State Laws- A good starting point is to know the minimum insurance cover you must have in accordance with your state laws. Car Insurance is mandatory in most US states and each has different requirements for the basic minimum coverage you need to carry in order to take your car on the road. Depending on your state law, you must devise an insurance plan that meets the basic requirements as well as covers other risks, which you may preempt, depending on the model of your car, your driving record, distance traveled, number of people using your car, etc; also take into account your other fellow drivers and what kind of coverages they usually carry. Every place has a different trend and it’s always good to be in the know so that you have an idea about the general claim figures doing the rounds. For example, the minimum state regulated requirements for Texas auto insurance cover $25,000 for bodily injury and property damage each, going up to $50,000 towards an accident. However, be prepared when you buy just this coverage you have only ensured that you are protected incase you are found at fault in an accident and the other driver claims from your car insurance. This gives you a rough idea about the liability amounts you should be purchasing. Always buy adequate coverage over and above the minimum liability to protect yourself too when you buy car insurance.
Know the present value of your car- The other important factor is to know the present value of your car. Your car insurance quotes would vary depending on the model of your car. For example, a Mitsubishi Lancer is going to be costlier in terms of repairs than the Honda Pilot. Similarly, there are cars which are charged higher premiums when it comes to safety features, theft, injury, repairs and collision claims. The simple equation here is; the safer (read lower risk) your car is, the more affordable will be your car insurance.
Some coverages you shouldn’t ignore – Additionally coverages like Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist, Comprehensive, Collision, and PIP should all be considered depending upon the age of your car and your specific requirements. Ideally it makes no sense to keep collision coverage once your car crosses 8 years. Similarly comprehensive coverage should be dropped once it’s over 10 years old. The logic is simple. Any claim you make from your insurance company at this stage will not be a very significant amount once factors like depreciation and deductibles are counted in. However if you feel you might not be able to bear out of pocket expenses to replace/ repair your damaged car, stick with these coverages. PIP is mandatory in some sates but is advisable to keep on your policy if even if it’s not in your state regulation list. The same goes for Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverages. These really come in handy if you get involved in a hit and run accident.
Check the reputation of the insurance company- Make sure you do a background check of the financial reputation of the company that you wish to get insured with; know their complaint index; read some testimonials about them. The last thing you want to do is go with a company that promises affordable car insurance, but finds every reason in the book to shortchange you on your claim.
Consider Additional benefits- Some companies offer plenty of other benefits in place of discounts that actually make for affordable car insurance. Benefits like lifetime car repair guarantee, 24/7 insurance claim hotline, waiver of the deductible for a “Not at Fault” Accident, first accident forgiveness, etc all actually save you more money in the long run.
Remember – It’s never a good idea to over or under insure your car because you end up losing money in the long term in both cases. In a nutshell, buy a car insurance policy that not only meets all your requirements but also offers an edge in terms of customer care. Tailor it to get affordable car insurance that is the best value for money policy for your dollars.
Bethany Collins is a Work at Home Mother (WAHM) who lives with her husband and two kids. She loves to read and surf the internet looking for new money saving tips, recipes, etc. In her spare time she writes on personal finance [home, life and car insurance, budgeting, and other investment options] and grows organic vegetables in her small vegetable garden.