I doubt anyone rejoices having to buy insurance, particularly when they could find better prices if they shop around.
Numerous car insurance companies battle for your insurance dollar, so it can be very hard to choose a company and get the definite lowest rate
Effectively comparing insurance coverage prices can take hours if you don’t know the best way to get rate quotes. You could waste a few hours talking about coverages with insurance agencies in your area, or you can stay home and use online quoting to get rates in a matter of minutes.
Most of the best insurance companies participate in a marketplace that allows shoppers to send in one quote, and each participating company then gives them pricing based on that information. This prevents consumers from doing quote requests to each company.
To participate in this free quote system, click to open in new window.
The only downside to using this type of system is you can’t choose the providers you will receive quotes from. If you would rather choose from a list of companies to compare rates, we have a listing of low cost insurance coverage companies in your area. View list of insurance companies.
How you compare quotes is your choice, just make darn sure you compare the exact same coverages for each price quote. If each company quotes unequal deductibles or liability limits it will be very difficult to make an equal comparison. Just slight variations in coverages could skew the results. Keep in mind that getting more free quotes provides better odds of finding better pricing.
When choosing coverage, there is no “perfect” insurance plan. Everyone’s situation is unique so your insurance needs to address that. Here are some questions about coverages that can aid in determining if your insurance needs would benefit from an agent’s advice.
If you can’t answer these questions but a few of them apply, you might consider talking to an insurance agent. To find lower rates from a local agent, take a second and complete this form or go to this page to view a list of companies.
Understanding the coverages of your policy aids in choosing the best coverages and the correct deductibles and limits. Car insurance terms can be confusing and even agents have difficulty translating policy wording. Below you’ll find the normal coverages available from car insurance companies.
Uninsured Motorist or Underinsured Motorist insurance
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist coverage protects you and your vehicle from other motorists when they either have no liability insurance or not enough. Covered losses include medical payments for you and your occupants and damage to your 2009 Volvo S40.
Because many people carry very low liability coverage limits, their limits can quickly be used up. This is the reason having UM/UIM coverage is very important. Usually these coverages are set the same as your liablity limits.
This pays for damage to your S40 from colliding with another vehicle or an object, but not an animal. A deductible applies and the rest of the damage will be paid by collision coverage.
Collision can pay for claims like sustaining damage from a pot hole, scraping a guard rail, hitting a mailbox, hitting a parking meter and colliding with a tree. This coverage can be expensive, so analyze the benefit of dropping coverage from vehicles that are 8 years or older. Drivers also have the option to bump up the deductible in order to get cheaper collision rates.
Comprehensive coverage (or Other than Collision)
Comprehensive insurance coverage will pay to fix damage that is not covered by collision coverage. A deductible will apply then your comprehensive coverage will pay.
Comprehensive can pay for claims like hitting a deer, falling objects and a tree branch falling on your vehicle. The maximum payout a car insurance company will pay at claim time is the ACV or actual cash value, so if the vehicle’s value is low it’s not worth carrying full coverage.
This will cover damage that occurs to people or other property in an accident. It protects you from legal claims by others, and doesn’t cover damage sustained by your vehicle in an accident.
Liability coverage has three limits: per person bodily injury, per accident bodily injury, and a property damage limit. You might see liability limits of 100/300/100 which means $100,000 bodily injury coverage, a total of $300,000 of bodily injury coverage per accident, and property damage coverage for $100,000. Occasionally you may see a combined single limit or CSL which limits claims to one amount with no separate limits for injury or property damage.
Liability can pay for claims such as repair bills for other people’s vehicles, bail bonds, legal defense fees, medical expenses and structural damage. How much coverage you buy is a personal decision, but buy as high a limit as you can afford.
Insurance for medical payments
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and medical payments coverage kick in for immediate expenses for hospital visits, X-ray expenses, pain medications, rehabilitation expenses and surgery. They are often used to cover expenses not covered by your health insurance program or if there is no health insurance coverage. Medical payments and PIP cover not only the driver but also the vehicle occupants as well as being hit by a car walking across the street. PIP is not available in all states but it provides additional coverages not offered by medical payments coverage