for your local area.
At the end of the day, it’s most important to make sure that you and your vehicle are covered. You’ll want the right insurance to cover medical costs and damages because of an accident. Depending on where you live, protections from theft and acts of nature are also important to consider.
What are the most popular types of insurance?
As mentioned, property damage, personal injury protection, and bodily injury liability are important. There are a few other types as well, including:
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist: This insurance is for accidents where the other driver doesn’t have insurance to cover damages and injuries. It’s not a requirement in every state. With that being said, it protects you if the other party cannot.
- Collision: Simply put, this coverage protects you if you’re in a collision with another vehicle or object.
- Comprehensive: This covers most damages to your vehicle that occur from reasons outside of collision, theft, natural disasters, etc.
- Bodily Injury Liability: This covers any medical costs the other party will need as a result of you being at fault. In most states, this is the first requirement.
- Property Damage: Property damage is essential to help pay for any damages that you do to any other vehicles.
- Personal Injury Protection: With PIP, you will have the finances to cover medical costs for you and/or any passengers in your vehicle.
Can I still be insured with a poor driving record?
You would be surprised at the number of people on the road who have spotty driving records. There’s a reason as to why they’re called “accidents”; sometimes, they’re simply unavoidable. Having a spotty driving record can cause many people to opt out of driving altogether. However, there are plenty of ways that you can still get insurance.
The best thing to consider is a provider that is used to working with high-risk drivers. These companies are accustomed to working with drivers with less-than-perfect driving records. In fact, the majority of their clients are individuals who are unable to apply for insurance with other companies. For many, they may be the only option.
The main downfall to these insurance providers is their cost. As you are labeled as, “high risk,” the company is going to require higher premiums in order to cover any potential accidents. This can prove to be too costly for many families, especially if you’re searching for the cheapest car insurance on the market. Though if you’re left without a choice, it’s better to be insured than to not be insured.
Where’s the best place to find car insurance rates?
Once your actual shopping begins, you’re going to need as much information as possible. This is where the internet comes into play, as it’s your most valuable resource. Researching insurance providers gives you the opportunity to choose the right company for you. You can review their policies, take a look at customer reviews, and more, all from the comfort of your home.
It’s also recommended that you do your research before visiting an in-person location. This will give you everything that you need to make the right decisions for you and your family. It’s quite often that insurance providers upsell or put pressure on you to buy more coverage than you need. However, if you do the research, you’ll already know what to ask for.
Another interesting way to find insurance is to work with an insurance broker. They typically have arrangements with several different providers. Their job is to sign you into insurance policies on behalf of the provider, but they are not required to upsell one company over another.
If you’re someone who doesn’t have the time to do online research, a broker is a fantastic option. You will be able to tell them exactly what you’re looking for and they’ll provide you with reliable options. You can then decide which insurance policy best meets your needs.
How much do car insurance policies cost?
Many variables go into determining the cost of a policy. You can guarantee that each policyholder is either paying more or less than another. When you start shopping around for rates, you’ll input information into specific forms. The insurance company will then consider these factors to give you a quote.
Not only are personal factors a large part in determining policy cost, but companies are as well. Some insurance companies are meant for high-risk drivers, which means you’ll be paying more monthly. Whereas other companies offer incentives for great drivers, helping you to save on your policies. It’s also important to ask about any potential savings you might be eligible for before signing an agreement.
A few other great tips in this car insurance buyer’s guide for getting the best rates for your policies include:
- Maintain a good credit score
- Choose a car that is inexpensive to cover
- Constantly update your mileage
- Choose a car that has plenty of safety features
- Compare several different quotes
What should I look for in the best insurance provider?
The number one thing to consider when you’re shopping for an insurance provider is to find a company that allows you to take control. At the end of the day, it’s your coverage, and as such, you should be able to customize it as you see fit. There are plenty of ways for you to control your policy for the highest number of benefits.
Two-Year Rate Checks
Better rates are always available from insurance providers. Especially if their drivers are becoming safer over the years. It’s recommended that you check your policy every two years to see if you are eligible for lower rates. Even though you might assume the insurance company will do that for you, it’s better if you handle it on your own.
If you’re unable to find lower rates with your current insurer, then consider looking elsewhere. As time progresses, your personal situation might change. For example, if you previously had a spotty driving record or if you have gotten older. Shopping for better deals is one of the best ways to make sure you’re getting the best offer.
