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How to find the best auto insurance?
There are multiple factors that dictate auto insurance premiums, the types of policies that exist, and the variety of coverage you can get. How do you actually choose a company to go with? Let’s help you with that.
Factors that determine auto insurance premium
There are several factors which influence the cost of your auto insurance premium. The most common ones are:
- Make / model of your vehicle: Luxury vehicles and exotic cars tend to cost more to cover, simply because they cost more to repair. Additionally, the more desirable a vehicle is, the more prone it is to being stolen.
- Zip code: More densely-populated areas statistically have more theft, vandalism, and accidents, so your zip code will affect your premium one way or another.
- Vehicle age: While older cars are less expensive to purchase, they will likely incur higher premiums based on their lack of modern safety standards.
- Your driving record: It’s to be expected that your accident history will have a direct impact on your premium. The more accidents, the higher the premium.
- Additional drivers: Adding new drivers to your policy, whether it be a spouse or child, will usually increase your rates. That said, many insurance companies will offer married couples a discount for sharing a vehicle.
Types of auto insurance
Now that you have a clearer understanding of the factors that impact your premium, let’s take a look at the main types of auto insurance you can choose from:
Liability: Auto liability coverage is mandatory in most states and has two components:
- Bodily injury: Helps pay for costs related to another person’s injuries should you be at fault.
- Property damage: Likewise for any property damage you may cause.
Uninsured / Under-insured: If you’re hit by a driver who doesn’t have insurance (or whose policy lacks enough coverage) this will help pay for your medical bills, and in some cases, repairs to your vehicle.
Comprehensive: This type of coverage comes with a deductible (amount you pay out of pocket) and helps pay for damage to your vehicle caused by perils such as theft, fire, weather, or vandalism. It may also cover replacing your vehicle should it become a total loss, up to it’s cash value.
Collision: If you’re involved in an accident with another vehicle, or hit an object such as a fence, this coverage will help pay for any repairs or replacement (up to your vehicle’s cash value).
Medical payments: This coverage will help pay for any medical bills for yourself or any passengers in the event of injuries sustained in an accident. Covered costs may include things such as hospital visits, x-rays, surgery, and more.
Personal injury: Also known as PIP (personal injury protection), this type of coverage is only available in certain states. In addition to a medical payments policy, PIP may also help cover expenses incurred by an accident such as childcare or lost income.
Auto insurance discounts to look for
Auto insurance companies offer a variety of discounts to policyholders to help reduce their insurance premiums. These discounts can vary between insurance providers, but here are some common discounts that are typically available:
- Multi-Policy Discount: Also known as a bundling discount, this is offered when you purchase multiple insurance policies from the same company, such as auto and home insurance.
- Multi-Car Discount: If you insure more than one vehicle with the same insurance company, you may qualify for a multi-car discount.
- Safe Driver Discount: Offered to drivers who maintain a clean driving record without accidents or traffic violations over a specified period.
- Defensive Driving Course Discount: Completing a defensive driving or driver safety course may qualify you for a discount on your premium.
- Anti-Theft Device Discount: Installing anti-theft devices in your vehicle, such as alarms or tracking systems, can lead to a discount.
- Low Mileage Discount: If you drive fewer miles than the average driver, you may be eligible for a low mileage discount.
- Loyalty Discount: Staying with the same insurance company for an extended period may result in loyalty discounts.
- Military or Veteran Discount: Some insurers offer discounts to active-duty military personnel, veterans, and their families.
- Pay-As-You-Drive (PAYD) or Usage-Based Insurance (UBI): Insurance companies offer discounts to drivers who opt for PAYD or UBI programs, where premiums are based on actual driving data.
- Green or Fuel-Efficient Vehicle Discount: Driving an environmentally friendly or fuel-efficient vehicle may qualify you for a discount.
It's important to note that eligibility for these discounts can vary by state and insurance company, and the amount of the discount may also differ. To take advantage of available discounts and get the best rate on your auto insurance, it's a good practice to inquire with insurance providers about the specific discounts they offer and how you can qualify for them.