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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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While almost everyone who owns a car has to buy car insurance at some point, many people are unfamiliar with the terms and conditions that make for good car insurance coverage. If you are in the market for new insurance policy for your vehicle, there are a few factors that you’ll need to evaluate. Get started with our FREE quote comparison tool today!
Before you buy a policy, some of the factors that you’ll need to look for in a good policy include:
- Sufficient liability coverage
- Collision and comprehensive coverage
- Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage
- Quality customer service
- Affordable deductible
- Low premiums
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Perhaps the most essential component of auto insurance is a good liability insurance coverage limit. When you drive your car on public roads, you are required by law to have some kind of liability insurance. While you are not required to have the other coverage options included, this coverage is mandatory.
When you purchase liability insurance for your car, you have the option of choosing several different coverage limits. Liability insurance policies come with a few different types of limits. These polices are usually quoted in terms such as 50/100/50.
These numbers mean that the policy provides you with $50,000 of bodily injury protection per person up to a maximum of $100,000 of coverage per claim. You also get $50,000 of personal property damage coverage.
When you are in the process of shopping and comparing insurance policies, make sure that the coverage limits you are looking at are the same with each policy.
Typically, you should not just pick the minimum policy available according to the law. Having higher liability insurance coverage limits helps you avoid having to come up with money if you are at fault in an accident.
Collision and Comprehensive
Besides liability coverage, some other essential areas of coverage are required. Collision coverage helps you get your vehicle repaired if you are at fault in an accident. This type of coverage is essential if you owe money against your vehicle or if the vehicle is worth a large amount. The insurance company will pay for the value of your car at the time of the wreck if it is totaled.
Comprehensive coverage involves protection for damage from other types of incidents. This usually covers any kind of damage that occurs to the vehicle other than in a collision with another car. For example, if you hit a deer in the road, it would be a comprehensive claim.
If someone vandalized your car or stole it, the comprehensive section of your policy would be the one that would pay out. If you truly want to make sure that your car is protected from as many damages as possible, it is important to get both collision and comprehensive coverage.
If you have an older vehicle that is not worth much money, you may be able to skip out on these two types of coverage. They are optional and they do add to the cost of your insurance policy premiums overall. If you don’t owe money against the car, you will not be required to carry these coverage options.
The risk of damage to the vehicle is solely yours and it’s up to you whether to mitigate against this risk.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
While every motorist is required by state law to carry some type of liability coverage, some people still get out on the roads without this kind of protection. Because of this, you’re taking a risk every time you drive on public roads.
Someone without insurance coverage could cause an accident and damage your vehicle or hurt you. Because of this risk, it’s important to make sure that you have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.
With this type of insurance coverage, your insurance company will make sure that your costs are taken care of if an uninsured or underinsured motorist hits you.
If the other driver has no auto insurance and cause a wreck, your insurance company will help you with all of your bills up to a certain amount. If the other driver is simply underinsured compared to the costs incurred, your insurance company will pick up the extra costs on top of what the other driver’s insurance company pays.
This helps protect you in case the costs incurred after a wreck are sizable.
Quality Customer Service
In addition to the technical aspects of your policy, you also need to make sure that you are selecting a car insurance provider that provides good customer service. Some companies may be able to charge less in premiums but they do not offer the same level of customer service that some of the other companies out there offer.
Some companies will actually come out to an accident or to your home when you have an accident. Others will simply tell you to go get estimates on the damage and send them in to the company.
Some companies offer local agents of that you can talk to a single point of contact when you need help. Others do business by referring you to a customer service line or a website. Try to find a company that is known for being very responsive when an accident happens and has a good customer service record overall.
The deductible is the amount of money that you have to come up with out of pocket when an accident occurs and you file a claim. The deductible is an amount that you can choose, based on your own personal risk tolerance. If you are comfortable with a little bit more risk, you can simply raise your deductible.
This is sometimes done to lower insurance premiums. If you do not have much in savings and you don’t want to have to come up with a large amount of money when you have a wreck, you may prefer a lower deductible on your insurance policy.
The deductible can have a direct effect on your insurance premiums. The insurance premium is the amount of money that you pay monthly, quarterly or annually to get insurance coverage. Your premium is affected by many factors such as the coverage limits you choose, your credit history, your driving record and the company that you choose to work with.
Having a higher deductible on your policy also lowers your premium. If you have other types of insurance coverage with the same insurance company, you may be able to get a discount on the amount you pay overall.
When you are shopping for car insurance, it is important to compare one carrier against another. In many cases, some insurance companies will be able to offer you a cheaper rate than what you can get elsewhere.
Unless you are willing to get online and do a little bit of comparison shopping, you may miss out on a good deal with another company. When you are in the process of shopping around, just keep in mind that you need to make sure all of the aspects of the policies are the same.