Your quote is based on several common factors to give you a clear picture of the cost you can expect, though an independent agent can shop around and maybe even improve your rate!
NOTE: This quote is not final, though we did work with professional actuaries to help get you a ballpark figure to get started.
Car insurance isn’t always required by law, but nearly every state requires some minimum protection before you hit the road, which is typically liability insurance. That liability coverage is designed to protect anyone or anything from damage or injuries inflicted in an accident. Some states, however, even require additional coverage, including collision and comprehensive protection.
No matter which state you call home, though, it's important to have some sort of coverage to help cover damage and injuries and get you back to normal as fast as possible after an accident.
Simply put, because every time you get into a vehicle you take a risk. You may be an incredible driver, but you're not the only one on the road—auto insurance helps provide a safety net when drivers make mistakes.
If you're at fault, you're typically liable for damage to the other person’s vehicle as well as the medical and legal costs of injured victims PLUS the repairs to your own.
If you're not at fault, and the other driver doesn't have adequate insurance, you'll have to pay for all damage to your own car PLUS any medical bills if you're badly injured.
It's hard to offer an exact figure without knowing all the details of your vehicle and driving history, but car insurance premiums typically fall between $1,200 and $1,650 annually. Keep in mind, if you drive a high-performance hot rod or have an accident or two under your belt, you can expect that number to increase sharply. The good news is, if you've got a good driving record, you're getting good grades, or you're a part of some affinity group, you could get a nice discount to help lower your rates.
With access to multiple insurance companies, independent insurance agents are unlike any other type of agent out there. They’ll help find you the best coverage options and most competitive prices, all for free. To find a local independent insurance agent, click here.
As you can imagine, the higher the deductible, the lower your premiums. But it’s important to think of your budget both now and later. In terms of now, you want to make sure your premiums fit comfortably into your current planned budget. And as for later, think of what you would be able to pay if the unexpected happened and you had to pay all that amount before your deductible. Is $500 right for you? $1,000? Your agent can help you find the best option for your situation.
If your car is stolen, there are a few things that need to happen for you to be compensated for your loss and get you back on the road. First, you'll need to file a police report and wait while there is an attempt to recover the stolen vehicle. If your car isn't recovered—and you have comprehensive coverage—you can file a claim with your insurance company. After a bit of paperwork, your insurance will compensate you for the value of the vehicle up to the limit of your comprehensive coverage.
Find the perfect agent to shop multiple insurance companies on your behalf, saving you time and money.
Despite the freedom that comes with owning a car, there's a lot of responsibility that comes along with it too. Of course everyone thinks they're a safe driver, but accidents still happen even when everyone's doing their part. That’s why having the right car insurance is so important. Even more important is understanding all the ins and outs of your coverage to help protect you best whenever you should need it.
What Is Car Insurance?
To put it simply, your car insurance is meant to help repair, replace, or compensate anyone or anything involved in a car accident. Damage. Injuries. Legal Fees. Those numbers add up fast in a car accident, and insurance is designed to help keep you afloat and get back to life as easily as possible.
Why Do I Need Car Insurance?
First of all, you need it because it's required in nearly every state before you can hit the road. The two states that don’t require it, Virginia and New Hampshire, have laws that essentiallymake it a must-have, though technically it’s not mandatory.
For example, Virginia requires you to pay $500 a year to legally go without car insurance, while New Hampshire requires proof that you have the financial assets to pay for any damage you would cause, equivalent to other state’s minimum liability coverage.
Second, it's way too costly NOT to have car insurance. Serious accidents, injuries, and deaths happen every day. Without car insurance, you could be responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of injury expenses.
And third, because car insurance also helps protect your financial investment in your vehicle. Financed or not, if your vehicle is totaled, you're out the entire investment. With car insurance, you'll get most—if not all—of that money back to replace your vehicle and get back on the road again.
What Does Car Insurance Cover?
Your independent agent can help give you a clear, personalized picture of the coverage you need specifically for your car based on your unique situation. However, your policy will generally come with three main types of coverages.
The "big three" of car insurance coverage
Liability: This is typically broken down into three key limits: bodily injury per person, bodily injury per accident, and property damage. The liability limits that you choose—say $100,000/$300,000/$50,000 respectively—are basically the max the insurer will pay.
Collision: This covers your own vehicle if it’s damaged in an accident. If the accident is ruled the other person’s fault, theirinsurance would pay for your damage. But if you cause the accident, or if you live in a no-fault car insurance state, your collision coverage will pay for the damage to your own vehicle.
Comprehensive: Also known as Other Than Collision, this covers your own vehicle for almost any other type of damage it could receive, like: theft, fire, hail damage, falling objects, windshield damage, and nearly anything that’s not wear and tear.
