Auto Insurance FAQ
How much car insurance coverage do I need?
Insurance needs vary from person to person depending on a number of different factors. A few questions you’ll want to ask yourself include:
How much can you pay out of pocket? This can help determine how much of a deductible you can afford to pay. A higher deductible can lower your overall insurance price, but you’ll have to pay more money yourself if a covered event occurs.
What type of vehicle do you drive? You might want higher limits on certain vehicles like trucks or SUVs that could cause more potential damage. Also, you should expect higher rates for higher priced vehicles due to the potential higher costs of repairs or increased risk of theft.
Do you make payments on your automobile? If you do, you may have to purchase additional comprehensive and collision coverage depending on the state you live in or agreements you signed on your lease, lien, or loan.
Do you want any additional drivers on your policy? If you have other drivers in your house that use your car, you’ll likely want additional coverage to make sure they are insured.
There may be additional considerations and circumstances that apply to you which can influence how much insurance you need. The best way to get clear answers is to speak with one of our licensed agents who can properly assess your needs and guide you to an insurance plan that will provide proper coverage. Contact our friendly professional staff with any questions you have at 800-777-5620 so you know for certain which insurance options are the best for you.
Why should I buy more insurance than the law requires?
While most states require you to purchase liability insurance for your automobile, that policy only covers damages to another person’s property and the medical costs of another person if you are involved in an accident. Additional insurance coverage can help pay for damages done to your vehicle, medical costs if you were injured, vehicle theft, and other potential problems. Depending on your vehicle’s worth, your lifestyle, and other factors, you’ll likely want more coverage than the state minimum requirement.
How do insurance companies assess my risk?
There are a number of different factors that insurance providers use to calculate your risk. Most insurers use your driving history, age, prior insurance information, marital status, and credit history as primary factors to determine an insurance quote. There may be some other factors such as your location and your profession that could affect your insurance rates.
Why do insurance companies use my prior insurance information?
Proof of Insurance (POI) from a current or previous insurance company can help other insurance companies calculate a quote, should you want to purchase from them. A poor payment history to your previous insurer or a lapse in coverage could increase your insurance premium. However, a positive history with previous insurers could allow insurance agents to offer you a lower-priced quote.
Why are insurance companies looking into my credit history/credit score?
Insurance companies look into your credit history to help assess risk and the cost of your premium. If an insurance company sees your credit report/history and sees that you pay your bills on time and have paid off debt, you will be seen as a lower risk than if you frequently missed payments or defaulted on loans. If you have a good credit history, insurance companies are more likely to offer you a lower rate.
Are there insurance options for me if I have a poor driving record?
If you have a poor driving history with accidents where you were at fault, traffic citations, misdemeanors, DUIs, or other infractions, you’ll have a harder time finding an insurance that is willing to insure you at a low rate. However, there are some insurance companies that specialize in helping people with poor driving records obtain affordable insurance or SR-22 insurance policies.
What is SR-22 insurance?
An SR-22, also referred to as a “Statement of Responsibility” or a “Certificate of Financial Responsibility,” is a state-mandated certificate filed by your car insurance carrier with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). An SR-22 form serves as proof that you have purchased the minimum liability auto insurance required in your state.
How does the the kind of car I drive affect my insurance rate?
The make, model, age, and mileage of your vehicle can affect your car insurance premium due to its value. More expensive cars will likely get higher insurance costs given their worth and risk of theft/cost of repair. If you file a claim under an insured vehicle that is older and has higher mileage, you may not get much on your claim if your vehicle’s worth is lower than the repair cost.
How do I find the best and lowest auto insurance for me?
You’ll never know until you look. Make phone calls to insurance companies or investigate insurance providers online for a free car insurance quote. Compare rates with each company and see if you qualify for a discount they offer. You can search on our site to learn more about how to get a cheaper insurance rate.
Can I get discounts on my auto insurance?
