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Auto insurance protects your vehicle from many risks like car accidents, theft and vandalism. And most US states require car insurance—only New Hampshire and Virginia don’t.

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Understanding some auto insurance basics can help ensure that you don’t overpay for coverage. Here’s what you need to know about auto insurance, as well as some tips for lowering your premiums.

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How does auto insurance work?

Car insurance is a contract between you and an insurance provider to help pay for damages caused to your vehicle and other vehicles, any other property damage, and bodily injury caused by an accident. The specific claims process depends on the state in which you live and who is responsible for the accident, but in general, you will file a claim after a car accident and wait for it to be approved by your insurer.

Insurers determine your auto insurance premium by assessing several factors, such as your vehicle, how much coverage you get, and your driving record. Once you are approved for a policy, you can pay it in full or in regular installments – you can generally choose to pay monthly, every six months or annually.

What is a deductible?

Your car insurance deductible This is what you pay before your insurer pays the balance for a covered claim. For example, let’s say your deductible is $1,000 and you get into an accident that causes $5,000 in damage to your vehicle. In that case, your insurance payment would be $4,000.

Typically, the higher your deductible, the lower your car insurance premium, and vice versa. If you choose the higher deductible to save money during the year, make sure you can pay that amount in the event of an accident.

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What type of auto insurance do you need?

You can choose from several types auto insurance coverage — each one protects you in different ways, Keep in mind that you must purchase at least the minimum required insurance in your state. Here are the types of car insurance you should consider:

  • liability – If you’re involved in a car accident and it’s your fault, liability coverage pays for property damage and any bodily injuries you inflict, up to the extent of your policy. Liability insurance is required in almost every state, and each state sets its own minimum liability coverage limits.
  • Personal Injury Protection – Personal Injury Protection (PIP) covers medical expenses for you or your passengers if you are involved in an accident, regardless of who is at fault. You may need to purchase this type of insurance if you live in a no-fault state—a state where you must file a claim with your own insurance carrier, no matter who is at fault.
  • medical payment – Similar to PIP, medical payment insurance covers your medical expenses and the medical expenses of your passengers, regardless of who is at fault. But PIP and Medicare payment coverage are not the same. Medicare payments coverage is only offered in at-fault states – these states require the person who is deemed to be at fault to pay for covered damages. And unlike PIP, medical payment coverage is always optional. This coverage can be beneficial if you do not have health insurance.
  • Detailed – Comprehensive coverage protects your car from damage caused by a collision with another vehicle or object. Some examples include damage to your vehicle by wildfire, thunderstorms, or vandalism. If you are financing a vehicle, your lender will require you to purchase this type of insurance to protect its interests in your vehicle.
  • Collision – Collision insurance helps you pay for your car to be repaired or replaced if it is involved in an accident with another vehicle or a non-moving object, such as a pole. Similar to comprehensive insurance, a lender may require you to purchase collision coverage.
  • Uninsured and underinsured motorists – Uninsured motorist coverage helps pay for damages caused to your vehicle by a motorist who does not have insurance. This may also include repairs if you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident. Underinsured motorist coverage helps pay for damages to your car if the driver responsible for them does not have adequate coverage. Depending on your state, you may need to purchase one or both of these coverages.

How Much Auto Insurance Should You Buy?

The amount of coverage you need depends on the state in which you live and your individual situation. You should purchase adequate liability insurance to protect your assets in case you are sued after an accident.

How much collision coverage you need depends on the value of your car and whether you pay on your vehicle or do it in a lump sum. It’s important to note that if your deductible exceeds the value of your car – for example, if you have an older vehicle, you may not need collision insurance. But if you lease your car or take out an auto loan, the lender or leasing company will require you to have collision and comprehensive coverage.

A good rule of thumb is to buy at least as much coverage as you can comfortably afford. For example, if you own your car outright, collision and comprehensive coverage is not required. But adding those coverages can help protect yourself in case of an accident or unexpected event, such as vandalism.

How to lower your auto insurance premium

if you are looking save money on car insuranceConsider taking these steps:

  • Compare shop for best deals. One of the best ways to reduce your car insurance is to shop around. To find the best deal, get quotes from at least three to five insurance providers. you can Get Auto Insurance Quotes Online or by contacting an insurance agent. When getting a quote, be sure to compare policies that offer similar coverage.
  • Bundle with homeowners insurance or other policy. Some insurance carriers will give you a discount if you buy multiple policies from them, such as your home insurance and auto insurance. You can also get a discount if you buy renters insurance and auto insurance from the same insurer.
  • Choose a higher deductible. If you choose a higher deductible, you can lower your insurance rate. But before you do, review your finances to make sure you can comfortably pay more out-of-pocket expenses to repair or replace your vehicle if it is damaged.
  • Ask about additional discounts. Check with your insurance carrier to see if it offers any discounts. some common car insurance discount For members of the military, include those with low mileage, being a good student, and using Autopay.
  • Boost your credit score. When you apply for auto insurance, many insurers will review your credit history to determine how risky you are to be insured. If you have good credit, you are likely to get a lower rate. You can improve your credit score by adopting good credit-building habits like paying all your bills on time and paying off any outstanding debt.

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