If you wanna drive you’ve gotta have car insurance. It’s right up there with taxes on that list of payments we shell out because not doing it is, well illegal, but it’s also likely to end in disaster. So we do the best we can to keep the out-of-pocket as low as possible. Some corners are worth cutting, but there are others that maybe we shouldn’t. Here are just a few things to think about if you’re shopping for car insurance. And you should be. Seriously. Shop around.
Liability and Collision
One of the first things to look at in car insurance is liability coverage. This is the one that applies to the stuff we do to other people or their cars. And this is not an area to be stingy. See, if you total a car or worse, hurt someone, in an accident the costs could be pretty high. It’s important to look at your total liability and the coverage per person. It may cost a little extra, but taking a higher deducible getting the highest possible coverage in this area will bring you the most comfort in a bad situation. If you take the minimum you run the risk of paying for the costs that exceed your coverage. When you consider that accident injuries can costs hundreds of thousands of dollars if they are severe, do you want your insurance policy maxing at a $100,000? Yeah. Me neither.
Collision is the side of insurance that helps repair for damages to your car. Choose the highest deductible you think you can afford to save a little money and if you have an older car, consider dropping it altogether. If it’s going to cost almost as much to replace the car as you would get from the insurance company, instead of paying collision premiums, bank that money for a new car.
Once you get past the major stuff, liability and collision and so forth, you may want to think about a few miscellaneous benefits. A common one is car rental. In the event of an accident, you’ll still need to get around. Car repairs can take a while leaving you without transportation indefinitely. And if the car is totaled you don’t want to be rushed into finding your next one. In either case, you may already be facing additional expenses as a result of your accident and the last thing you want is to deal with high rental fees on top of that. When the time comes, you’ll be grateful you have a policy that covers the rental for you. You may be able to get towing and labor coverage as well, but this may also be worth cutting if you have AAA, OnStar or other roadside assistance. Are any of these considerations as important as Liability? No, definitely not. But when you get a quote, it’s worth finding out if these are included.
Before you sign up with any insurance company, there are a few “little things” to think about. A dedicated representative is one of them. Having one person or a couple of people that you deal with exclusively can be a great relief in the event of an accident. If you file a claim and wind up talking to a dozen different people having to repeat details and information it can be a hassle. Having someone familiar help you maneuver the complexities of car insurance will be a relief in a time of crisis.
Signing up with an insurance company that can offer you the opportunity for future deductions and savings is also a good idea. Many companies offer opportunities to lower your premiums over time by proving yourself a safe driver, taking classes or long-time customer discounts. If you don’t have a house now, you may someday and getting your house coverage at the same agency as your auto insurance can qualify you for discounts. The same is true of multiple vehicles, rental insurance, life insurance or coverage for valuable items. When you cover multiple entities through the same company you can often save quite a bit. So when you look at an insurance quote, will it always be that number? Or does the company also offer incentives that can lower your payments in the future? This may be a deciding factor in who you choose as your provider.
Medical, Loss of Income and Uninsured Drivers
Insurance can also be used to protect you in the event of an accident. Three different kinds of extra coverage may help you if you get hurt or get into a scrape with an uninsured driver. Medical payments help you cover for medical bills and expenses. Loss of income coverage provides you with additional cash to help compensate for an inability to work as a result of an accident. Uninsured driver coverage will pay the costs of car repair if the other party does not have insurance that will cover it for you. However there are third party insurers like AFLAC also offer accident coverage for this kind of emergency. Just run the numbers; find out if grouping this coverage with your regular auto insurance policy may be cost effective.
Choosing car insurance is an important decision. While it may be tempting to go with the lowest quote you can find, it’s not always in your best interest. Consider the quality of your coverage and the risks in the worst case scenarios and figure out is it better to pay a little more every month or be up a creek in a disaster?
About the author. Platon writes for Guard Insure an agency featuring Massachusetts Car Insurance. Platon has written and blogged quite a bit over the last several years and has spent a number of years navigating the complex world of insurance.