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What to Look for When Choosing Car Insurance

Did you know that more than 89% of US adults have a driver’s license? If you fall into this category, you may be Googling “car insurance places near me.”

Are you about to buy a new vehicle? Or did your current provider just raise your rates again? If you want to make sure you get an affordable policy that covers all of your bases, you’re in the right place.

Picking insurance coverages can seem overwhelming at first. However, once you understand what the coverages can do for you, you’ll be able to set up the perfect policy.

We’ve created this short guide all about car insurance policies to make things easier for you. We’ll go over the different coverages, limits, and discount opportunities that you should know about.

What exactly should you look for in your new car insurance policy? Read on to find out.

Car Insurance Places You Trust

When looking for “car insurance places near me,” keep an eye out for carriers who’ve been around a while. Well-established insurance carriers will have access to premium coverages and special discount opportunities.

You can start by searching for the different car insurance companies that serve your area. Take some time to read online reviews. What type of things are their clients saying about them? Do they have any type of online presence with social media?

Feel free to explore the different social media platforms to get an idea of how the insurance company interacts with its clients. If you’re able to find helpful content about common car insurance questions, you’ll know you’re with a company that cares. Well-established insurance providers are going to consistently post content that helps their drivers stay on track.

You can use these cybersecurity tips to evaluate the company’s website. If the insurance provider’s website seems outdated or doesn’t have any type of online presence, it’s not a provider you should move forward with.

If you want to save time, you can always go to an insurance broker instead of going to each company individually. Insurance brokers have the unique advantage of being able to shop your policy around with multiple carriers.

If you choose a reputable broker, they’ll only do business with reputable carriers. It’s like going to a one-stop-shop for all of your car insurance needs.

Special Discount Opportunities for Insurance Premiums

Let’s face it; sometimes, insurance premiums can be difficult to manage. If you’re afraid that your rates are going to be too high, then you should look for companies that provide special discount opportunities. For instance, do you have a great driving record?

If you’re somebody who doesn’t get speeding tickets, then you could qualify for a safe driver discount. You can also look for companies that provide discounts based on your lifestyle situation.

For instance, are you a homeowner? Car insurance companies often offer significant savings if you bundle your policies together. Not only will you save money, but it’s also convenient to have a home, health, and car insurance policy in one spot.

If you belong to any special organizations or clubs, these could also help you qualify for discounts. Different insurance carriers coordinate with different organizations. For instance, some insurance providers offer discounts if you help with the humane society.

Alternatively, there are some insurance carriers to provide discounts just for volunteering in any way. Take a moment to write down all of the clubs and organizations you belong to explore all of your discount opportunities. You can also lower premiums by adjusting your coverage limits.

Navigating Liability Limits for Car Insurance Coverage

After finding an insurance provider you trust, that can also offer you discounts; it’s time to narrow down your coverage options. One of the first coverages you’ll need to pay attention to is liability coverage.

Liability coverages take care of bodily injury and property damage. Whenever you hear an insurance provider talking about liability, you’ll know that they’re talking about the coverages that pay for the other driver. Instead of being held liable for the bill, your insurance provider will help with restitution.

For instance, bodily injury liability will pay for the other driver’s injuries if you cause an accident. Property damage liability is what’s going to pay for the other driver’s car if you’re the “at-fault” if you’re found at fault in an accident. Should you accidentally crash into a stationary object, the property damage can also help pay for that.

Your state is going to have minimum liability requirements. However, we suggest you increase your limits to a more reasonable amount. Typically carrying liability limits of 100,000/300,000/100,000 are a good start.

What do these numbers mean? The first number lets you know what will be paid out per person. The second number lets you know what will be paid out per accident. The final number lets you know what your property damage caps out at.

If you have a high-paying career or own a lot of assets, consider upping your coverage to the million-dollar mark. It might sound crazy to pay for a million dollars worth of liability coverage, but it’s incredibly affordable.

Liability coverages are probably the least expensive part of your car insurance policy. The expensive part will cover your vehicle.

Types of Car Insurance for Repairs

Is your car insurance policy going to pay for car repairs? Yes and no.

A car insurance policy will only pay for repairs if you’re involved in an accident. Your policy isn’t going to pay for routine repairs or maintenance.

The 2 coverages you’ll need to carry to protect your vehicle are comprehensive and collision coverage. When you hear people talking about having full coverage, they are carrying both vehicle coverages. It’s a good idea to carry both coverages since these are the only 2 coverages that you can use for vehicle repairs.

Collision coverage is exactly what it sounds like. If you collide with something and your vehicle is damaged, you can file a collision claim.

