Mathew B. Sims is Editor-in-Chief and has authored, edited, and contributed to several books. He has been working in the insurance industry ensuring content is accurate for consumers who are searching for the best policies and rates. He has also been featured on sites like UpJourney.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that exis...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Apr 23, 2020

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It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We partner with top insurance providers. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

Things to remember...

  • In order to find the right car insurance, you need be clear in what type of coverage you need
  • When choosing an insurance agent, make sure you are completely comfortable with them
  • A qualified insurance agent will help oversee your entire insurance portfolio from automobile insurance to homeowner’s insurance, business insurance, health insurance, and life insurance

Purchasing automobile insurance can be a complicated business. First, you need to know the types of coverage that are usually carried in an automobile policy.

Take the time to consider the physical damage coverage you need to protect your financial investment in the vehicle or vehicles you drive.

Enter your zip code above into the FREE auto insurance comparison tool located above to start your search today!

Choosing an Insurance Agent

The best practice to follow is to choose an insurance agent you can trust and will help with advice and counsel about insurance you need.

A qualified insurance agent will help oversee your entire insurance portfolio including:

  • Automobile insurance
  • Homeowner’s insurance
  • Business insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Life insurance

Check with your state insurance commissioner to examine agent’s licenses as well as any complaints that may have been filed against individual insurance agencies.

Do research with the Better Business Bureau to see how your chosen agent handles claims and financial matters.

An insurance agent can make the choice and acquisition of insurance easier. One advantage of having one agent to consult is that all your insurance is in one place, organized, and available for you and your family.

There are two types of insurance agents:

  • Proprietary  A proprietary agent represents just one company and sells their products.
  • Independent  An independent agent represents many companies and chooses the appropriate company for your insurance needs.

A competent and trusted insurance agent can enhance your financial plans.

Perceptive insurance agents know the financial ratings of the companies they represent so you can be assured that the company will be able to handle a catastrophic loss should it occur.

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Know About Insurance

Even though you have a trusted insurance agent, it is necessary to know about they types of insurance you will purchase. The knowledge you have enhances the purchase process and allows you to make reasonably wise choices.

Automobile insurance is just one of the many types of insurance sold for your financial protection. Two divisions represent auto insurance:

Liability Insurance – your responsibility for damage to others life and property as you or a member of your family operate a vehicle.

  • Bodily injury liability – pays for death claims and injury to others as well as legal costs required in most states
  • Property damage liability  pays for claims for property that your auto damages in an accident
  • Medical payments – pays for injuries to you and the people in your car. Some states consider this optional and it is replaced by “no fault” insurance in states that legislate it.
  • Uninsured Motorist protection – pays for injuries and, in some cases, property damage, to pay for claims you may have against an uninsured motorist or a hit-and-run accident.

Property Damage Coverage

Collision Coverage pays for damage to your own car up to the book value if you collide with another vehicle or building. Collision coverage usually has a deductible. Deductibles are the amount of a claim that you must pay before insurance applies.

Comprehensive Coverage also carries a deductible but pays for damage to your auto from theft, vandalism, fire, wind, animal damage, flood, and other causes.

Sometimes it is not economical to carry physical damage on your own vehicle because the cost of premiums outruns the amount you may collect in the event of an accident or occurrence.

Go to Kelley Blue Book or have your agent do so. Calculate the current value of your vehicle in its current condition, mileage, and age. Subtract any deductible you might carry.

Knowing the value of your vehicle will allow you to determine whether it is cost-effective to carry physical damage coverage.

A good rule of thumb is to look at the premiums you will pay annually to insure the vehicle, and then determine if you will be paying more than the current value of the vehicle in insurance premiums over the remaining life of the vehicle.

How Premiums Are Affected

When purchasing insurance several factors can affect the premiums you pay:

  • The vehicle you drive affects your premium. An expensive vehicle costs more to insure because the amount the company will pay if the vehicle is totaled affects a portion of the premium.
  • Safety ratings of the vehicle you drive matter. For example, a vehicle that has a history of being involved in injurious accidents will cost more to insure than the bigger, more secure vehicles.
  • Recognize that each insurance company has its own experience with particular vehicles and premiums vary. That is why you and your agent should examine premiums charged by several companies in your area.
  • Personal factors such as age, gender, and driving record affect your insurance premium, as does your credit rating.

Free Auto Insurance Comparison

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

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How much insurance do you need?

Basically, the more you have to risk in property and money, the more insurance you need. Auto liability insurance is relatively inexpensive when you compare lower limits to higher limits, and can be worth the extra cost.

There is no single best solution, but the advice that your agent can give is well worth the small portion of the premium they receive as commission. He or she can help you look at your financial situation and make certain that you are neither underinsured nor over insured.

The agent can also assess your entire insurance package and see if you are adequately covered for most situations.

Finally, it is recommended that you review your insurance coverage on a yearly basis to determine if you’re both getting the best deal and covered adequately.

It is reasonable to expect a competent insurance agent to perform this review for you and prepare alternate quotes for your insurance.

Be certain to indicate to your agent that this is one of the expectations you have of their service, then mark your calendar to check to see if you have received the review.

Individuals can do this themselves, but most of us lack the expertise to analyze insurance adequately.  Always compare online quotes using our FREE car insurance comparison tool located at the bottom of this page!

Enter your zip code below to get started now!

References:

  1. https://www.allstate.com/home-insurance/homeowners-insurance-basics.aspx
  2. http://www.naic.org/state_web_map.htm
  3. http://www.bbb.org/
  4. http://www.safeco.com/independent-insurance-agents
  5. https://www.libertymutual.com/auto/car-insurance-coverage/bodily-injury-liability
  6. http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/auto-accident/no-fault-insurance-claim-work.html
  7. https://www.allstate.com/auto-insurance/collision-coverage.aspx
  8. https://www.farmers.com/auto/reduce-premiums/
  9. https://www.progressivecommercial.com/coverages/physical-damage/
  10. http://www.kbb.com/
  11. http://www.cnbc.com/2016/02/24/heres-the-most-and-least-expensive-vehicles-to-insure-in-2016.html
  12. http://www.autotrader.com/car-news/crash-course-for-coping-with-a-totaled-car-168401
  13. http://www.investopedia.com/terms/u/underinsured-motorist-coverage.asp