A car is a lifeline - it helps us make it to work every day, gets us where we want to go, and keeps us safe on the road. For every time your car has kept you safe, you also need to protect it. Choosing the right auto insurance plan can be tricky. There are seemingly endless coverage options you can add to your plan to increase the amount of protection you get. So where do you turn?
There are a few things you can do to make navigating the auto insurance market easier on yourself. With some time and research, you can find the policy that works best for you and your family - with all of the protection you really need. Read on for some ways you can be sure to choose the right auto protection plan for you:
Know What's Required
It's true that every state requires car insurance to legally operate a vehicle. But, not every state is the same. Each one has different minimum coverages that need to be met in order to stay within the law. For example, some states like Florida, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Utah require drivers to have "no-fault" insurance. These no-fault policies cover any accident, regardless of which driver was at fault.
Even more, states can require specific add-ons, like enhanced liability or bodily-injury coverage. You'll be more prepared when shopping around for insurance if you know what you need. Because every state is different, sometimes the minimum coverage plan is not always the best.
Know What Needs Protecting
After you're aware of the insurance minimums your state requires, you need to decide how much, or how little, you want to protect. If you're single, you don't need to invest a lot of money in a plan that's designed to cover a family of drivers. If you do have a family, or at least one other person you want added to your plan, you need to make sure the coverage suits all of you.
Next, you need to decide how far you want to go with your coverage. As a rule, you should always insure, at the very least, the value of your assets. This is especially important if you drive a newer car. Insurance coverage like gap protection helps cover the price you paid for your new car, not just the depreciated value most plans pay out. If your car isn't worth much, you don't need the extra coverage. You don't need to pay for an expensive policy that won't end up paying out.
At the very least, you should have some type of liability coverage. In the event of an accident, the damage you cause is covered by your insurance company. Most simple liability coverages don't take care of any damage you sustain though. If you also want to be protected, it would be a good idea to go after collision or comprehensive coverage. Both of these higher-coverage plans protect your assets as well.
Know Where to Shop
The last thing you need to do is actually shop for an insurance plan. Each insurance company is different and has different policies. You won't get the exact same coverage or service from every company - that's why it's in your best interest to do you research. You don't want to settle for the first plan you're given. There could always be a more comprehensive plan out there for the same price, or maybe even cheaper.
You can choose from the larger national companies like Allstate Insurance and State Farm Insurance, or opt for a smaller local company. Each option has its benefits. There are usually plenty of independent insurance representatives in your town that can help find the best rates to meet your needs. They can represent the national brands, or even work with more regional companies to get you what you need.
Just because you need auto insurance doesn't mean you have to settle. There's always a way to increase your coverage while getting a good deal. You just need to do some research, spend some time learning about different coverage options, and even find a good agent to help!