Additional car insurance considerations
Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM): Required in some states, this is meant to cover your own injuries and property damage if the at-fault person either has no insurance, or not enough to fully cover your injury expenses.
Medical payments: This is paid out to you and anyone in your vehicle if you suffer injuries in an accident. This is considered no-fault insurance, so it doesn’t matter who caused the accident or how—if you got hurt in your car, you’re eligible.
GAP coverage: Because cars depreciate so quickly (especially immediately after purchase) and insurers only pay current market value, GAP coverage can help pay the difference between purchase price and your remaining loan balance.
Rental car costs: If your car is being fixed after an accident, this coverage will pay for you to rent a car, up to a certain limit.
Roadside assistance: If you become stranded on the road, your insurance company will help provide assistance for free.
Towing expense: Different from roadside assistance, this will only reimburse you for towing expenses after the fact, not provide the service.
Situations Car Insurance Typically Does NOT Cover
It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with your car insurance as much as possible. After all, the more you know about your coverage, the easier it is to avoid the hassle of filing sure-to-be-denied claims.
Car insurance does NOT cover the following
Certain natural disasters (i.e., floods, earthquakes, and mudslides)
Wear and tear damage (i.e., poor upkeep)
Damage as a result of hitting an animal in the road (in many cases)
Commercial use of vehicle
Some vehicle modifications and add-ons
Who Is Included on My Car Insurance Policy?
When requesting car insurance, you’ll want to include any vehicle that is titled and could be driven. Car insurance primarily follows the car and not the driver. So if you're pulled over, the police officer is generally looking to see if the vehicle is insured, not if the driver is on the policy.
You can let anybody drive your vehicle and they will be covered under your policy. But insurance companies still want you to list anyone who has regular access to your vehicle as a driver.
WARNING: If you knowingly omit a driver, like your teenage driver who just got their license, you could be risking having your claim denied by the insurance company.
How Much Does Car Insurance Cost?
The average cost of car insurance in the US is around $1,300 a year, or about $110 a month. Some states like Michigan and California are known to have higher car insurance rates, whereas South Dakota and Missouri have much lower rates. Your local independent agent will be able to help you understand rates in your area best, but there are a number of factors that go into the process of identifying your rates.
Biggest car insurance rate factors
Age: Drivers under the age of 25 typically pay higher rates, mainly because that age group gets into the largest number of accidents.
Location: City drivers pay more than rural drivers due to the increased likelihood of having a claim (traffic jams, thefts, stop-and-go driving).
Gender: Female drivers have lower rates than male drivers due to statistically better driving records.
Driving history: If you’re a safe driver, you’ll have fairly low rates for your vehicle type and location.
Type of vehicle: The more expensive the vehicle, the more it will cost to insure because the insurance company will have to pay more money to replace it.
Current insurance: If you don’t have prior insurance or have a long lapse in coverage, your options will be more limited and you’ll likely pay higher rates.
Credit score: Most states use your credit score as a rating factor, with better credit scores leading to lower rates.
The Best Ways to Save on Car Insurance
Car insurance discounts are pretty common, with a number of ways to help you save through certain key behaviors. Each company offers slightly different discount options, but a few of the more common options include the following.
Multi-policy: You can typically knock off 10% to 20% when you bundle your car insurance with a homeowners or renters policy.
Multi-vehicle: If you have multiple vehicles on your policy, you’ll likely receive this discount, making each household vehicle slightly less expensive to insure than separate.
Vehicle safety features: Most new vehicles have advanced safety features, like passive or active restraints and blind spot monitoring. The better the safety features, the lower the risk and rates.
Safe driving record: A safe driving record over the last three to five years is a big indicator you’re likely very cautious, insurers like that.
Good student discount: Younger drivers can have a dramatic impact on your rates. To help offset this, your child could receive a good student discount if they earned at least a B average last semester.
Defensive driving course: If you don't qualify for a safe driving discount, you can enroll and complete an approved online defensive driving course and receive a discount.
Telematics: Offered by some insurers, this tracks your driving over a period of time and gives you a discount based on your habits and performance.
There are usually many more discounts available, such as paying for your policy in full, enrolling in automatic payments, quoting well ahead of time, going paperless, etc. Be sure to talk with an independent insurance agent to find out which discounts you qualify for.
Your Independent Insurance Agent Has Your Answers
Whatever you need, your agent has your back. With a brief intro into the terms, discounts, and process of your car insurance, you know the kinds of questions to be asking. Your agent will ask you all about your car, its use and your goals and help find the perfect blend of coverage at the right cost for you.
Best Auto Insurance Companies
Our independent insurance agents work for you, not the insurance companies. That means you always get the best coverage options to choose from.
When you have options from multiple companies, it's easier to find the best coverage at the right price, at no extra cost to you.
There's an independent agent in every city who always understands the insurance coverage you need most based on local laws and needs that apply to you.
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