Looking at auto insurance company quotes can be confusing, particularly if you do not understand car insurance well. In order to accurately evaluate insurance premium rate quotes, you need a foundational understanding of the different types of car insurance available and what impacts your auto insurance rates.
With this basic information at hand, you can then compare auto insurance options from several different companies before making a purchasing decision. Our FREE auto insurance comparison tool can help you compare several rate quotes available to you when you enter your ZIP code.
Concepts Behind Auto Insurance
Auto insurance has been an industry for almost as long as there has been an auto industry. The idea behind having insurance is that you pay premiums for a company to pay for damages that are the result of an accident. Auto insurance provides you with financial protection from potential bodily injury lawsuits that may place your personal and business assets in jeopardy. In exchange for an insurance company’s financial protection, they use the money you pay for premiums to make investments and grow their company and keep financial reserves in place to pay for claims made by policy holders.
Insurance companies evaluate potential policy holders based on the amount of risk the company takes on in terms of the likelihood of a customer making a claim and how much money it might potentially cost the insurance company.
Basically, the higher risk you represent statistically to an insurance company, the higher your premiums will be for a policy with them.
When you buy car insurance, it has coverage limits in place as part of the policy. Coverage limits are the maximum amount the insurance company will pay for damages for an accident. For example, liability insurance limits are described on your policy by a sequence of three numbers.
If you see the numbers 20/30/40 on your auto policy, it means that $20,000 is the maximum amount that will be paid per person injured in an accident for medical treatment. A maximum amount of $30,000 will be paid for combined medical treatment for the entire accident. A maximum amount of $40,000 will be paid for property damage.
Deductibles are the amount of money that you have to pay out-of-pocket for repairs if you make a claim. The higher your deductible amount, the lower your rates are, since the insurance company will have to pay less money for repairs.
Forms of Auto Insurance
There are several forms of auto insurance, each with a different purpose:
Liability car insurance is required coverage in 47 states. Liability insurance pays only for damages and injuries to the other driver and their passengers. It does not pay for damages to your car or for injuries you or your passengers receive. Since mandatory liability insurance limits are very low, it is recommended that you purchase additional insurance if at all possible.
If you do not have enough insurance to pay for all the damage that result from an accident you cause, you can be sued for the remaining balance of costs.
Collision auto insurance pays for damages to your car if you are involved in an accident. Collision covers anyone who is driving your car and includes damages for hit and run accidents, hitting buildings, guard rails and fences.
Comprehensive auto insurance pays for damages that are not related to collision accidents. It pays for damages that are the result of events such as fires, floods, hail storms or hitting an animal. It also pays for damages that are the result of vandalism or if your car is stolen.
Personal Injury Protection
Personal injury protection is mandatory additional auto insurance in 14 states. It pays for medical expenses, regardless of who caused the accident. It pays for medical treatments, hospital expenses and rehabilitation expenses. It also pays for legal costs and lost wages.
Underinsured and uninsured motorist auto insurance pays for damages and injuries if the other driver either does not have enough insurance or no insurance.
Gap insurance pays for the difference between your car loan or lease amount and the loss amount paid to you if your car is declared a total loss.
Evaluating an Insurance Quote
When you request a quote for car insurance, there are several things to consider. The first is the type of insurance being offered. You should get a detailed outline of precisely what is included in the insurance coverage. Also take into consideration what other benefits are included with a policy, such as roadside assistance or travel concierge services.
The next thing to evaluate is the insurance company. You can find out information regarding financial stability from rating companies AM Best and Standard and Poor’s. You can also find out customer satisfaction rates from JD Powers and Associates and Consumer Reports.
Finally, you should compare the actual premium rates. You can get premium rates from independent insurance brokers, insurance comparison websites or from insurance company websites. Our FREE car insurance quote finder can get you quotes from reliable companies when you enter your ZIP code. You should compare at least three quotes for the same amount of coverage limits, the same type of coverage and the same deductible amounts.
Buying car insurance can be confusing initially. However, with some basic understanding of the different types of insurance, it becomes easier to evaluate quotes and decide what auto insurance coverage you need and make a purchasing decision. Enter your ZIP code into our FREE auto insurance comparison tool to start comparing quotes now!