Setting the Right Deductible
Deductibles are important when it comes to the cost of your insurance. If you have a higher deductible, you’re going to pay more out of pocket as a result of an accident. However, you will be paying less monthly than with a lower deductible.
A study by Consumer Reports sheds some light onto choosing deductibles. Consumer Reports determined that a married couple who increased their deductible from $500 to $1000 saved up to $140 per year.
With that being said, this might not be the best option for everyone. For example, good drivers may be able to get by with a higher deductible. If you’re not prone to accidents, you can certainly save monthly. Though in the event of an accident, you’ll need to be financially prepared to pay more.
Take Reviews Into Account
Customer reviews are your best option when choosing a provider. This is because they are written by people who have worked with an insurance company before. It’s far too often that drivers fall victim to poor insurance companies. This causes the driver to have to pay more or receive little to no coverage in an accident.
Additionally, you don’t want to choose an insurer who holds onto any payments to where you have to pay out of pocket. The higher the rating of the insurance company, the better it’s likely to be.
Car insurance companies have the tendency to boast about their benefits. Little do most people know that these benefits are add-ons to policies. Meaning, you’ll be responsible for paying more money to access the benefits.
Ideally, the right insurance company will offer these advantages with your regular policy. In fact, the top rated insurance companies are likely to offer these incentives with nearly every policy.
Customer Service and Efficiency
You might think that customer service isn’t a big deal when finding insurance. In all honesty, it’s one of the more important things to consider. When you are in an accident, the last thing you’ll want to have to do is fight for assistance. Dealing with the accident is stressful enough. The right insurance provider will have plenty of representatives available for you to use to your advantage. They will also handle claims professionally and quickly so that you don’t have to do any of the work.
What insurance add-ons are worth the money?
Not every insurance add-on is worth the money, no matter how useful it sounds. The most common and most useful add-ons include:
- GAP Insurance: GAP insurance is useful for brand new or expensive vehicles. In the event that the car is stolen or in an accident, the driver does not have to continue making payments. Instead, their GAP insurance will cover the difference in fees.
- Roadside Assistance: You never know when you’ll be in need of a professional if you’re experiencing car issues. Roadside assistance gives you an instant connection to an individual who will assist you and your vehicle no matter where you are.
- Rental Car Reimbursement: If you’re someone who travels a lot or deals with frequent car trouble, this add-on is for you. Rental car reimbursement will give you money back in the event that you need to rent a car due to a damaged vehicle. Some companies also give you a reimbursement if you have to rent a car because of a long-distance trip.
What are the best insurance providers to choose from?
Insurance isn’t a one-size-fits-all industry, and for good reason. Some providers are better for certain types of drivers. The six most popular insurance agencies are AAA, Allstate, Geico, Progressive, State Farm, and USAA.
AAA offers plenty of benefits for members. You’ll get standard benefits which include vacation planning, discounts for members, and even roadside assistance. They are also known to offer great discounts to student drivers.
As a company that has been in business for over 75 years, Allstate is surely a trustworthy insurance provider. You will receive a personalized auto insurance quote that meets your every need. They’re mostly known for their safe driving benefits, which reward you for having a clean driving record. You can also add on several different benefits including accident forgiveness, preferred repair services, deductible rewards, and new car replacements.
Geico is one of the most affordable car insurance providers. As their slogan says, they can help you to save up to 15% more off of traditional rates. Geico is also known for its fantastic customer service.
This auto insurance provider is beneficial in similar ways to other companies. You are entitled to benefits and discounts with a clean driving record. Most notably, Progressive’s online services are superior to others. You can look at new policy bundles and compare insurance rates through your online account.
State Farm offers several different types of insurance to cover every type of driver. They have teen car insurance, rental insurance, sports car insurance, antique car insurance, and business auto insurance as well. They feature over 18,000 different agents throughout the world, and they are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
USAA is a special type of insurance meant for members of the military and their families. With that being said, not everyone is eligible for their coverage. They offer similar auto insurance options as most other providers, however, far better benefits. Some of the optional coverage that you can choose from includes accident forgiveness, rental reimbursement, and roadside assistance.
Finding the right insurance might seem like a daunting task at first. However, this with car insurance buyer’s guide, finding one should be easier. The most important thing to remember is that you need to have as much information as possible. The more knowledgeable you are, the easier it will be to choose the best coverage.