Tips to find affordable insurance that meets your needs
Safety on the road requires more than just air bags and seatbelts. Help protect yourself financially with automobile insurance. Here's an introduction to the different coverages auto insurance typically provides, and tips on how to get the best value for your money.
Liability to Others
- Bodily injury liability coverage typically provides coverage for claims filed by occupants of other vehicles, pedestrians, or passengers in your vehicle if you are legally liable for an accident. It's required by most states, but the minimal requirements - usually $15,000 - may not be sufficient to cover the medical expenses or other damages resulting from bodily injuries. If the other party's damages exceed your policy limits, this could put your personal assets at risk.
- Property damage liability coverage typically covers the damage to another person's property for which you are legally liable, up to the policy limit you select. State minimums can be as low as $15,000, but consider getting at least $50,000 in case you damage a more expensive car or other property.
Damage to Your Automobile
- Collision coverage typically covers the cost to repair or replace your vehicle. This type of auto insurance coverage is generally required if you apply for a loan to purchase a new car.
- Comprehensive coverage typically covers the cost for repairs or replacement of your vehicle or windshield if damaged by fire, water, hail, vandalism, or other events. It will also typically cover you if your car or its contents are stolen.
- Medical payment coverage typically covers necessary medical expenses if you or your passengers are injured in an accident, regardless of who is at fault.
- Uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist coverage typically covers your medical care, lost wages, and other covered expenses if you're in an accident caused by someone without insurance or with insufficient insurance.
- PIP coverage (Personal Injury Protection) is only available in some states and in some states it is mandatory . This coverage varies by state and may pay, within specified dollar and time limits, medical expenses, lost wages, and funeral expenses for both you and your passengers.
Each state has specific requirements for automobile insurance coverage and policy limits. Make sure you select policy limits that meet these requirements and protect the value of your personal assets.
Your actual policy may differ from the descriptions above. Please read your policy carefully and talk to your insurance agent about what coverages your policy actually provides.
Finding affordable auto insurance
- Shop around: For any type of vehicle and level of coverage, rates can vary greatly. To find the best rate for you, be sure to get insurance quotes from several providers.
- Factor premiums into your next automobile purchase: The sticker price of a specific car, the cost of repairs, its safety rating, and how likely it is to be stolen all affect the cost of insurance.
- Look for rewards and discounts: Generally, major auto insurance providers will offer valuable "multi-car" discounts. Some insurance companies will give you a discount if you buy both your auto and your homeowner's (or renter's) insurance from them. Also, check to determine whether you qualify for special offers as a customer, organization member or employee.
- Consider a higher deductible: Your deductible is the amount of money you have to pay out of pocket before the insurance company will pay your claim. The higher the deductible you choose, the lower your premiums. For example, raising your collision deductible from $250 to $1,000 can cut that portion of your premiums by almost fifty percent - and provide you with more affordable auto insurance coverage.
Use online quote services to compare the cost of different types of policies and coverage levels. Researching your automobile insurance options could help you save money and help ensure you're fully protected.
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