“Shopping around” is a commonly known term across the insurance industry. As driving is risky, most states require some form of automobile insurance on all vehicles on the road. When comparing insurance coverage, insurance information broker Insurance Quotes recommends considering several important factors such as insurance company and type
The first factor that you want to consider should be what type of coverage you are getting for your money. Therefore, it is first important to understand and decide what type of coverage you need according to Eric Mains of AOL Auto. Another key part of deciding what coverage best fit your needs is to consider what policy limits you will need.
Most states have the same general coverage options but different rules may apply. For example, New Jersey requires Personal Injury Protection for every insurance policy and Michigan requires Broad Form Collision coverage. Overall, the following coverage options are available in most states:
Liability including property damage and bodily injury
This coverage is the standard coverage that most drivers are required to have. The minimum liability limits vary from state to state, but this coverage is meant to protect a driver who is found to be at fault for causing damage or injury to another person.
This coverage is a first party coverage. It can cover damage to your automobile regardless of fault of an accident. Collision coverage is often considered an optional coverage if you are the sole owner of the vehicle. Lienholders, however, may require you to hold this coverage on your vehicle to protect their investment should you or someone else wreck the vehicle. While you do pay a premium to have this cover, there is also a deductible associated with the coverage when a claim is filed. Some insurance companies may offer a lower deductible for no accidents or other benefits.
This coverage is also a first party coverage. Comprehensive coverage covers incidents that are considered “acts of God” such as hail storms or deer accidents. While you do pay a premium to have this cover, there is also typically a deductible associated with the coverage when a claim is filed.
Uninsured motorist property damage and uninsured motorist bodily injury
These are also first party coverage options. They cover damage to your vehicle and injuries to people in your vehicle should an accident occur where an uninsured party is at fault. This coverage essentially replaces the other party’s liability cover.
Rental coverage provides you a rental for a certain period of time while your vehicle is being repaired. Many policies offer different rental limits (i.e. $30/day, $40/day)
Personal injury protection or medical payment
These coverage options are first party coverages. They are available to take care of medical related costs incurred from an automobile accident. Each has varying limits and some states only offer one or the other.
Roadside Assistance is also offered on many insurance policies either on a reimbursement or a emergency call basis. When considering purchasing an insurance policy, consider if you have roadside assistance through other means such as your cell phone provider, credit card company, or AAA.
Once you understand what type of coverage you need or may want, it is also important to make sure you compare similar policies. In simple terms, you want to compare apples to apples or oranges to oranges, but not apples to oranges. A $65 policy with liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage at Company A should not be directly compared to a $50 liability coverage only policy at Company B. While it is okay to look at the cost of different coverage, the fact that $50 is lower than $65, in this scenario, should not be your sole decision maker as there are significant differences in coverage.
Reviewing the discounts offered by the insurance companies can also help you save money. Based on research and sample quotes from numerous insurance companies, some companies provide paperless, good student, or pay up front discounts. These are valuable savings to consider when shopping around for auto insurance.
Also, you will want to consider who will be on your insurance policy and be sure to enter the information when getting a quote. Teenagers can make a difference in your policy. Some companies offer discounts on policies with young drivers. At the same time, due to the inexperience of young drivers, they can also increase your insurance rates.
There are other special circumstances you will want to keep in mind as well. If you have added aftermarket accessories to your vehicle, please consult with the insurance company to see what their policy is on covering the accessories. Since many aftermarket items such as rims, wheels, extra exhaust, and tints do not increase the value of the vehicle, many insurance companies may cover a limited amount of or do not cover these accessories without the purchase of additional coverage.
If you already have homeowners, renters, or another insurance policy, you can check with your insurance company to see if they provide a multi-policy discount. Nationwide, Progressive, and Travelers Insurance all state on their websites that they provide multi-policy discounts.
Finally, consider the service that your insurance company will provide. If you are in an accident, you will want to insure that your company provides you quick and helpful service to lessen the inconvenience on your life.