How to Buy Car Insurance
Almost every state requires all drivers to have car insurance. Without
it, you're prone to significantly higher financial loss whether you're
involved in an accident or your car gets stolen. Insurance protects
you, your passengers, and your car in the case of an emergency. If
you're new to shopping for car insurance, it's important to shop
around for the best rate and terms possible. Here's a comprehensive
guide on everything you need to know to buy car insurance.
What is Car Insurance?
A car insurance policy provides financial protection from a variety of
bodily injuries, property damage, and medical costs,
depending on your specific insurance policy terms. Paying a premium to
a car insurance company can spare you from having to pay the high
costs that can be incurred following a car accident.
What is a Premium?
A car insurance premium is an amount you pay to maintain your
insurance policy. Car insurance companies may require monthly,
quarterly, bi-annual, or annual payments to provide insurance
coverage. Insurance companies will calculate your premium depending on
a variety of factors
that may include your credit history, car type, driving history, and
the coverages selected.
What is a Deductible?
A car insurance deductible is the amount of money you'll pay out of
pocket after an accident. Generally, low deductibles have higher
premiums and vice versa. Some car insurance policyholders can choose
pay low premiums, but risk paying more out-of-pocket after an accident than those who
choose a policy with a higher premium. Make sure to work with your
insurance agent on the perfect balance of premium and deductible to
fit your budget.
How to Buy Car Insurance
It's never been easier to buy car insurance, even if it's your first
time. You can choose to buy car insurance online, over the phone,
a combination of all three methods. Regardless of your preference, it's helpful to shop around for the
best price possible. Insurance companies use different factors to
determine your rate, so you may find a better deal if you do your
From an Insurer's Agent or Website
Most car insurance companies are easily accessible by phone or through
their website. You don't need to search for an insurance broker to
help you choose an insurance company. While a bit impersonal, online
insurance shopping gives you plenty of time to make an informed
decision and compare clearly laid out insurance policy options.
Buying car insurance online directly from an insurer's website gives
you the freedom to customize your insurance package and removes the
pressure of dealing with an insurance agent. You're also able to
seamlessly look through their insurance coverage options as well as
those of competitors'.
Different Types of Car Insurance
Car insurance coverage varies depending on the specific coverage you
choose. Knowing the different types of car insurances can help you
choose the exact one you need and avoid the ones you don't. Learn
about the different
types of auto insurance coverage
available and choose the coverage you need.
Some of the different coverages and add-ons include:
- Collision Insurance
- Liability Insurance
- Uninsured or Underinsured Insurance
- Comprehensive Insurance
- Personal Injury Protection Insurance
- Medical Payment Coverage
- Miscellaneous (Rental and Roadside Insurance)
State Minimum Coverage Requirements
Car insurance seems like an inevitable and continuous cost everyone
has to pay, but some states offer alternatives to insurance coverage
and others don't even require insurance at all. Currently, New
Hampshire and Virginia are the only two states that don't require its
residents to buy car insurance, but drivers are still liable for the
cost of damages they cause in an accident.
Most states do require you to have car insurance,
though each state has different requirements on how much liability
insurance you should carry. Most state requirements require maximum
liability coverage of $25,000 to $50,000. In extreme cases, the
minimum state requirements won't cover your losses, which is a great
reason to get more coverage than your state requires.
information on state-specific required coverage can be found
Getting the Right Amount of Coverage for Your Car
If you've never bought car insurance before, it can seem daunting
trying to figure out exactly how much coverage you need. Essentially,
you must assess your risk of getting in an accident or other forms of a total loss. Here are a few practical ways to
figure out how much car insurance coverage you need.
How Much You Drive
Drivers that drive more than the average miles will have to pay more
just because they have a higher risk of getting in an accident.
Whether you have a long commute, or you drive for your job, you may
pay higher premiums than normal. If you drive sparingly, expect to pay
less for insurance.
Financing or Leasing
Financing and leasing means that either the dealership or financial
institution is holding an interest in your car that must be paid off.
When leasing or financing, it may be a smart move to purchase gap
insurance while you owe more on the vehicle than it's worth.
Where Do You Drive/Park?
Where you drive, live, and park affect your insurance premium. Driving
in urban areas makes drivers vulnerable to theft, accidents, and
vandalism, which require a higher premium. Additionally, where you
park your car affects your rate. Your insurance provider may change
your rate depending on if you park your car in a garage or on the side
of the road.
Why Do You Drive?
The reason for your driving habits can affect your insurance rate. If
you drive for work, your mileage could significantly affect the type
of coverage you choose. If you drive for business, you'll need to buy
commercial auto insurance, whether or not you own the car.
Who Else Is Driving?
Before buying your auto insurance, it's important to know who else
will be driving your vehicle. You may need to add family members in
your household or anyone else who will be regularly driving your
vehicle to your insurance policy.
What Documents Do You Need to Get a Quote?
Now that you have a better idea of what type of insurance coverage
you're looking for, you can fill out an application to receive car
insurance quotes. You can do this online, over the phone, or in
person. Here are a few pieces of information that you'll need to keep
handy in order to receive an accurate car insurance quote.
- Date of Birth of all drivers
- Vehicle storage location address
- Driver's License information for all drivers
- Driving records of all drivers
- Vehicle Identification Numbers of all vehicles to be insured
- Insurance history of all drivers
Choosing Your Car Insurance
Depending on how you choose to get car insurance quotes, it may take
you some time to decide on which insurance company to choose. Quotes
can take some time while your insurance agent checks your information
and driving history. After you get your quotes, double-check your
deductible and premium rate. Here are a few other things you should do
before deciding on a car insurance carrier.
Check Ratings and Reviews
In a world where every service and product has a review, it can be
helpful to check on customer reviews and ratings to ensure your
company provides excellent customer service. While reviews aren't the
only factor you should consider, they can provide real-world examples
of how insurance companies deal with customers.
Check for Complaints at the National Association of Insurance
Search the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' (NAIC)
website to see if your insurance company has any outstanding
complaints against them. You can filter complaints by coverage,
reasons, and final decisions regarding complaints.
Cancel Old Policy After New Coverage Starts
While you can cancel your insurance at any time, you should make sure
you don't incur any cancellation fees. More importantly, you should
cancel your old car insurance policy after your new coverage kicks
in. You don't want to be left without coverage, even for just a few
Car Insurance Discounts
Car insurance discounts can end up saving you a considerable amount on
your premium. Discounts depend on a variety of factors. Car insurance
companies won't let you know if you qualify for a discount, so
it's up to you to ask if your company can offer you a
on insurance. Here are a few factors that can save you money when you
buy car insurance.
Clean Driving Record
A clean driving record can help save you money on your premium. Some
insurance companies will offer new or long-time clean drivers a
discount or accident forgiveness perks, which prevent your premiums
from going up after an accident.
Safety and Security Features
Safety and security features in your car can save you money on your
car insurance, as well. For example, front and rear airbags will
reduce your bodily injury and car insurance. Other safety features
include security alarms, anti-lock brakes, daytime running lights, and
automatic seat belts.
Bundling your home and auto insurance
can give you a discount on your insurance, if you buy them from the
same carrier. If you choose to insure more than your car and home, you
may also get deeper discounts. Before you consider bundling your
shop around for the best quote.
After comparing quotes and choosing your car insurance, you can make a
more informed decision on what type of coverage you need. If you still
have questions about how to buy car insurance, feel free to contact a
car insurance representative to learn more about your options. Don't
hesitate to contact an Acceptance Insurance agent to get the lowest
quote possible for your vehicle, so you can have peace of mind.