How To Compare Auto Insurance Quotes
Shopping around for quality auto insurance companies can be challenging if consumers don't know the best ways to compare rates.
There are thousands of websites out there that claim to offer only the best rates, but do they? Can consumers trust that information to be accurate?
Since there are so many insurance companies to choose from, how can consumers tell essential information to compare car insurance quotes?
Searching for affordable car insurance premiums isn't as straightforward as it seems.
The bottom-line cost is most critical for most consumers, but it's also vital that consumers pay attention to policy benefits and exclusions in particular.
Every car insurance policy is different. It's common for individual consumers to misunderstand what their policy will and will not cover.
There are many "hidden" costs for auto insurance, such as differing deductibles, premiums, or the cost to rent a car if the policy doesn't already include it.
Online platforms make it far easier for consumers to compare auto insurance, benefits, and cost.
The following information will help consumers make an informed choice when comparing auto insurance.
What types of auto insurance are available?
Insurance companies, both large and small, offer six basic types of auto insurance:
- Auto liability insurance
- Uninsured or under-insured policy add-ons
- Comprehensive coverage add-ons
- Collision coverage
- Medical payments coverage
- Personal-injury insurance
The confusion stems from different states' regulations over the insurance industry in general.
Here is a brief breakdown of what each type means and what they cover.
Auto Liability Insurance
Most states require liability insurance for all drivers. Virginia and New Hampshire are the exceptions to the norm.
This type of policy comes in two varieties: property damage liability and bodily-damage liability.
The overall purpose of liability insurance is to protect others when a policyholder is at fault and can't pay out-of-pocket to repair someone else's property or pay for their medical bills.
But if a policyholder is not at fault during an accident, liability insurance will cover costs up to the policy's coverage limits. Coverage limits for liability policies are what consumers tend to overlook the most.
Bodily injury coverage pays for medical expenses for an injured person, and property coverage pays for car repairs or other damages (e.g., Damaged sensitive items inside the vehicle).
A tip: consumers need to read and reread their benefits summary because it's a mistake to assume that every mishap is a qualifying event. Insurance doesn't work that way.
Most states require their residents to carry at least some version of liability insurance.
Uninsured or Underinsured Auto Insurance
Since liability policies have limits and benefit caps, what happens when repair costs and medical expenses exceed that figure?
Without an insurance policy in place, consumers would be on the hook to pay the full amount for repairs and medical bills.
That's where uninsured or underinsured auto insurance comes into play.
It covers costs for motorists that don't have insurance during the time of an accident, or it can shield policyholders from liability caps.
Essentially, this type of insurance is an add-on to a more comprehensive policy.
Comprehensive Auto Insurance
Like uninsured protection, this type of insurance is typically an optional add-on to a more extensive policy.
Auto insurance policies cover particular instances, but some won't cover damage caused by fire or theft. Injuries suffered during a war or civil unrest also may not count as a qualifying event to trigger the insurance.
Comprehensive auto insurance fills the "gaps" in coverage so that policyholders can afford the aftermath of unforeseen difficulties.
As another optional add-on, collision coverage is relatively straightforward. It covers the cost of repairs, but it doesn't cover medical expenses at all.
It's best to review policies carefully to make sure that it includes the cost of auto repairs. Liability insurance may cover expenses if a policyholder isn't at fault, but coverage caps may or may not suffice.
The cost of car repairs can easily reach into the thousands, which is why insurance companies simply write-off and total a wrecked car if the consumer has full coverage.
But with a liability policy, the consumer will only receive a percentage of repair costs.
If a liability policy has a low benefit cap, consumers would be wise to add-on collision coverage.
Medical Payments Coverage
This insurance works like collision coverage, so its purpose is to pay for medical expenses that exceed a policy's benefit cap.
Policies that include medical payment coverage can offset health care costs like:
- Health insurance co-pays and deductibles
- Nursing services
- Ambulance fees
- Physician visits
Since some states mandate that insurance policies include specific provisions, consumers must carefully review their benefits before making any assumptions about medical payments coverage.
The tricky part about personal injury insurance is that it's not available in every state. As mentioned above, insurance policies have limitations, and only specific events qualify for payment.
Personal-injury coverage kicks in when a policyholder incurs additional expenses that may or may not relate to the accident directly.
For example, lost income and anguish after an accident might qualify as a personal injury, but it depends on how much consumers pay for the policy.
The more policyholders pay for premiums, the less they'll have to pay for repairs or medical bills out-of-pocket.
How Much Does Affordable Auto Insurance Cost On Average?
Insurance costs vary because each policy is unique and ideally should suit a consumer's needs best.
Like health insurance, auto insurance includes premiums and deductibles.
A premium is the monthly or annual price to keep the policy active. When consumers fail to pay their premiums, they lose insurance.
A deductible, on the other hand, is the cost a policyholder must pay before benefits activate.
The general rule is that policies with a high premium will feature a lower deductible, but policies with cheap premiums will feature a higher deductible.
According to the time of this writing, the average cost for full coverage is about $1,738, the financial experts at BankRate.com say.
What Other Factors Affect The Cost of Auto Insurance Quotes?
Affordable auto insurance quotes vary from instance to instance and person to person. That's why it's preferable to find an insurance company that thoroughly explains costs and benefits.
Auto insurance may cost more in some regions of the U.S., like densely populated urban areas. From the insurance company's perspective, auto accidents' risks rise significantly in cities where traffic jams occur regularly.
The make and model of a car or truck also makes a difference. There is a good reason for insurance companies to price policies based on the type of car. Mainly, certain automobiles are less costly to repair (i.e., domestic automakers versus European or Japanese automakers).
A consumer's driving history and age are two additional factors. The bottom line is that the amount of risk matters most to an insurance company.
With so many factors to consider – price, benefits, and extra perks – what's the best way to find and compare rates?
How To Compare Auto Insurance Companies In One Place
Consumers can obtain reliable pricing and compare car insurance quotes by visiting OfficialCarInsurance.com. The platform allows consumers to compare affordable auto insurance quotes side-by-side and in one place.
All the most vital information consumers need to make a wise decision is to find the most affordable policy for their needs.
Shopping and comparing auto insurance can be a hassle, but this information should make the process far more straightforward and easy for anyone.
Click here to begin comparing car insurance premiums.