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Although there are some types of optional car insurance, basic car insurance itself is not an option. If you drive a car, whether you own it or not, you need to be covered by a car insurance policy. Although it can be expensive if you don't take the time to shop around, you can compare car insurance quotes online to find out who has the most affordable coverage for the same type of benefits. Enter your zip code above to compare car insurance quotes online now!
There are several types of car insurance coverage that you can buy. Liability insurance is required by law in every state of the United States. No fault states will also require you to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. Comprehensive and collision insurance are both optional; although, some financial lending institutions may require it. Other common optional insurance products include medical, uninsured motorist coverage, and underinsured motorist coverage.
In addition to the typical car insurance coverage you can buy, there are many other options that can be added to your policy. These can include roadside assistance insurance, emergency towing insurance, and custom parts and equipment insurance.
The cost of your car insurance will vary depending on a host of factors, including the model of your car and where you live. You can also lower your car insurance premiums through various methods, such as security discounts and multi-policy savings.
Basic Car Insurance Needs
Since liability insurance is required by the state, this is the most basic coverage of car insurance you can obtain. Every state has a set minimum requirement that you have to buy for your policy limits. These limits are usually low and it is considered a good idea to buy higher coverage limits for your financial protection.
Liability insurance pays bodily injury and property damage benefits to people that are harmed in an accident due to your fault. Liability coverage provides no payout to the policy holder himself. In order to have coverage for your own person and property, you need medical, collision, and comprehensive insurance.
If you live in a no fault state, you will be required to carry PIP insurance. PIP insurance pays medical benefits directly to the policy holder regardless of who is at fault for an accident. If you do not live in a state where you have to buy PIP, then you may want to consider adding medical coverage to your insurance.
Medical coverage benefits get paid to the policy holder, so if you are injured in an accident you will receive financial assistance from your own insurance. If you have a good health insurance plan that covers emergency room visits then you may not need medical coverage.
If your car gets damaged in an accident and you are at fault, you will not receive an insurance benefit unless you have collision insurance. If your car is financed or leased then your financer or lessor may require you to carry collision insurance. You may also be required to carry comprehensive insurance.
Comprehensive insurance covers damage to your car that is not related to an accident. This is important coverage for unpredictable events such as hail damage, fire, theft, or vandalism. Comprehensive insurance and collision insurance are usually sold together as a package option. Most people opt for this coverage if they have a car with some street value still remaining.
Additional Car Insurance Considerations
Some people wonder why they should buy uninsured motorist coverage when state law requires everyone to at least carry liability insurance. The sad answer is that there are still people who break the law and drive without insurance. In the event your car is struck by an uninsured motorist, you will not be covered if you only have liability insurance.
If a person only buys the minimal insurance required by law, there is a good chance that it won't be enough to cover your damages if there is an accident. Underinsured motorist coverage is available to help bridge the gap between state minimum liability requirements and the actual cost of an accident that is caused by the underinsured driver.
A simple example of underinsured motorist coverage is if a driver has only $10,000 in property damage to meet state requirements and he totals your car in an accident, you will only receive up to $10,000 from his insurance payout. If your car's value is $20,000 and you don't have additional insurance to cover the difference, you are at a serious loss.
Some new cars come with roadside assistance and free towing, but if your car does not have that option and you are not a member of a roadside assistance club, then purchasing roadside assistance and towing insurance may be a good idea. It is usually inexpensive to add it on to your policy, especially in comparison to the cost of towing a car.
Specialty and custom cars usually need additional insurance to cover the car's unique amenities. If you have an antique car or a show car you may need special classic car insurance for that as well.
Saving Money on Car Insurance
Since there is no way around buying car insurance for your car, the next thing to do is to find ways to reduce the cost of your car insurance premium and find really cheap car insurance rates. Most car insurance companies will offer discounts for various reasons, so be sure to find out what money saving opportunities your car insurance company has to offer you.
When you compare car insurance, don't just compare the coverage limits and the premium costs without factoring in potential discounts. You can save money with vehicle security discounts, such as if your car comes equipped with an alarm system or Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) etched windows. You can also get a discount if you install security after market devices, such as a steering column lock.
Safety is another big concern for insurance companies, so you can save money if your car is equipped with air bags, ABS (Anti-lock Braking System), backup sensors, and on board safety cameras. Most safety devices cannot be installed after market, but some of them are common factory installs so they should qualify your car for an insurance discount.
You can save money by combining your car and homeowners insurance policies with the same insurance company. Most insurance companies will discount every policy so you can save money on all of your insurance needs this way.
Having a clean driving record, passing defensive driving classes, and maintaining good student grades all help to keep your car insurance costs lower. You may also be able to get rewarded for having a claims free account for a certain amount of time.
There are some cost factors that you cannot change, such as your age, where you live, where you work, and where you store your car. However, if you haven't bought your car yet, you can partially control the cost of your car insurance by finding out car insurance rates for certain makes and models of cars before you buy it.
Once you decide how much coverage you need, you can start to compare car insurance quotes. It is important to review the same kind of coverage limits so that you know you are getting an accurate rate comparison. Factor in potential discounts if you can so that you know who is truly offering you the lowest premium. Finally, make sure the car insurance company you choose has a trustworthy reputation and that they have an easy claims handling process should you ever need to use your car insurance benefits.
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