If someone else causes the accident, their property damage liability coverages will pay for your vehicle. However, your insurance provider will use your collision coverage in certain situations and then seek restitution. Uninsured motorist coverages can help too, but we’ll get to those in a moment.

Comprehensive coverage is what helps pay for repairs that aren’t collision-related. If an animal gets into your car and causes damage, you can file a comprehensive claim. Vandalism, theft, storm damage, and beyond; there’s a lot that comprehensive coverages can help.

Car Repair Coverage Limits

What type of coverage limits will you need to set for your collision and comprehensive? Unlike liability coverages, you don’t get to pick your comprehensive and collision coverage limits. The insurance company will only payout for the value of your vehicle.

If your car has $2,000 worth of damage, you could file a $2,000 claim. If an accident totals your car, you can file a claim for the total value of your vehicle. However, keep in mind that the value of your vehicle isn’t the same as the day you bought it.

Even if you’ve only had your car for a few months, it’s already depreciated. Your car insurance company will use a special valuation method to determine what your car is worth, so they can pay you the right amount.

Carriers pay the actual cash value of your car, not the sales price. If you’re worried that you won’t have enough coverage for a new vehicle, then you need to purchase gap insurance.

When to Get Gap Insurance

Are you leasing or making payments on a car? When you don’t fully own the vehicle, it’s good to purchase gap insurance. Gap insurance is an acronym that stands for guaranteed asset protection.

Insurance companies who offer gap insurance are willing to go above and beyond to satisfy their client’s needs. It’s a way of guaranteeing that you are financially safe, even if your car is total.

How exactly does gap insurance work? Let’s say that you still owe $10,000 on your vehicle. However, you’ve had the car for a while, and it’s depreciated in value.

If you were in an accident and your car was totaled, gap insurance could help you make up the difference. Gap insurance is a completely optional coverage that can help you pay off your auto loan if your car is stolen or totaled.

Your gap insurance will even things out when you owe more than the vehicle’s depreciated value. If you don’t have a car loan or a lease, you don’t need to get gap insurance.

If you need gap insurance, look for an insurance provider that you can get directly from. You can also ask your auto dealer if they offer coverage.

Personal Injury Protection Plans

So far, we’ve been discussing the different coverages that protect your car and liability needs. But what about medical coverages? Do you have to purchase those as well?

Depending on the state you live in, you might be required to get personal injury protection insurance. Often times car insurance companies will refer to personal injury protection insurance as PIP.

PIP is a type of coverage that helps pay for your medical bills while also covering the medical bills of anyone in your vehicle. Typically, PIP coverages have relatively low payout amounts.

Some providers will cap out at a $10,000 PIP coverage limit. There are special providers that offer $20,000 PIP plans, but you’ll have to do a little bit of searching around.

Your personal injury protection plan can apply in a few different ways. If you live in a no-fault state, then you can use the coverages even if you cause the accident.

For instance, let’s say that you live in a no-fault state and have a $10,000 PIP plan. If you’re involved in an accident, you’ll have up to $10,000 to pay for your medical bills no matter who’s at fault.

However, you don’t have to use all of the money on medical bills. You can also use your PIP coverages as an income replacement or to help with household chores.

If your injuries prevent you from mowing your lawn, hire someone to cut it. Then you can file a PIP claim and use it to pay the landscaper.

Supplemental Medical Coverages

Are PIP coverages enough on their own? Not quite.

Even if you don’t have serious injuries, spending $10,000 at the hospital is easy. A mere three days’ stay at the hospital can cost over $30,000.

Since your PIP coverage might not be enough on its own, we suggest paying for supplemental medical payments as well. Supplemental medical payments are going to vary from one insurance provider to the next.

Some insurance carriers will offer supplemental medical payments that reach up to $2,000. Higher-end insurance providers will be willing to cover you up to $10,000 or more on supplemental medical payments.

Remember earlier how we mentioned that liability coverages are the least expensive? Well, medical payments are the opposite.

Adding $2,000 worth of medical coverage to your policy can raise your premium by quite a bit. You might notice a jump of $50 a month or more. However, having those coverages waiting for you gives you a lot of financial security.

If you’re involved in a serious accident, you’ll have thousands of dollars there waiting to cover your doctor’s bills. The passengers in your vehicle can also tap into your PIP coverage and supplemental medical payments.

Why Uninsured Motorist Coverages Matters

The next time you’re at a red light, look around. There’s a good chance one of the drivers next to you doesn’t have insurance.

Over 12% of drivers in the United States don’t carry any insurance. Even if a driver has coverage, they might not be carrying the right type of liability limits.

Sadly, tons of uninsured drivers hit the road every day. If one of these uninsured drivers causes you to get into an accident, you could be in major financial trouble.

