Auto Insurance 101

Auto Insurance 101  

Car insurance agents are almost always paid based on the cost of the policy they sell you. So it’s wise to have a basic idea of the coverage you’ll need, and how to get that coverage at a good price. Just remember, if you’re involved in an accident, you could be subject to a lawsuit that might potentially cost you everything you own. So your goal is to find the balance between adequate coverage and overpaying.


Know what counts

Statistics. Auto Insurance premiums are based on data. Your age, years of driving experience, the neighborhood where you park overnight, the car’s make and model, whether or not you have antitheft devices installed. These variables factor into the price you'll pay for the particular level of coverage you choose.


Determine your needs

Your state mandates the minimum liability coverage you must maintain. But legal minimums might not provide adequate protection, like in New Hampshire – the only state that does not require auto insurance. Be sure your policy covers bodily injury liability per person and per accident, as well as property damage. And since there are uninsured drivers out there, it’s smart to include coverage for your own medical costs, in case one of those drivers involves you in an accident. If you’ve recently moved, look into the insurance requirements of your new state. The rules could be different, so you may need to change your insurance.


Get some leverage

Negotiating leverage gives you meaningful clout as you shop around for the best policy. Know what other providers are offering and ask for a better deal.


Check references

Once you’ve zeroed in on a provider, find out whether it's reliable. Contact your state's department of insurance and check the number of consumer complaints the company has received. Independent company ratings published by Weiss Ratings and J.D. Power and Associates can also be helpful.


Ask for discounts

Even when insurers advertise discounts, it’s up to you to ask for them. Here are a few you can request yourself:

  • Haven’t made a claim, been in an accident, or received a traffic ticket in three years? Ask for a good driving discount.
  • Sometimes young drivers can get discounts for keeping a B average or better in school.
  • If you’ve completed a driver's education or driver's safety course you may qualify for a lower premium.
  • If you’ve been with your insurer for several years, ask about a loyalty discount.

Auto Insurance

No matter how safe you are, you shouldn't leave your auto unprotected. Here’s help protecting your auto at money-saving rates!