Buying car insurance is a pretty important thing to do. You need it for your own peace of mind, and you need it so that other people on the road are not at risk when they see you driving around. The key question here is how can I buy car insurance? There are many different options out there, but we’re going to focus on some of the most popular ways people choose to get their coverage these days. Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting started.
If you drive a car, you most likely have automobile insurance. In almost every state, drivers must have a specific level of insurance in order to operate; even if automobile insurance is not required by law in two states, drivers must be able to pay for any damage they cause, so having it is still vital.
Auto insurance exists for many reasons, but the three main ones are:
- Protect drivers’ finances.
- Ensure that you can get help if you are in an accident
- Compensate people who are in accidents
Car insurance can be complicated, whether you’re shopping for the first time or the hundredth. Whether you’re new to it or not, if you don’t know where to begin, you can follow these steps:
- Select how you want to get car insurance.
- Calculate how much insurance you’ll need for your vehicle.
- Fill out a quote application for auto insurance.
- Get your free quotes.
- Compare your auto insurance rates
- Pick an insurance company and get insured.
- If you have an old car insurance policy, cancel it.
Don’t worry, it may appear to be a lot of steps, but buying car insurance is actually quite simple and can probably be completed in an afternoon. Let’s look at what every stage of the process entails.
1. Select how you want to get car insurance
You can get auto insurance from an insurance provider either directly or through an independent insurance agency.
If you already have homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, it may make sense to get your new automobile insurance through the same provider. You’ll usually save money by combining several types of coverage.
If you want to add a new vehicle to your present coverage, that is generally simple. The only disadvantage is that you will not be able to comparison shop
You may obtain quotes from a number of insurance companies to save time, but this is a time-consuming operation (not to mention a lot of emails with each firm). You may accomplish the comparisons on your own in this manner, but going through the quotation process with each provider separately might take some time.
Purchasing automobile insurance through an independent insurance broker might help to reduce the time it takes. You can submit one application and receive many quotations, followed by the assistance of a broker.
A leading broker understands how variable-rate policies work and can help you choose the best coverage for your needs at a good price. Because insurance brokers work with several insurance carriers, they can ensure that you receive the finest coverage and the greatest bargain. A broker may be able to give you the same bundled savings as a carrier would.
2. Calculate how much insurance you’ll need for your vehicle.
Purchasing auto insurance is a difficult process, and one of the most challenging parts is determining how much coverage you’ll need. To begin, learn what’s included in an automobile policy. The following are elements of an auto policy:
- Liability coverage – If you cause an accident, damage property, or harm someone while driving your car, this coverage will pay for the expenses. In most states, liability insurance is required.
- Personal injury protection -If you or someone in your car is hurt in an accident, this insurance will pay for medical and rehabilitation costs. It also covers other associated charges, such as missed income.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage – Covers the expenses if you’re in a car accident caused by a driver who doesn’t have insurance or whose insurance won’t pay for the whole amount of the damage.
- Collision coverage – Regardless of who was to blame, this coverage protects you from damage to your car as a result of an accident.
- Comprehensive coverage – Covers any vehicle damage that may occur while it is not in use, such as weather-related damage, objects that have fallen, flooding, fire, crime and theft.
- Gap insurance – If your car is destroyed, this covers the difference between the vehicle’s actual cash value (ACV), which includes depreciation, and the amount you still owe on a loan or lease so that you are not forced to make payments on a car you no longer own.
Furthermore, there are alternative coverage choices, such as roadside assistance (which covers flat tire changes, jump-starts, and towing), or new car replacement insurance (which will pay for a replacement if your new automobile is totaled within one or two years of ownership).
Look up the car insurance standards in your state as well. But keep in mind that, generally, your state’s minimums are insufficient to adequately cover you in the event of a major accident.
Let’s assume you have $15,000 in property damage liability coverage mandated by your state and you cause an accident that causes $45,000 worth of harm. You’ll be responsible for the difference, leaving you on the hook for $30,000.
Consider things like how often you drive and where you live, whether your car may be stolen or damaged, and if you live in an area where severe weather might damage your vehicle when selecting coverage types and amounts.
3. Fill out a quote application for auto insurance
When you’re ready to apply for vehicle insurance, whether you go with an independent broker or do it yourself, you’ll need the following information on hand:
- All drivers in the family are identified.
- All drivers in the household’s birthdates
- All drivers’ licenses in the household must be recorded.
- All drivers in the household should have their Social Security numbers recorded.
- The VINs (Vehicle Information Numbers) of vehicles
- All insuree’s addresses
- Your most recent prior auto insurance policy’s declarations page
If you’re a full-time student, you’ll be asked whether you’ve had any accidents or infractions on your driving record. If your car has anti-theft technology, for example, it will most likely be tested and examined.
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4. Get your free quotes.
In general, you should expect to receive quotes quickly after submitting an application for insurance. Some insurers will provide you with several versions of a quote, usually the basic one with restricted coverage, the standard option with average coverage limits, and the third choice with exceptionally high coverage limitations. Keep in mind that dealing through a broker might take longer, but you’ll
Keep in mind that it’s usually a good idea to have high coverage levels for the particular coverage categories, but the higher your limits are, the more you’ll pay. If your quote includes some types of coverage that you don’t want or need, be sure to examine them carefully.
For your deductible, increasing it lowers rates since you’re agreeing to pay more out of pocket if you file a claim on your comprehensive or collision insurance.
5. Compare Your Auto Insurance Rates
You shouldn’t choose which car insurance company to go with just by the price. You should do research on the different companies and find out how good they are at handling claims. Some companies charge more but if they are better, it might be worth it. Make sure you also look at what type of coverage each company offers so you can get the coverage you need.
It’s just as essential to evaluate an insurance company’s track record and corporate reputation as it is to review the rates they’ve offered you. If there isn’t enough customer service with the most cost-effective automobile insurance coverage, it doesn’t mean anything.
How do you know if you are choosing the right company? There is a few ways to check:
- To discover whether a company is trustworthy, look up third-party evaluations on platforms like Trustpilot, Consumer Reports, or the Better Business Bureau.
- Look up the insurance companies on the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ site to see if there are any consumer complaints, legal or regulatory concerns about their licensing, or financial issues.
- Check out our extensive list of car insurance reviews for more information.
6. Pick a car insurance company and get insured
It’s time to put your insurance in force and get insured once you’ve compared your rates, researched your potential insurers, and chosen an auto insurance provider that you’re comfortable with.
Whether you’re obtaining quotations directly from an insurance provider or via a third-party independent insurance broker, you may enroll for the plan through either route and be certain of receiving the same price.
Both brokers and carriers may be able to provide you with special insurance rates through the same carrier, such as renters or homeowners insurance. If you’ve been working with an insurance broker, they could also be able to sign you up for coverage on your behalf.
7. Cancel Your Old Car Insurance Policy
If you’re switching from one auto insurance policy to another, wait until your new coverage is up and running before canceling your old one. You don’t want any holes in your coverage.
To do so, begin the day by setting the cancellation date of your previous policy and the effective date of your new one on the same day. Because insurance policies start and end at 12:01 a.m., you don’t have to worry about overlapping coverage.