Every driver has to have car insurance and no one likes paying more to insurance companies than they must, especially when you can find cheap quotes online. Drivers can find good quality, yet cheap car insurance if they take a few minutes to compare rates and premiums from different carriers. Online comparisons offer consumers the ability to get multiple quotes from companies to review policies, coverage options, and deductibles. By evaluating policies side by side, consumers are certain to find the provider most willing to offer them the best coverage at the cheapest rates. Below, savvy shoppers will find the important factors to keep in mind when shopping around.
Liability Car Insurance
If an insured driver is at fault for an accident, liability covers claims and damages to the other car(s) and injuries to passengers, up to the limits of the auto policy minus your deductible. Your insurer also provides legal counsel to defend the insured driver if a lawsuit is filed. When drivers compare premiums to the cost of defending a lawsuit and paying damages, repairs, and medical bills out-of-pocket, they will see that liability insurance and premiums are really a bargain compared to the liability you may have if you are at-fault in a car accident. Even if a driver is not at fault for an accident, he or she may be named in a lawsuit and need an attorney to defend the claim.
Every state except Florida requires that drivers carry liability insurance, although each state maintains different mandatory minimum limits. Although Florida does not require liability protection, drivers should purchase liability coverage for their own protection. When drivers compare costs, they will find there can be a substantial difference in the cost of liability car insurance between companies – some specialize in providing liability options and therefore offer the cheapest rates, while others are more geared towards servicing high risk drivers and purposefully give you higher premiums to keep you away. Frankly, it all comes down to each provider’s statistical analysis of your risk of filing a claim for them to payout.
Collision insurance is not mandated by law, but it may be required as a condition of an auto loan from a bank, lender, or financing company. Collision protection pays for damages to your car caused in an accident. This type of insurance usually has a deductible, which is the amount that the insured driver must pay for repairs before the carrier makes any payment on your claim.
When drivers compare rates, they may want to consider a deductible of $1,000 instead of the more common $500 deductible since the rates are lower. This is especially effective for vehicles that are old and have a cash value less than $3,000 to $5,000. What you save in premiums can be used towards a new automobile should yours be totalled in an accident.
Comprehensive car insurance covers damages to the insured vehicle that were not caused in an auto accident. Comprehensive coverage includes damage by flood, hail, fire or arson, and natural disasters. Like collision, comprehensive has a deductible, and may be required as a condition of a car loan from a bank or lender. When drivers get auto quotes for collision and comprehensive insurance, they will usually find collision has higher premiums. However, if you compare rates for comprehensive coverage in different areas, urban drivers usually pay the highest rates.
When To Buy Collision and Comprehensive
Since collision and comprehensive can be expensive, only drivers who need the full car insurance coverage should buy them. As a rule, anyone with a car loan should have these types since they help cover the cost of the loan if the car is damaged beyond repair (totaled) before you finish full repayment of your auto loan. It also makes sense to carry full car coverage on cars with a high book value, since replacing a totalled car may not be affordable for some families.
If a driver has an older car with a lower value, he or she should compare premiums with and without these coverages before deciding whether to buy full protection. If the driver really wants the full package, he/she should buy them with high deductibles.
Any driver with a car loan should carry GAP insurance. Since cars depreciate rapidly and you may be repaying an auto loan for up to five years, drivers sometimes owe more on their loan than the car’s book value. GAP pays for the difference between the amount of the loan and the book value of the car (the maximum amount collision or comprehensive pays). Basically, whatever your car insurance company will not payout in a claim through collision or comprehensive coverage, your GAP will cover. Drivers will find that GAP insurance is very affordable and useful, and insures that drivers will not be making payments on cars they can no longer drive.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage
Some states require that drivers carry uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, also known as UIM, protects the insured driver and passengers if they are injured as a result of an uninsured driver’s negligence. In most states, uninsured motorist coverage also provides extra liability protection when an at-fault driver does not have enough liability insurance to pay the costs of the claims (repairs, medical bills, property damage, etc) arising from an accident.
Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Coverage
Even though liability insurance is mandatory in most states, there are still drivers who do not have any. UM property damage coverage pays for damages to the insured car caused by an uninsured driver. While collision coverage has a $500 deductible, the deductible for uninsured motorist property damage is only $100. The cost of UM is much more affordable and a claim for UM property damage does not increase rates since the insured driver cannot be at fault.
Complimentary Roadside Assistance
Roadside assistance covers towing and the cost of roadside labor for breakdowns or flat tires that occur during travel. A number of companies offer roadside assistance to their customers at no cost. When drivers get free quotes online, the cost of roadside assistance should be considered if not all of the companies offer the coverage for free. A free service offered through your provider can easily save you a AAA membership.
Upgrades like roadside assistance coverage can raise the value of a policy when drivers compare premiums of different insurers, though we encourage consumers to use a competitor’s pricing when negotiating. If one car insurance company offers complimentary roadside assistance, try to get your current carrier to throw in the coverage for free.
In addition to allowing drivers to compare car insurance quotes between companies, online shopping comparisons encourage drivers to compare the costs of different types of policies and coverages. By adding and subtracting different options, drivers can decide between liability, comprehensive, collision, GAP and other add-ons. This allows drivers to customize their own policy to the get best coverage for the cheapest price.