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Understanding Car Insurance
Car insurance is currently a legal requirement in 48 states. The remaining two states, New Hampshire and Virginia, still enforce heavy fines if an uninsured driver causes an accident. With this in mind, it simply makes good sense to buy car insurance, regardless of where you live.
Every state has its own specific rules regarding the type of coverage you must have, which can quickly become confusing. Therefore, before you wade into the world of car insurance quotes, it’s important to learn as much as possible about the different type of policies that are available.
Which Car Insurance Policy is Right for You?
After making sure you know your state’s legal requirements, you’ll need to choose between a few different policy types. There will also be several optional policy riders to choose from. Make sure that you carefully consider your potential future liability, the age of your vehicle and your driving history before you sign up for insurance coverage.
1. Liability Coverage
Known as PLPD in some states, liability coverage is required throughout most of the country. If you decide to go this route, you’ll want to gather cheap car insurance quotes to cover at least the minimum standard set by your state. Each of these policies covers two things:
Property Damage Liability – Provides coverage for eligible property damage that you cause while driving. Please note that this only applies to property owned by other people.
Bodily Injury Liability – If another person is injured by an accident you caused, liability insurance will cover at least some of their eligible medical expenses.
Be aware that acquiring the minimum amount of liability coverage required by your state may not be enough to take care of all the bills associated with damage or injuries caused by your actions.
For example, Michigan drivers must carry a policy with a minimum of $20,000 in bodily injury coverage for each injured party. This coverage can be capped at $40,000 total per incident to achieve the most affordable car insurance rate. Additionally, Michigan PLPD policies must include $10,000 in property damage coverage. As you can undoubtedly imagine, it’s easy to be involved in an accident that exceeds these coverage amounts. Therefore, if you were to cause $100,000 in bodily injury medical bills to one person, you could be held personally responsible for the remaining $80,000.
2. Comprehensive Coverage
This optional policy is one of the two major components of full coverage car insurance. If your vehicle is damaged by vandalism, fire, theft, hail or any other similar incident, you’ll be able to make a claim. After you pay your deductible, your comprehensive coverage will kick in up to the policy limit.
3. Collision Coverage
Full coverage is an umbrella term, but there aren’t actually any policies named “full coverage.” Instead, car insurance companies bundle varies policies together such as comprehensive and collision coverage to give you the best possible protection. Collision coverage helps cover any damage to your vehicle that’s caused by an accident. This includes hitting a stationary object or another car.
4. Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
If you live in an at-fault state, you’re definitely going to want to include uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage when you compare car insurance rates. Each state has different laws that govern exactly how this policy rider works. However, its basic function is to help pay for medical and automobile repair bills that aren’t covered by the other driver’s insurance.
In an at-fault state, this type of coverage is optional. Despite this, many of the best car insurance companies will still recommend adding uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to your policy. After all, it can provide extra financial protection for accidents that cause extensive injuries and damage.
5. Medical Payments Coverage
Some of the states that require this add-on will waive the requirement if you have your own health insurance policy. Either way, medical payments coverage exists to help protect anyone who is inside of your vehicle. Imagine for a second that there are four people in your car, including yourself, when a drunk driver causes a catastrophic accident. With medical payments coverage, you and your passengers won’t have to worry about paying exorbitant fees for emergency care.
6. Personal Injury Insurance
Better known as PIP, this rider is offered in some states. It provides some of the same protection as medical payments coverage. Additionally, you may be eligible to be reimbursed for lost income and any other expenses caused by injuries from a car accident.
Additional Add-On Options
We all want to get the best car insurance rates for our particular situation. Keep in mind, though, that choosing cheap car insurance may come back to haunt you later on. Not only do you want to make sure all your basic needs are met but you should also strongly consider any add-on options that are pertinent to your circumstances. There are numerous riders available, and they can vary by state and insurer. To help you get started, here’s a few of the most popular options.
1. Roadside Assistance
If it’s not already included in your policy, it’s always a wise decision to add roadside assistance. Make sure you get a full explanation of what your roadside assistance plan covers. In some cases, it can even be used when you’re in a different vehicle. Either way, having the ability to get free or cheap help if your car breaks down, your battery dies or you get a flat tire will provide you with some much-needed peace of mind.
2. Gap Coverage
Until you pay off your vehicle, your lender is likely to require comprehensive and collision insurance. Some lenders also make gap coverage mandatory. In a nutshell, this add-on will help you if your car is totaled before it’s paid off. Let’s say you still owe $5,000, but the cash value offered by the insurance company is only $4,000. Gap insurance would step in and provide the remaining $1,000.
3. Rental Car Reimbursement
The very best car insurance coverage will make things as easy as possible after you’ve been in an accident. Rental car reimbursement is definitely part of this equation. After all, the last thing you need to worry about is how you’re going to get to work for however long it takes to repair your vehicle. You can alleviate this concern by making sure you add rental car coverage to your policy.
How to Compare Car Insurance Quotes
Many drivers make the mistake of looking at only the most basic details about each policy. It’s natural for your eyes to go straight to the cheapest price when you get car insurance quotes, but remember that this policy needs to be there for you if you’re ever in an accident. Therefore, it’s critical to drill down further to get a good understanding of what each company offers.
Let’s consider a scenario where two companies are, on the surface, offering comprehensive and collision coverage. Company A wants $850 per year. Company B is asking for $925. You’re naturally drawn toward the lesser car insurance cost, right? But what if you drilled down and found out that Company A’s offer comes with a $1,000 deductible, yet Company B only asks for a $500 deductible? Going even further, what if Company B’s $925 comes with roadside assistance, but Company A charges an extra $100 per year to add that perk on? All of the sudden, the higher priced policy just became the more affordable option.
As you can see, car insurance rates and policies aren’t created equally. This can make it extremely difficult to find the best deal, especially if you’re gathering quotes individually. That’s why it’s always best to compare car insurance from several companies at once.
Using Car Insurance Comparison Sites
The easiest method for finding a good rate is to compare car insurance online with a comparison site. These sites let you look at the overview of several companies, along with making it easy to drill down for more details. In most cases, you can even buy car insurance online instantly after choosing your preferred provider.
Remember: although it’s simple to get car insurance online from any insurance company’s website, that doesn’t mean you’ll get the best policy for your needs. That’s why so many people turn to comparison sites instead.
We Make it Easy to Find the Right Car Insurance Online
As an independent insurance agency that specializes in car insurance, we’re able to connect you with the best rates and policies via our website. If you’re ready to find the most comprehensive coverage at an affordable price, we’ll make it simple to sort through dozens of high-quality providers. Simply type in your zip code, sit back and let us gather car insurance quotes online for you. Your results will load almost instantly, thereby making the entire process quick and painless!
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