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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Maintaining car insurance is a necessity for drivers in every state. Finding cheap car insurance coverage for your state is very simple using the internet.
Each state has financial responsibility laws that require motorists to carry insurance coverage to pay for injuries and damage they cause to other people, including pedestrians, drivers, cyclists, and passengers. Auto insurance also protects you financially by transferring your risk of loss to an insurance company. Check for your FREE car insurance quote comparison by entering in your ZIP code!
Not all insurance policies provide the level of protection you need. A policy that adequately protects one driver might not be right for another motorist. When you are shopping for good car insurance coverage, there are several factors you should consider. Shopping for your car insurance coverage is EASY with our search tool!
Do You Have Valuable Assets to Protect?
Before you begin obtaining auto insurance quotes, think about the assets you want to protect.
If you cause an accident and don’t have enough liability coverage to pay for damages and injuries caused to another person, you will be responsible for paying any amount not covered by your insurance policy.
If you cannot pay for another person’s injuries or property damage, most states allow the person to take legal action against you. You may incur a civil judgment for unpaid losses, which makes you legally liable for these expenses.
Except in a few states, such as Pennsylvania and Texas, obtaining a judgment against you allows the person to seek recovery by garnishing a portion of your wages. Although uncommon, a judgment may also allow the person to seek liquidation of your assets, including personal possessions and real estate, to pay for injuries and damages.
The right auto insurance policy provides liability limits high enough to cover losses incurred by others if you cause a traffic accident. If you have substantial assets to protect, consider purchasing a policy that provides at least $100,000 in property damage coverage and $300,000 in bodily injury coverage.
Not Everyone Carries Car Insurance
Since all states require drivers to maintain financial responsibility, you might assume that all motorists carry car insurance; however, some choose to break the law by driving without coverage. For example, about 5 percent of drivers in New York are uninsured, and nearly one in three drivers in New Mexico fail to meet financial responsibility requirements.
Other drivers may carry car insurance, but may choose only the minimum limits required under state law. Minimum limits are commonly not enough to pay for injuries or damages resulting from an accident.
Your car insurance policy should provide uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage to protect you if are in an accident with someone who does not carry insurance, or who carries low limits. Your policy will pay for injuries and property damage you sustain, so you won’t have to worry about bringing legal action against the at-fault driver.
A good car insurance policy will provide these coverages in amounts equal to your liability limits.
What Kind of Car Do You Drive?
If you drive a late-model vehicle, your policy should provide physical damage coverage. This can prevent you from paying out of your own pocket to replace the car if it is damaged or stolen, or for repairs if the vehicle is damaged in an accident. This coverage pays up to the actual cash value of the car, which is the amount the car would have sold for for if it had not been damaged or destroyed.
Until you pay off a lease or loan on the car, your lender will usually require you to maintain physical damage coverage. If your car insurance policy does not provide this coverage, your lender may take out a physical damage policy on the vehicle and charge you for the premiums.
Getting the Right Coverage for Your Vehicle Use
How you use your car affects the type of coverage you need from your auto insurance policy. If you only drive your car for pleasure or errands, or you drive to the same work location every day, a personal auto insurance policy will typically be sufficient to protect you.
If you drive to more than one job location every day, you might need a business auto insurance policy. This type of policy provides coverages similar to a personal auto policy, but is designed to cover travel to more than one job site. You might also need a business policy if you make sales calls, deliver pizzas, or engage in any other business activity that involves extensive time on the road.
Commercial vehicle insurance might be necessary if you use your car exclusively for business purposes. Not all companies that provide auto insurance quotes online offer commercial coverage, so check with the company before making a policy purchase.
What is the Company’s Financial Strength?
Coverages and limits are meaningless if the insurance company cannot pay its claims. Particularly when shopping for insurance quotes online, you should research each company’s financial rating to ensure that you are dealing with a strong, stable insurer.
Financial ratings take several factors into account, including the amount of capital the company has in reserves, the ratio of income to claims payments, and the company’s overhead, advertising, and administrative expenses. You don’t have to be a financial expert to obtain a financial rating for an insurance company. Your state’s insurance department can provide you with resources that give you the information you need in a clear, concise manner.
Service After the Sale
One challenge of shopping for car insurance online is that you do not have any interaction with insurance company employees. A low rate might sound attractive, but if you cannot reach customer service agents when you have a question or need to make a policy change, saving a few dollars might not be worth the hassle.
Likewise, if you need to file a claim, your insurance company should have claims staff available to help you through the process. Few experiences are more frustrating than being involved in an accident and then waiting for days or weeks for an adjuster to call you back.
After you find an online quote that fits your budget, contact the insurance department in your state to inquire about consumer complaints against the company.
Each state’s insurance department has a complaints division that deals with problems policyholders have with their insurance companies. A large number of complaints might indicate that the company will not provide the service you need after you purchase your policy.
Although buying car insurance is not a favorite activity for most people, taking a little extra time to consider these factors can help ensure that your policy not only keeps you legal to drive, but also gives you financial peace of mind. Have peace of mind by finding cheaper car insurance using our FREE search tool; just put in your ZIP code!