No matter what kind of vehicle you own, car insurance is a must-have. Even if you live in a state where it isn’t legally required by law (Virginia and New Hampshire), it’s never a good idea to go without it.
Accidents are called that for a reason and you never know when you’ll find yourself in one. Car insurance also protects you from the financial damages incurred by natural disasters and non-accident-related incidents, such as theft. So, whether you’re toting your family around in a minivan or looking to invest in an electric car, here are a few things you should know about finding the right insurance policy
- What’s Required In Your State?
While most states have similar requirements for auto insurance, it’s still a good idea to understand the laws of your state. Information is readily available on the internet but an agent will be better able to help you tailor your needs.
For example, depending on if your car is new or used, there will be a difference in coverage required. Liability might be enough or you might need full coverage. What about an excess medical payment add-on? There are many “extra” insurance safety nets so make sure you start with what’s going to keep you out of trouble should you end up in a fender-bender.
- What Impacts Your Rate?
Do you have a pristine driving record, or are you a speed racer? Got a teenager about to become licensed? What kind of car do you have?
Insurance companies are more than happy to take your money, but you need to know how everything impacts your final rate. Everything on your driving record, speeding tickets, accident history, etc., will impact how much you pay for insurance. Premiums also fluctuate based on where you live and the type of car you’re driving, so keep that in mind, too.
One more thing, pricing is constantly changing so it doesn’t hurt to have your policy reviewed every so often to see if you can get a cheaper rate with your current company.
- What Are Your Options?
There’s only one way to find that out and it’s to shop around. There’s no shortage of online car insurance comparison tools at your disposal, so take advantage of them and request a few quotes.
While getting quotes, be sure to take advantage of discounts. Things like being a safe driver, having a ton of safety features in your vehicle, and bundling services will save you money on your monthly premiums. Keep in mind some companies will match quotes, too. So if you find a great quote but the company doesn’t serve your area, don’t be afraid to take that information to someone who does.
- How Will You Know Which Policy Is Right?
Once you’ve learned the requirements, impacts, and options that meet your needs, you’ll be ready to make a selection. Almost every company offers the same services, and each policy is unique to the driver, but not all companies offer the same customer service experience.
Did you talk with an online agent? How did the agent make you feel? What about customer feedback and reviews? Do their current customers have good things to say? All of these things should weigh into your final decision.
Other Things To Consider
While it isn’t completely related to finding car insurance, insurance rates are directly impacted by how safe your vehicle is. If you’re a first time car buyer, using your new car to haul around precious cargo, your children, you’ll want a few key features in any vehicle you own. These features will decrease your insurance rate and increase its resale value while keeping your family as safe as possible. It’s a win-win
- Airbags, Airbags, and More Airbags
Airbags are tied with seatbelts as the most important life-saving safety feature a vehicle can have. Don’t just settle for the standard front airbags when it comes to your family. You’ll want a vehicle with side-impact and curtain airbags, too.
- Electronic Stability Control
ESC is credited with increasing your chances of surviving a fatal accident by 49%! It’s a fancy system that allows your vehicle to make maneuvers on your behalf. If you hit a patch of black ice or need to make a sharp correction to avoid a collision, this feature will basically take the wheel for you. It’s the next best thing to Jesus.
- Crash Test Dummies…I mean ratings
Since keeping your kiddos safe is a top priority, you’re going to want a vehicle that feels the same. Anything less than “good” according to the IIHS (that’s fancy code for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) isn’t going to cut it.
There you have it. The Ins and Outs of selecting car insurance and a plug for safety. Because that ranks right up there with saving money on the priority ladder, am I right?