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UPDATED: Jun 20, 2017
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Although it sounds expensive, there are some ways to keep your car insurance premiums affordable. How much coverage you choose to buy depends on a variety of factors, but it is usually best to purchase as much coverage as you can afford.
Start with the bare minimums and increase your coverage as you are able. You can always reduce your premiums with discounts and other saving options. To get the best rates it is imperative to shop around and compare quotes with various car insurance companies.
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Choosing Basic Car Insurance Coverage for Affordability
The state you live in will dictate your bare minimum car insurance requirements. Typically, you will be required to carry a specific amount of liability and possibly Personal Injury Protection (PIP).
PIP is usually required in no-fault states whereas liability is usually the only requirement in tort states where fault is typically established in an accident. Some states are known as choice states.
To find out what your minimum liability requirements are you can check with your insurance agent, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), or the state’s Insurance Commissioner.
Basic car insurance of minimum liability and/or PIP is the least amount of money you can spend on car insurance. However, this also gives you the least amount of coverage and financial protection.
In order to maximize your insurance benefits, you may need to consider additional car insurance coverage.
Do your rates stay stable if you don’t make claims?
Every time you submit a car insurance claim, there is the possibility that your insurance rates could go up, even if not immediately. This is why many motorists elect to pay for their own repairs out-of-pocket rather than to give their insurance agents a call.
If you are involved in a one-party accident and you have not been injured, you have the option of reporting the damage and paying for it yourself.
Keeping your car insurance premiums down may be of great importance, but safety should always be a priority. If you do get into an accident, make sure you’re prepared for how to proceed.
Any accident that involves more than one party needs to be immediately reported and a claim should be submitted. The longer that you wait to tell you auto insurance provider about the wreck, the more difficult it will become for you to be compensated.
Even if your car was not significantly damaged, the other party might need to be reimbursed for medical bills and car repair costs.
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Choosing Additional Car Insurance Coverage
After you have satisfied your basic minimum car insurance requirements you should consider what other coverage you may need.
The basic legal liability requirements may not be substantial enough to cover the costs of an accident for which you are at fault, so it is usually a good idea to increase the liability coverage.
If you do not have PIP you may also want to add medical insurance to your car insurance policy, especially if you do not have any health insurance that will cover emergency room trips or other medical needs resulting from a car accident.
Depending on the age and model of your car it may be beneficial to add comprehensive and/or collision coverage to your car insurance policy.
Comprehensive insurance will give you financial protection for a multitude of unforeseen events that can damage your car, such as the following:
- hail storms
It can also cover your car in the unfortunate event of loss from theft.
Collision insurance provides coverage for all accident-related damage to your vehicle regardless of who is at fault. This will help cover your costs if you are found at fault for an accident or if you are the victim of a hit and run.
Uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage are also options that can be added to your car insurance policy.
In the event you are struck by someone who is not insured or is carrying just the basic minimum and therefore is underinsured, this coverage will help make up the difference of loss resulting from the accident.
Beyond these optional policies, there are many more insurance choices to consider for purchase, including:
- car rental
- emergency breakdown
Reducing Car Insurance Premiums
Once you have your policy fine-tuned to provide the coverage you need, you can try to reduce your premiums through various discounts and savings options.
If you can afford to pay your premium in a lump sum every six months you may be able to save administrative fees that get added on by many insurance carriers for monthly billing statements.
For reduced premiums, most car insurance companies offer discounts for security and safety devices, as well as rewards for loyalty.
Vehicles that are equipped with security features usually qualify for a discount. The features include:
- VIN etchings
- anti-theft devices
The security features can be installed at the factory level or aftermarket. Discounts are also available for safety devices such as seat belt restraints and air bags. You may even qualify for a reduced premium if you take and pass a defensive driving course.
Many car insurance companies will reduce your premium when you maintain a good driving record and for don’t submit any claims in a certain time period.
Teenagers may qualify for a reduced rate based on good grades. If you have multiple vehicles on the same policy or if you can put your homeowner’s insurance on with the same company, you will be able to reduce your premium through multiple policy savings.
The more coverage you can afford the better benefits you will receive. To get the best rates, shop around with different insurance agents and compare the same coverage options to be sure you are getting accurate estimates.
Include discount factors for which you may be eligible as that will reduce your premium even further.
What should you do if your rates increase?
If you feel that your car insurance rates have been increased for no justifiable reason, you should immediately call your car insurance provider.
Not only will you receive a detailed explanation for the change in auto insurance rates, but you will receive helpful advice on what you can do to reduce your insurance costs.
By discussing your needs with your auto insurance agent, it will be easier to identify any potential discounts on which you are missing out.
When talking to your auto insurance agent doesn’t help, remember that you can buy a new policy from another company. A different car insurance provider might quote you a substantially lower rate, which will be locked in for the duration of the policy.
Switching car insurance companies has its advantages and drawbacks, so it is best to compare rates in multiple places before taking action.
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