Many insurance companies offer discounts on their policies if you meet certain criteria. Some discounts include ones for clean driving records, passing an advance driving course, membership to certain clubs associated with the insurance company, or being retired. If the insurance company offers other products, they may lower your premium if you bundle your auto insurance plan with homeowners insurance, life insurance, etc. Contact your insurance provider to see if you qualify for any possible discounts they offer.
Are there any discounts for vehicle safety features?
Some auto insurance providers may give you a discount if your vehicle has additional safety features that affect your risk. Features that protect passengers and drivers, such as automatic seat belts and rear seat airbags, can help your lower your insurance premium cost. Security features such as car alarms or OnStar can also provide possible discounts.
Can I get a “good student discount”?
Some insurers offer a discount to drivers who are full-time students, provided that they can provide proof of enrollment. These discounts usually require the insured to maintain certain GPA, be on the Dean’s List, or other similar qualifier in order for the discount to be applied.
Do I have to pay for an online quote?
No. Most reputable insurance companies will offer you an online car insurance quote for free.
What if I have more than four cars/drivers that need coverage in my household?
If you have more than four vehicles or drivers that need to be insured on your policy, contact an insurance agent to get an accurate insurance quote offer.
What if I want to insure a vehicle type that is not listed?
If you want to get an insurance quote on a vehicle that isn’t listed on the insurance company’s website, call an insurance agent or meet with one face-to-face to see what insurance plans they can offer.
How can I pay for my insurance?
Most insurance companies accept cash, checks, credit cards, or debit cards for payments if you make a payment in their offices. Payments online or over the phone are typically done through a debit or credit card. Payments through the mail usually require a check.
What does “full coverage” mean?
Full coverage typically means that your auto insurance policy has both liability coverage and coverage for damage done to your vehicle when in an accident. It does not mean that “everything” that happens to your vehicle is subject to coverage. Read over your insurance policy to make sure you have the proper coverage you need and contact an insurance agent to make any specific changes.
When does my coverage start?
You can usually decide when your auto insurance coverage starts, whether it begins immediately or on a future date. You cannot choose your auto insurance coverage to start retroactively from a prior date.
Do I need special coverage if I add features (examples: custom body work, rims, stereo equipment, etc.) to my car?
It depends. Mild customization may not require special auto insurance coverage, however certain changes or additions could raise your insurance premium cost or the feature won’t qualify for coverage on a regular auto insurance policy. It is a case-by-case basis, so contact an insurance agent to see if a typical insurance policy will cover your features or if they require special coverage.
I use my car primarily for business or for my job. Will a personal auto policy cover me?
If you use a vehicle built for business use (snow plow, box truck, etc.) or you have an ordinary vehicle designated for business use, a personal policy may not provide enough required coverage. These types of business cars, trucks, vans, etc. are covered through commercial vehicle insurance. To learn more about commercial vehicle insurance, click here.
Will my policy be cancelled if I get into an accident?
Insurers are typically not allowed to cancel an insurance policy that has been in effect for over 60 days. The only exceptions are when the insured has failed to make a premium payment, you fraudulently misrepresented yourself on your insurance application, or your driver’s license was suspended or revoked at the time of the accident. While your policy may not be cancelled, if you file multiple claims or a large claim during your insurance coverage period, the insurance company may choose not to renew your policy once it has expired.
What should I do if I am involved in an accident?
Stay calm. If you are able, drive your car into safe area and check yourself, your passengers, and anyone else involved in the accident for injuries. If anyone is hurt, call 911 for emergency services. Otherwise, call the police to report the accident and gather up all the information you can for your insurance company. For more thorough tips on what to do when you get into a car accident, click here.
Who should I call to report a loss?
After you get into a car accident, checked that everyone is okay, and have contacted the police, call your insurance agent to report the accident to get the claims process started.
How do I find my coverage and deductible for a claim?
Your insurance policy contract should tell your coverage limits and the cost of your deductible. If you have any questions regarding this, contact your insurance agent.
I got into an accident recently. Where can I find a repair shop?
