Whether you are purchasing car insurance for the first time or are considering whether you need to shop around for a better rate, it is best to have a basic understanding of the types of auto insurance coverages before you commit to a policy. Even if you are just starting to seek out car insurance quotes online, the information you get back is not really helpful without some context of how different coverage options work. These are some of the most important things to know.
- There are State Minimums for Liability Coverage
Every state in the U.S with the exception of New Hampshire requires some level of minimum auto insurance coverage to own a registered vehicle. Before you consider any additional coverage, you need to know exactly how much coverage you are required to have. You can face stiff penalties from your state if you fail to maintain at least the minimum auto insurance coverage amounts.
- There are Supplemental Coverages that You Should Consider
It is never a good idea to only carry the minimum amount of required auto insurance. In the event of an accident, this liability coverage will only coverage damage you cause to another car or person. In many cases, the minimum amount is not enough, and you will have to go out of your own pocket to cover the expenses.
- Your Payment History Matters
When receiving a quote for auto insurance, the insurance company will factor in whether you have ever had your insurance cancelled for non-payment. If so, you may be faced with paying a higher rate to have coverage again.
- Inquire About Discounts
It is always a good idea to directly ask your insurance agent about what discounts may apply to you. If you serve in the military or have a certain occupation, you could receive a lower rate. Also, if you are a student with a good academic record, you may also qualify for a discount. Your driving record will factor into the rates that could apply to you, so make sure you ask about safe driver discounts and if having a safety monitoring device installed in your car could get you a lower insurance rate.
- You Can Save Money By Combining Multiple Policies
If you have other types of insurance coverage, you may be able to get a discount by combining all your policies with one company. This works well for combining your auto insurance and homeowner’s or renter’s insurance with the same company. This also makes filing a claim much more convenient down the line because your insurance agent will be able to tell you all of your possible sources for coverage. Sometimes, your homeowner’s insurance policy will cover items that would not ordinarily be covered under your auto insurance policy.
- Do Your Research on the Insurance Company
It goes without saying that cost is important in choosing an insurance company. However, just because an insurance company offers you the lowest rate does not mean they are the best option for you. Do your homework on that company’s track record for customer service and their handling of claims. You do not want to find out the hard way that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
- You Have to Read Your Policy
Never rely solely on what the insurance agent tells you. Take the time to read your insurance policy so that you understand exactly how much coverage you have. Correct any mistakes before you sign it.