Do I need car insurance?

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Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Apr 13, 2017

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Here's what you need to know...
  • There are three main types of auto insurance available to motorists
  • Every state has required insurance limits, but the limits may vary
  • Compare insurance rates online before purchasing a policy

We all know that car insurance is important for all drivers on the road. In fact, in most locations, the law requires that drivers have at least a certain amount of liability insurance.

Many motorists are left wondering how much insurance they actually need to get. To answer this question, let’s look at the three major types of car insurance which are:

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What is liability coverage and how much do I need?


Liability coverage will pay either for material damages to another person’s vehicle, other public or private property as well as injuries caused to other people should you be involved in an accident that you were at fault.

The actual minimums will vary depending on which state you live in.

In certain states, the minimum amounts are quite low, sometimes as low as a few thousand dollars. However, it is recommended that you get an insurance policy that gives you at least one million dollars in liability coverage.

While it would be highly unusual to cause that much property damage in an auto accident, a person who was injured by your vehicle could sue you for damages.

Do I need collision or comprehensive coverage?


If you can not afford to lose the total value of your vehicle, you need collision or comprehensive coverage. Also, if you take out a loan your lender will require that you carry both collision and comprehensive coverage.

You should also be aware that collision coverage will only pay for damage caused to your vehicle if it is involved in a collision.

Comprehensive coverage will protect your vehicle from incidents such as:

  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Fire
  • Natural disasters

Remember that there are thousands of cars that are stolen and never recovered each year. Auto theft is not something that only happens in high-crime areas. Cars have been stolen from any location.

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What deductible amount should I use?

A deductible is an amount that the vehicle owner pays out of before the insurance covers the remaining costs for an insurable event.

For example, if you back your car into a wall and cause $4000 of damage and your deductible is $1000, you would pay the first $1000 by yourself and your insurance company will cover the remaining $3000.

The deductible that you select will have a direct impact on your insurance rates.

The lower your deductible, the less you will have to pay should something happen; however, your monthly premiums will also be higher.

Make sure that you choose an affordable deductible amount should something happen to your car.

How can I make sure I am getting the best price?

The auto insurance industry is a highly competitive one and there are a lot of insurance companies which are competing for your business.

The internet has made it easy to instantly get auto insurance quotes. You can compare prices between different insurers and then pick one that provides the type of coverage that you need at prices that you can afford.

To start comparing car insurance quotes, simply use the free tool found on this site now!

Free Car Insurance Comparison

Compare quotes from the top car insurance companies and save!

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