Auto insurance is critical to ensuring you can recover after an unexpected event. Shopping for the right auto insurance can be tough, so we’ve evaluated the top providers based on their insurance rates, financial strength, customer service, and overall quality.
How does auto insurance work?
Auto insurance covers your sedan, SUV, truck, or another type of car to help you to afford reparations following an unexpected event with your car. There are different auto insurance plans available to choose from that differ in what they specifically cover when it comes to auto issues.
Here are some of the most common auto insurance options typically available:
- Liability coverage: If you cause an accident, liability coverage insurance covers the cost of repairs and medical bills for any third parties affected by the accident.
- Collision coverage: This insurance covers your own car, truck or SUV’s repairs or replacements if you get into an accident.
- Personal injury protection coverage: Whether you’ve caused the accident or not, if you get into one, this type of coverage will cover your car repairs, as well as the other persons’ repairs and medical bills.
- Uninsured motorist protection: If an uninsured driver causes an accident, this type of coverage will help you with the cost of repairs on your vehicle.
- Comprehensive coverage: This insurance coverage helps to pay repairs or replacements if your car, SUV or truck is stolen, vandalized, or otherwise damaged by events that don’t include accidents.
Some insurance providers also offer plans that will cover roadside assistance, replacement or repair for customized parts of your vehicle, and more types of coverage. Be sure to look into what your policy provider has to offer to see what might be worthwhile for you.
What does auto insurance cover and not cover?
Various auto insurance plans and policies cover a wide variety of events that may affect your vehicle.
Most often, auto insurance covers:
- Vehicle repair: If your car, SUV or truck is damaged in the event of an accident, fallen object or other event, your auto insurance will cover the costs associated with repairing your vehicle up to a certain amount.
- Vehicle replacement: If the cost of repairing your vehicle exceeds the vehicle’s current market cost, your insurance plan will cover the costs associated with replacing your vehicle.
- Medical bills: Your plan may differ in coverage depending on whether you caused an accident, however, many plans will cover the costs of medical bills for the person affected if you cause a motor accident.
Auto insurance covers a range of events, however, it does not cover some things related to your vehicle. If your car, SUV, or truck needs certain repairs unrelated to an accident or vandalism, you will be expected to pay these costs out of pocket. Issues with your vehicle related to negligence or routine servicing of your vehicle will not be covered by your auto insurance plan.
How are auto insurance premiums determined?
You can expect your auto insurance to differ significantly depending on a range of factors. Some of the things that contribute most to the overall cost of your auto insurance include:
- Vehicle type: In many cases, it is cheaper to insure a car as opposed to an SUV or truck. However, the make and model of your vehicle will contribute largely to the cost of your auto insurance.
- Driving record: Drivers who have been in more accidents in recent years are more likely to pay a higher amount for auto insurance on average.
- Vehicle usage: If you drive your vehicle more than the average driver, you can expect to pay more in auto insurance coverage due to the heightened risk associated.
- Vehicle’s safety capabilities: Some vehicles are made with safety in mind, and as a result are typically less money overall to insure.
Auto insurance costs are also affected by the specific details of your plan. If you opt for more overall coverage, you can expect to pay more monthly. Additionally, your choice in coverage amount and deductible will contribute to your auto insurance costs as well.
When to get auto insurance?
All states require you to have some form of auto insurance if you are a car owner. The minimum amount of auto insurance coverage required ranges from state to state, but most often states require drivers to have auto insurance that covers personal injury damages up to a certain limit.
If you are a new driver and have recently purchased a vehicle, you will need to get auto insurance before you drive it on the road. Otherwise, you can get in legal trouble – in addition to paying a ton of money out of pocket – in the event you get into an accident.
How to choose the best auto insurance policy?
Auto insurance providers differ in what they have to offer for their unique plans. As you are deciding on the best plan for you, keep these things top of mind:
- Consider your type of vehicle: Some vehicles, like SUVs or trucks, are often more expensive to cover than others. Additionally, some types of vehicles are more likely to experience certain issues; for example, more valuable cars are susceptible to break-ins. Ensure your insurance coverage prepares you for the issues you are more likely to face with your specific vehicle.
- Compare plan prices and coverage: Some auto insurance plans may be better for SUVs, while others might be a better comprehensive coverage option for cars. Additionally, some plans may seem like a good deal, but may not cover many of the incidents you may need coverage for. Compare and contrast available plans within your budget to determine which is the best deal specifically for you.
- Consider your unique needs: Certain auto insurance plans are a better fit for new drivers as opposed to seasoned drivers. There are also plans that may be a better deal for drivers that have been in an accident recently, as opposed to drivers that have a clean driving record. Consider your driving history and characteristics to find a plan that best suits your current situation.