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Auto insurance isn’t only necessary to cover your vehicle in case of theft or damage. It’s also a valuable tool for protecting you and passengers involved in an accident. Even though it's mandatory in most regions, there are some additional aspects of auto insurance you need to know before you move forward with a policy.
Many regions require compulsory auto insurance. Without these types of coverage, you may find yourself in deep legal trouble:
While these standard coverages will keep you safe from the biggest liabilities, you may need additional protection. For instance, if you are leasing or financing a vehicle, you will likely need to add collision insurance to cover accident repairs to the vehicle or comprehensive coverage to ensure that you, your car and other passengers involved in an accident with are fully covered. These coverages are often mandatory to protect the lender.
Beyond these basics, you may want to protect your vehicle with additional coverage that decreases your liability in the event that your vehicle is stolen, damaged or vandalized. These often include:
Gap Coverage: Covering any money you owe on a lease or loan.
Waiver of Depreciation: Special coverage only available on new vehicles, removes depreciation when calculating the loss amount.
Substitute Transportation: Rental vehicles so you can still get around while your car is in the shop.
Towing and Labor: Getting you from the site of an accident or breakdown to a mechanic.
Optional Bodily Injury to Others and Medical Payments: In case the costs of accident injuries exceed the state minimums.
Most people understand that their driving record will affect their insurance rates. However, there are other factors that can also influence insurance rates.
Make and Model
You may be an excellent driver, but if people who drive the same make and model as you tend to get into a lot of collisions, your insurance rate will be automatically higher than most. This is because insurance rates are based on actual loss data. This is a model that calculates how much a claim will cost for a typical driver of the same make and model based on past losses. The truth is, sub-compact owners tend to have higher and more frequent claims than minivan drivers, making the rates for those vehicles higher across the board.
Studies have found that drivers with lower credit scores also tend to make more insurance claims. For this reason, if your credit isn't up to par, you may find yourself paying more. This doesn't apply in California, Hawaii and Massachusetts, where it’s illegal to allow credit scores to be a part of insurance-rate decisions. Either way, insurance companies checking your score is considered a “soft” hit, which does not affect your credit score.
The reason you use your car and how often you use it are big factors in how much you'll pay. If you only drive a vehicle a few times a month, you'll pay less than if it's your daily commuter. You may also require additional commercial coverage if your car is used mostly for business.
Lease Vs. Financed Vs. Owned
You'll likely pay less if you own your car outright. That's because leases and loans keep the title of a car under the lender instead of you. They’ll likely to want to protect their investment by requiring you to have collision or comprehensive insurance, and you may need to have gap insurance as well.
If your vehicle is equipped with anti-theft and other safety devices, then you'll likely reduce the premium for your plan. That's because there's less chance of your car being stolen, irretrievably vandalized or other circumstances that would require your insurance company to replace the value of it. In the same vein, storing your vehicle in a garage is better than having it parked on the street.
Even if you're a great driver, other people in your household could be increasing your rates. Since you'll have to provide the name and driving history of all licensed drivers in your house who do not have their own insurance policy, it's a good idea to make sure that their driving record is up to par. You can often exclude specific drivers in your household from your policy, but if they do happen to require a claim while driving your car, you will not be covered.
If your current insurance carrier primarily covers high-risk claimants, your next insurance carrier may charge you a higher premium. Similarly, if you currently do not have insurance, either because you had a lapse or you are a first-time driver, your rates will also be higher.
Insurers provide a number of discounts, including:
Discounts for vehicle safety features (including anti-theft devices, trackable GPS, garage parking, etc.).
Good student discounts when your teen driver shows responsibility in their studies and on the road.
Multi-policy discounts for having Homeowners or Condo policy with the same insurance company.
UBI- Usage based Insurance offers discounts for good driving habits. By installing an app on your phone it will track time of day, hard braking and hard acceleration. Once enough data has been collected the insurer will apply a discount of upto 25%
You may miss these discounts if you don’t ask for them, however. Keep your insurance broker in the know when it comes to life changes that can help save you money, such as additional family members driving or a shorter commute.
There are a number of factors that influence your decision when it comes to auto insurance. Comprehensive coverage, customer service and long-term relationships are our main goals. We have a solid reputation for providing dependable advice and myriad options to ensure that your auto coverage is exactly what you need. We work with you to cover any gaps in your current coverage, so you can feel secure no matter what vehicles you own.
Contact us today for a comprehensive auto insurance quote. We work with a number of top-rated insurance companies to ensure that you get the perfect mix of coverage and value.
What do I need to know before getting car insurance?
First of all, don’t wait too long. Auto insurance is legally required in almost every region. Secondly, the basic coverage will keep the law at bay but might be insufficient for you. Consider gap coverage, for missed lease or loan payments, depreciation waivers, for new vehicles, substitute transportation, while your car is in the shop, towing and labor, and optional, additional coverage. Evaluate your true needs as a driver and choose your policy accordingly.
Why is my auto insurance so high?
There are many factors that can be driving up your auto insurance. Fortunately, several are under your control. Your car’s make and model is one. Regardless of your driving skills, cars often involved in accidents have high top speeds, and such will get higher insurance rates. Bad credit will also drive up your payments, as will driving your vehicle constantly, such as to and from work. Leased and financed vehicles also get more expensive rates. Acquiring additional safety features can drive down your payments, though.
Can you negotiate auto insurance?
To some extent, absolutely. Factors such as vehicle safety features, as mentioned above, can result in more favorable rates. Same goes for things like good student discounts, multi-policy discounts, and usage-based insurance discounts. That said, a single potential policy owner isn’t in the best position to negotiate. That’s where insurance brokers come in. Handling dozens and hundreds of clients, brokers have a lot more leverage to negotiate with insurance companies. That’s why they can get much better rates.
Have one of our Brokers contact you.