Some people wait years before officially owning their first car. Your first car might have belonged to your parents. Or, if you are married, your car might officially be in your spouse’s name. Regardless of circumstances, as soon as you get your first car in your name you must get your own car insurance.
If you are a first-time insurance buyer, then you might feel a bit confused about what the right coverage for you is. You naturally want strong, effective coverage while still being able to afford it, too.
1. Always Get the Required Coverage
Forty-nine states require minimum levels of auto insurance coverage to be carried by all registered drivers. For example, Texas requires at least:
$30,000 bodily injury liability insurance per person
$60,000 bodily injury liability insurance per accident
$25,000 property damage liability insurance
On the other hand, Florida requires:
$10,000 personal injury protection (PIP)
$10,000 property damage liability insurance
Most states require some form of liability insurance because they require drivers who cause accidents to take some financial responsibility for the losses they cause third parties (such as another driver harmed as a result of their mistakes).
2. Take it a Step Further, and Get More Coverage
You must always carry at least your state’s required coverage, but it’s important to remember that this is just a minimum requirement. It is recommended that you carry higher liability coverage limits in addition to more expansive coverage like:
Comprehensive and Collision protection for vehicle repairs
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Personal Injury Protection
Rental car coverage, roadside assistance and towing protection
3. Determining Your Limits and Deductibles
Though buying more coverage might increase your policy costs, you’ll often benefit from the investment if you face a significant loss in the future. You also can tailor the terms of your policy to your advantage.
Your coverage limits are the maximum amounts your insurer will pay for vehicle repairs, liability costs, etc. It’s a good idea to carry high enough limits to cover all the potential costs that might result from an accident or other vehicle hazard. However, you shouldn’t carry limits that are too high to adequately reflect the value of your vehicle.
The deductible is how much money you will pay for a claim before your insurance company covers the rest. Often, by carrying a higher deductible, you can reduce your premium costs. Still, you shouldn’t carry such a high deductible that you cannot afford to pay it should a claim arise.
Your insurance agent will be your dedicated assistant in helping you choose exactly what auto insurance benefits are best for you. In the end, your plan will be tailored to help you get expansive benefits at a value that doesn’t stress your budget. As a new vehicle owner, you’ll benefit from the quality assistance your agent can provide.
Make a point to work with your insurance agent to determine the coverage limits that are right for you. They can help you determine how best to structure your policy. Your financial solvency, as well as the value of the vehicle, might both play roles in determining the limits you choose. Work hard to strike the appropriate balance.