When the other driver doesn’t have enough coverage, you’re left to pay the bill on your own. 

Thankfully, uninsured motorist coverages can help take care of medical bills and car damage. The setup for uninsured motorist coverage is a lot like liability coverage. The coverage limits will even be laid out in the same way.

We suggest having your uninsured motorist limits match your bodily injury liability limits. For instance, if you’re carrying 50,000/100,000/20,000 in bodily injury coverages, mimic those coverage amounts for your uninsured motorist.

You’ll have $50,000 of coverage for each person in your vehicle and up to $100,000 for the accident. You also have $20,000 of property damage coverage to repair your vehicle. Considering the average cost of a used car is close to $30,000, carrying high limits makes sense.

Stack Your UM Coverages

Do you have a lot of cars in your household? Then you should consider stacking your uninsured motors coverages. When you stack the coverages, you multiply the amount of protection you have.

All of the vehicle’s uninsured motorist coverages will join together to give you one giant pool of finances to dip into. For instance, let’s say that you carried uninsured motorist coverage limits of 50,000/100,000/20,000.

If you had two cars in your household and stacked the coverages, you would have double the limit. Now you would have 100,000/200,000/40,000. Considering how expensive medical bills can be, having a $200,000 accident payout can tremendously helpful.

Who to List on Your Policy

Who do you need to list on your car insurance policy? Anyone who lives in your household with a license, and doesn’t have a policy, needs to be on yours.

Even if the individual isn’t driving your car regularly, you still legally have to include them on your policy. Insurance providers feel that if a licensed driver lives under a roof, there’s a chance that they’ll eventually have access to your car.

Let’s say, for instance, that you have a roommate who has a license. Your roommate uses public transportation and doesn’t have a car of their own.

Since they don’t have a car, your roommate doesn’t carry any type of car insurance. You need to list your roommate as a driver on your insurance policy in this situation.

If you don’t list a licensed driver on your policy, and they later cause an accident, you might not have anything to protect yourself. Insurance companies are very strict about listing licensed drivers on your policy. The rule becomes even more important when those drivers are family members.

If you have a child in your house who has a license, they need to be on your insurance policy. It doesn’t matter if you don’t let your kid use your car; you still have to list them on the policy.

As far as the named insureds go, those individuals have the power to make policy changes. You’ll want to list yourself as a named insured and anyone else on the vehicle registration.

Getting Coverage for Young Drivers

Let’s say there’s a young driver in your house, but you don’t want to list them on your policy. What should you do? You’ll want to help that young driver find a policy of their own.

A lot of parents put off the process of helping their kids find insurance because they are afraid of what the rates will look like. Thankfully, there are many things you can do to help keep rates low for young drivers.

For starters, the type of vehicle the young driver uses matters a lot. Vehicles that have safety features often qualify for special discounts.

Having an alarm system will also go a long way toward lowering your premium. Insurance companies will enjoy knowing that your car has a natural theft deterrent.

However, you can also install an aftermarket alarm to qualify for discounts. Here are some of the best aftermarket options available today.

If the young driver in your household is getting ready to buy a new car, take advantage of the opportunity. Get the VIN from each new car they’re considering, and start the quoting process outright.

Provide insurance agents with the VIN so they can give you precise quotes. The type of quotes that take into account all of the vehicle’s safety features.

Rental Reimbursement and Roadside Assistance

Did you know that insurance policies can also offer rental reimbursement and roadside assistance? The roadside assistance plans can be incredibly valuable, and they usually only cost a couple of dollars extra each month.

Roadside plans can include lockout assistance, gas refills, and flat tire changes. Make sure you understand the details of what your roadside assistance plan includes before you agree to a policy. You’ll also want to look into adding rental reimbursement to your car insurance policy.

Rental reimbursement will help pay for a substitute vehicle if your car is damaged in an accident. Keep in mind that rental reimbursement isn’t going to apply when your car is in the shop for routine maintenance. If you take your car in for an oil change, you won’t qualify for a rental car filing an insurance claim.

However, if you have to file a comprehensive or collision claim and your car is unusable, you can rely on your rental coverage. Rental reimbursement will have different coverage limits.

Typically setting a limit of $900 works best. Usually, by the time you exhaust the $900 rental car limit, your car will be ready for you to use again.

Car Insurance Places Near Me

Now when you’re searching for “car insurance places near me,” you’ll know what to look for. Here at the Insurance Files, we love helping drivers get access to the best insurance providers around. Instead of hopping from one company to the next, let us take care of everything for you.

Our one-stop-shop approach can help you with your car insurance, home insurance, life insurance, and more! That means you can take advantage of all the bundle discount opportunities out there. Reach out to one of our licensed brokers for your free quotes today.