How To Buy Auto Insurance
You can also buy coverage types like collision and comprehensive insurance to cover your vehicle for damage from car accidents, car theft, floods, fire, hail, collisions with animals and falling objects.
how to buy auto insurance
This kind of insurance covers liability for bodily injury and property damage to others that occurs while driving. Depending on the company and policy, it also may include personal injury protection (PIP), medical payment coverage, and uninsured/underinsured motorist protection. Non-owner car insurance typically does not include collision coverage, comprehensive insurance, or theft protection.
Car rental insurance is designed for people who do not have car insurance or whose auto policy does not extend to vehicle rentals or carries a high deductible. This kind of insurance is sold by the rental company and is valid only for the duration of the rental agreement. Car rental insurance typically covers the following, although you may be able to purchase each component separately:
Every state except New Hampshire and Virginia requires drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance, and many states require additional coverage as well. But a bare-bones policy may not cover all of your expenses if you are involved in a crash or other event that causes damage, loss, or injury.
States also specify minimum liability limits for bodily injury and property damage, typically expressed by three figures (e.g., 25,000/50,000/25,000 or 25/50/25). The first number represents the maximum dollar amount of coverage for any one person hurt in an accident. The second indicates the total coverage amount for all injured persons. The third represents the limits of coverage for property damage. Minimum liability limits vary by state. Contact your state department of motor vehicles or division of insurance to find out what your insurance requirements are.
Depending on where you live, how often you drive, and what kind of vehicle you own, you may want to carry more than just the state-mandated minimums. You may want to add other types of coverage to your auto policy, such as:
In order to register a car in Massachusetts, you must have automobile insurance. By law, you must purchase four coverages called Compulsory (or Mandatory) Coverages in, at least, minimum amounts required by law, and in higher amounts if you choose to do so. You may also buy a variety of Optional Coverages to suit your needs.
The losses that a person injured in an automobile accident incurs and the damage to property from an accident sometimes may be much greater that the insurance provided by the mandatory coverages. For most drivers, the minimum levels of insurance will not give them enough protection and they may want to insure themselves for other types of losses that may result from automobile accidents. For those reasons, people choose to purchase higher limits of property damage and bodily injury coverage, to purchase collision and comprehensive coverage, or to purchase other types of coverage. An insurance agent or other insurance professional can help you determine what types and levels of coverage you need. Agents and companies must inform you in simple language of your coverage options when you apply for an automobile insurance policy, or if you have questions at any time.
Some of these coverages may be subject to important limitations and exclusions. For example, if you are insuring a used private passenger automobile, an insurer may require it to be inspected before providing comprehensive insurance. The inspection may be deferred for ten calendar days - not including legal holidays and Sundays. If your auto is not inspected within the required time, these coverages will be automatically suspended. You may also be required to buy collision and comprehensive coverage if you have a loan on the car.
Remember, your premium will increase if you choose to purchase higher limits of coverage or optional coverages. You should consult with your agent or insurance company about the coverages and amounts that best fit your financial needs while ensuring that you have the coverage you want should an accident occur.
Because insurance companies are not identical, it is important to obtain information from more than one company. Insurance companies market automobile insurance in two principal ways: through insurance agents or directly online with their sales staff. Agents may represent one or two or many insurers. When you contact an agency about buying auto insurance, start by finding out how many and what companies they represent. You may be able to get cost quotes from several insurers from one or two agencies. Be sure that each cost quote is for the same coverage, and reflects any discounts for which you may be eligible.
Insurers are not identical, and changing companies might reduce the cost of your insurance, but no reliable comparison is possible without a careful review of the products to ensure that they provide identical coverage, offer discounts of equal value, and include policy benefits that are of value to you.
Insurance companies group you with other people who share your general risk characteristics - such as the number of years driving experience. To calculate your individual premium (how much they will charge you), the company uses a base rate for your group, then adjusts it to reflect your individual risk factors and any discounts for which you are eligible. In figuring out your actual premium, insurance companies may consider factors such as your years of driving experience, the number and type of your accidents, the number and type of your traffic violations, and the vehicle you drive. Insurance companies may also consider other risk factors if those factors are relevant to risk and approved by the Commissioner.
Remember, if you or someone on your behalf gives your insurance company false, deceptive, misleading, or incomplete information concerning the description and place of garaging of your car, or the names of those people who drive your car, your insurer may refuse to pay your claims under any or all of the Optional Insurance Parts of your policy.
If your rates increase, it's smart to contact your agent or your insurance company for an explanation. You should also keep in mind that you have every right to shop around for the coverage that works best for you.
If you have a car of low dollar value, you may not want to buy the Collision or Comprehensive coverage unless your lender requires it. But, without this coverage, the insurance company may not pay for a claim arising from an accident.
Your driving record will always be a big factor in determining how much you pay. Driving safely and keeping a clean driving record will reduce your automobile insurance premium regardless of what company you choose.
If your company determines that you are at fault for an accident, it will send you a Notice of At-Fault Accident Determination. If you receive a Notice of At-Fault Accident Determination naming the wrong operator, call your insurance company. Your insurer will take back the incorrect notice and issue a new notice to the right operator.
If your insurance company increases your auto insurance premium because of an accident, you must pay the additional premium while your appeal is pending or your policy will be cancelled. If you win your appeal, you will receive a refund or credit from your insurer for any increased premium you paid.
If you were planning to renew your policy, once you receive an invoice reflecting your new (not estimated) premium and any applicable new deviations or discounts, you have 30 days to change insurance companies without paying a penalty. If you make a change within this 30 day period, you will pay your former insurance company on a pro-rata basis of the new premium until the date coverage with your new insurance company begins. If you choose to switch insurance companies after the 30 day period, you may be subject to a penalty which decreases as your policy year progresses depending on the insurance company to which you transferred your coverage. You should ask your new insurance company whether it will reimburse you for these penalties.
The information below applies to auto insurance policies issued on or before July 1, 2020. For auto insurance policies issued or renewed after July 1, 2020, please visit www.Michigan.gov/AutoInsurance for updated information.
To drive legally in Michigan, state law requires the purchase of no-fault automobile insurance. If you or your family are injured in an auto accident, your auto insurance will pay all reasonably necessary expenses with no maximum limit, as well as wage loss benefits and replacement service benefits. In a serious accident, injuries can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars in cost to you. The financial security that results from being insured is one of the most important reasons to purchase insurance.
Driving without insurance is a crime. It is punishable as a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $500 and up to one year in jail. The court may also order your license suspended for 30 days or until you are able to provide proof of valid insurance.
If you own a car and you drive it, or allow someone else to drive it without basic no-fault insurance, you can be sued and held personally liable for all injuries and damages that result from an accident, including your own. You may also be convicted of a misdemeanor and fined $200 to $500, put in jail for up to one year, or both. The court may also order your license suspended for 30 days or until you are able to provide proof of valid insurance.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) - PIP pays all reasonable and necessary medical expenses for your lifetime if you are hurt in an auto accident, and wage loss and replacement services for up to three years after the date of the accident.
Residual Bodily Injury and Property Damage Liability (BI/PD) - BI/PD pays, up to the limits of the policy, your defense costs and any damages you are found liable for as the result of an auto accident in which someone was killed or seriously injured. The minimum limits of coverage that everyone must purchase are: 041b061a72