When you are looking to purchase auto insurance for the first time it can be extremely helpful to have an auto insurance guide.
Step 1: Determine what and how much coverage you require.
Laws governing how much and what type of auto insurance vary from state to state. It is your responsibility to find that data on your state to ensure you have at least the minimum amount of coverage. However, you’ll find that most auto insurance guides will recommend you carry more than the minimum if you’re able.
All states, except New Hampshire and Wisconsin, require vehicle owners to carry liability insurance. Liability insurance covers the other person. This usually includes covering medical, lost wages, and property damage. Liability insurance does not cover the policy holder.
Some states also require motorists to carry insurance for uninsured/underinsured drivers. This is because there are increasing numbers of people who are driving without any coverage at all.
You may need or want to consider comprehensive and collision coverage.
Comprehensive coverage takes care of damage caused by things like natural disasters, weather, and theft. If your car is vandalized, comprehensive insurance would cover the costs of replacing stolen items and repairing any damage. Collision covers the policy holder in the event of an accident.
Step 2: Research your own driving history.
You need to know how many tickets, accidents, or other auto insurance claims you have made for at least the past 10 years. Any reliable auto insurance guide should remind you of this fact.
The amount of money you’ll pay for your insurance will be greatly influenced by these factors. As time passes, we tend to forget negative details like speeding tickets. You should check with your state’s DMV (department of motor vehicles) to make sure you have accurate records to present to the insurance company.
Step 3: Compare insurance quotes
No good insurance guide would allow you to skip this particular step. It is in your best interest to obtain quotes from a few insurance companies. You can do this through online insurance quote sites, or you can contact the companies directly. A combination of both online and actually making phone calls is highly recommended.
Online comparison sites will provide you with fast, free quotes, but these sites are only providing you with flat rates. These sites do not factor in any discounts you might be eligible for. To determine discounts, you’ll need to actually speak with an insurance agent.
Some things you should be looking for when selecting an auto insurance company are:
Is there a contact number for questions you can’t find answers to online?
What are the annual versus monthly rates for coverage?
When are your payments due, and what will happen if you’re late one month?
How many complaints have been filed with the state against the insurance company? (You can look at J.D. Power and Associates’ customer satisfaction surveys.)
What is the company’s business rating? (Look at Standard & Poor’s and A.M. Best’s ratings.)
What discounts do you qualify for?
Is there an actual agent in your town or are you going through a call center somewhere else?
Step 4: Purchase your auto insurance.
Once you have gone through all of the steps listed in this auto insurance guide, you should have the information you need to make an intelligent decision regarding auto insurance.
Purchasing auto insurance can be a bit time-consuming. However, not taking the time to do the homework could result in you wasting your money on coverage you don’t really need.