Unless you live in New Hampshire, it’s mandatory to have auto insurance. It’s something you shouldn’t think twice about when it comes to your vehicle. Not only does it fulfill all legal requirements, but it also helps you financially should anything bad happen to your vehicle. Caveat emptor — buyer beware — applies when looking for auto insurance, because it’s not always easy to determine which companies are good and which companies are terrible. A terrible insurance company would only create more stress and worry you more in times of need when you need assistance from them.
Here are five things you should look for when looking for an auto insurance policy:
Know what kind of coverage you need
No two customers are alike when it comes to their needs for auto insurance. At bare minimum, you could carry the state minimum coverage (amounts vary by state) if you drive an older vehicle. You may want to seek full coverage on any vehicle that is newly purchased or leased, but isn’t older than 15 years old, which allows for collision and comprehensive coverage as part of the plan. These two coverages allow for all repair costs resulting from an accident (collision) and damage from non-crash incidents (comprehensive). Depending on your needs, you may choose to keep full coverage for as long as possible.
Calculate your risks
Insurance companies will determine a risk assessment when providing you a rate quote, which defines how likely you are to face an incident that requires the company to pay for. They factor in age, credit score and previous driving history. In some occasions, they consider the condition of your vehicle. Before buying, understand how these risk assessment factors affect you, why insurance companies consider you potentially risky and how you can take measures to reduce the risk probability, thus getting insurance at a lower rate.
An often overlooked question, insurance companies want to know if there are any individuals other than the driver that should be added to a policy. This is something that is sometimes a factor in calculating risk. Should someone who isn’t covered on the policy drives your vehicle and the vehicle is an accident, there is the potential of no payment from the insurance company. As a measure, you should inquire about their terms and conditions regarding coverage of drivers not on the policy. In most scenarios, it may be required to add any additional drivers to the policy.
Commercial interests and independent contractors
In some cases, the purpose of driving a vehicle may be inquired upon should an accident occur. You may be delivering a pizza to a customer, which in some states is considered as commercial use. Depending on the laws in your state, either the employer is required to add your vehicle to their business vehicle insurance policy or you have to purchase your own.
Aftermarket vs. original manufacturer parts
When looking for parts, know that there are differences between parts from the original manufacturer and parts from an aftermarket manufacturer. While some aftermarket parts are considered low in quality and very cheap, that is not always the case. When a part is no longer in production from the original manufacturer, you may have no choice but to go to an aftermarket manufacturer or take your chances at a junkyard finding your part with no guarantee that it will be operational.
When getting new parts as a result of an accident or ongoing wear and tear driving activities, the auto manufacturer usually provides the spare parts with the insurance company paying for repairs as a result of an accident.
An often overlooked question is whether the insurance company will pay for original parts or aftermarket parts. It is something worth researching, because depending on the company, there could be a dispute later on if the question is not answered at the time the policy is purchased.
Additional optional coverage
There are usually additional coverage options made available by the insurance companies. CheapAutoInsurance.com provides several Illinois car insurance packages — or in any other state — and allows you to customize any of them as per your needs. Different packages may include one or more services:
- A package can also cover the medical expenses of passengers in addition to the driver.
- Some insurance packages cover the rental car if your own vehicle is being repaired.
- You may get additional benefits in case of wage loss, new car replacement, and gap insurance.
- If you need roadside assistance, the company may send you towing and labor help.
- If you choose to go the bundle route, you can seek to bundle your auto policy with a renter’s, RV, boat, home or other insurance policies. See your insurance company and applicable state laws for more information.
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