Americans’ love affair with the car is more than a century old and still going strong. Who doesn’t get excited about all the options you can choose from when purchasing a set of wheels? But when it comes to the insurance that protects their car, drivers are usually less enthusiastic. (After all, insurance isn’t nearly as glitzy as a shiny new coupe.)
But the decisions consumers make about their auto coverage are just as important as the car itself. So while you probably know that coverage is usually required, you might be unsure about what type or how much you need.
These tips can help prevent you from getting lost trying to find a policy that fits your driving habits.
Check Your State’s Requirements
Where you live plays an important role in what type of auto coverage you have. Car insurance requirements vary from state to state, but one thing is consistent: If you own your car outright (a.k.a. you paid cash for it or have already paid off your auto loan), you’re only required to meet your state’s minimum insurance requirements. (Although you still might want to consider higher coverage for a variety of reasons.)
Check Your Lender’s Requirements
If you’ve financed your car, be prepared for your lender to require you to also have comprehensive coverage and collision coverage — and that’s on top of your state’s minimum requirements.
Consider Your Driving Record
Do you have a stellar driving record? Or have you experienced a few bumps, bruises, or tickets along the way? (No judgement – it happens.) Those of us who have gained some “experience” on our driving record may want to consider opting for more coverage, not less. Yes, even if your lender isn’t requiring it.
Watch Your Risk Appetite
You should also take into consideration how comfortable you feel with assuming risk. If you cause an accident and don’t have adequate coverage, you could be financially responsible for someone’s medical bills or property damage.
To protect yourself and your assets, the auto website Edmunds.com recommends purchasing a 50/100/25 insurance policy. That means your coverage consists of $50,000 bodily injury liability (for a single person injured), $100,000 for everyone injured, and $25,000 in property damage liability.
Shop Around for the Best Deal
Car insurance companies each have their own formulas for determining your rate that take numerous factors into consideration, including your credit history, your age, driving record, the likelihood of getting into an accident or the vehicle being stolen, the model insured, and more. Because of this, no two insurers will quote you the same price—so be sure to shop around for the best deal.
Keep Resale Value in Mind
If your car has seen better days or is creeping up in years, it’s likely that its resale value is going down. If that’s the situation, think about raising your out-of-pocket deductibles for comprehensive and collision coverage. Or consider revisiting your policy altogether to make sure you aren’t paying more for the policy than the resale value of the car itself.
The confusing world of car insurance can cause people to stop in their tracks. But with these helpful tips, you don’t need to lose your way. Instead, use these road signs as your guide and go find a car insurance policy that’s right for you.