How to Find the Right Auto Insurance
There are countless stories swirling around the Web detailing horrifying encounters with car insurance companies. Heart-wrenching tales of injury and loss followed by insensitive insurers who refuse to pay out make any car buyer nervous about the whole ordeal.
However, owning an insurance plan is essential to safely and lawfully driving a car. By following a few simple steps, car buyers can feel confident in selecting the appropriate insurance plan for them and their vehicles.
Step 1: Find the Right Car
Not all cars are insured equally. The same bias that makes young drivers expensive to insure — stereotypes about carelessness and speed — tends to apply to drivers of sporty cars. Insurers rightly assume that drivers who prefer fast cars with loud engines are more likely to get into collisions. Similarly, expensive luxury models are more likely to fetch higher premiums for basically the same reasons.
Conversely, there are certain cars that attract safer drivers, and insurers tend to reward those car buyers with lower insurance rates. Statistically, these cars are among the least costly to ensure:
- Jeep Compass
- Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo
- Honda CR-V LX
- Jeep Wrangler
- Chrysler Town and Country
- Dodge Journey SE
Ideally, car buyers will be able to find dealers of these makes and models within close proximity to find the vehicle with the best fit; they may even be on the same lot, like at a Dodge dealership in Everett, Washington.
Step 2: Decide How Much Coverage Is Right for You
Before looking into different plans offered by various insurance companies, car owners should investigate the auto insurance laws of their states. Required liability coverage varies from state to state; for example, in Alabama, the state requires drivers to have at least $25,000 of bodily injury liability for one person, $50,000 bodily injury for all people in a collision, and $25,000 property damage liability, but Arizona only requires $15,000 single person bodily injury, $30,000 all people bodily injury, and $10,000 property damage. There is a simple breakdown of each state’s laws here, but know that laws may have changed since that article was published in 2013.
Sometimes, the bare minimum required by state won’t be enough to protect a driver and all of his or her assets. Consider an individual who complies with Arizona’s $30,000 bodily injury requirement but hits someone worth over $150,000: In a collision, the other driver may have medical bills of $100,000, and his or her attorneys can seek the $70,000 disparity from the first individual’s pockets. Thus, insurance experts advocate that wealthy drivers purchase enough insurance to cover everything they own.
Step 3: Understand Your Driving Record
Points on a driving record add up fast, and nothing inflates the cost of insurance like a weighty record. Multiple moving violations in particular serve as signals to insurers that the individual is a reckless driver who is more likely to have collisions. Any type of moving violation, an infraction that occurs when a car is not parked, can cause insurance rates to go up, including:
- Failure to yield right-of-way
- Failure to drive in a single lane
- Failure to stop at a stop light or sign
- Improper use of the carpool lane
- Operation of a vehicle without proper licensure
- Improper disposal of waste from a moving vehicle
- Failure to obey speed limits
Before receiving quotes from insurance companies, drivers should ask the state for a copy of their records to make certain what violations are still applicable. Citing points that don’t appear on one’s record is asking for high premiums that aren’t warranted.
Step 4: Gather Various Quotes
This is where the real work starts. Drivers should compile a list of companies that can provide appropriate coverage for them and their vehicles. In the digital age, most insurers have free quote generators available online for drivers to use at their convenience; however, drivers will need to have vital pieces of information handy, including:
- Drivers’ license number
- Vehicle registration number
- Vehicle make and model
- Vehicle license plate number
- Social security number
- History of insurance
Each quote should take about 15 minutes to generate. Drivers should keep diligent notes, making sure to write down rates for comparable coverage plans in order to make sense of the information. It is also wise to keep a running list of companies’ customer service phone numbers as well as payment policies — i.e. when payments are due, what penalties exist, etc.
After locating a manageable handful of likely candidates, drivers should do research into the past performance of their chosen companies. This is when the scathing reviews of unhelpful service become valuable rather than confusing.
Step 5: Enjoy Your Insurance
Eventually, drivers will narrow their list down to a prime option. Then, they can drive healthily and happily to and fro with the knowledge that they are fully insured.