Some insurance companies can help you find a repair shop near you when you file a claim. Depending on your policy, you may need to either provide photos of the damage and/or have a claims representative inspect your vehicle to approve your claim before it can be repaired.
What does it mean when a car is “totaled”?
This a term used to describe a “total loss” of a vehicle. When a car is deemed “totaled” it means that your damaged car isn’t repairable or that the cost of repairs exceeds the value of your vehicle. In this case, your insurer will pay the retail market value of your car.
What happens if my car is stolen?
If your auto insurance policy covers theft, contact your insurance provider and let them know your car has been stolen immediately after filing a police report. Your policy will likely have a waiting period in case the police find and recover your vehicle. If your vehicle is not found within that time period, your insurer will reimburse you the current market value of your car. If the vehicle is found within that waiting period and was damaged, your insurance company will help pay for the repair costs if they exceed your deductible.
Am I covered if I am driving someone else’s vehicle?
In most cases, the insurance goes with the car. If you get into an accident driving someone else’s vehicle, the owner’s insurance will be applied towards the damages. However, if the car owner is uninsured or does not have enough auto insurance to cover the damages, your car insurance coverage will be applied to make up the difference. There are variables from insurance company to insurance company for this scenario, so talk to an insurance agent if you have any specific questions or need proper guidance.
Am I covered when driving a rental car?
Car rental companies charge you daily fees for their insurance to pay all the damages covered in your rental agreement if you were to get into an accident with their vehicle. However some insurance companies may provide additional rental car coverage in their policies, depending on which state you reside in. Check your policy and speak with an insurance agent to see if your plan can covers rental cars.
Does my auto insurance cover weather hazards?
If you have comprehensive auto insurance coverage, damage caused by natural occurrences such as a tree branch falling onto your vehicle, a tornado, or a hailstorm is usually covered in your policy. With that said, you should consider the climate you live in and the potential weather hazards that could occur in order to ensure that your comprehensive auto policy provides proper coverage.
Does car insurance cover towing and labor to my automobile?
Many insurance companies can cover costs of towing and labor done to your vehicle in the event of an accident if you have comprehensive and collision coverage. However, this is optional coverage and is usually only reimbursement payments after you have already paid out of pocket.
I am driving through several states on a road trip. I have the minimum coverage allowed in my state, but will I be covered if I am involved in an accident in another state?
Generally, yes. As long as you meet the minimum required coverage in your home state, your insurance company will cover you if you get into an accident in another state, even if your policy doesn’t meet the other state’s insurance coverage minimum requirement. Most insurers will make up the difference to cover you for the higher limit amount. It should be noted that your out-of-state car insurance policy won’t work if you move to another state permanently.
What is the difference between cancellation and non-renewal of an insurance policy?
These two terms may sound alike, but their circumstances are different. Having an insurance policy cancelled can affect your ability to get coverage by other insurers, resulting in higher premiums. An insurance company cannot cancel a policy that has been enforced for over 60 days unless you have failed to pay the premium, have committed fraud or misrepresented yourself on your application, or have had your driver’s license suspended or revoked.
Non-renewal of insurance is when you or the insurance company have decided not to renew the policy once it expires. The reason why an insurer might not renew your policy could be due to a change in their policies or their products, not because of something you did. If you choose not to renew a policy or if an insurer doesn’t renew your policy, you won’t be necessarily charged with a higher premium from another insurance company.
Why did my car insurance premium increase?
Your insurance premium may increase for a number of different reasons. You may have moved into a different location where there is a higher crime rate or riskier climate. Your credit score may have lowered, making you a higher risk to insure. You may have had some traffic violations added to your driving record, which would raise your premium. For a more detailed list of possible reasons why your car insurance premiums got higher, click here.
What can I do to lower my car insurance costs?
There ares some little things you can do to help minimize your insurance premium. Adding some safety features or taking an advanced driving course could help you get a discount. You can also get a lower premium if you agree to pay a higher deductible on your policy. For more tips on how to lower the cost of your car insurance, click here.