In simple terms, car insurance is a contract that you have with an auto insurance company where you pay a regular fee in exchange for the promise to pay for certain kinds of coverage in the event of an accident. The auto insurance company will cover medical fees and vehicle repair damages up to the amount in the insurance policy that you’ve signed up for.
Source: Insure.com, from a study commissioned by Insure.com from Quadrant Information Services. Averages are based on a 40-year-old male driver who commutes 12 miles to work, with policy limits of 100/300/50 ($100,000 for injury liability for one person, $300,000 for all injuries and $50,000 for property damage in an accident) and a $500 deductible on collision and comprehensive insurance. The policy includes uninsured-motorist coverage. Rates were averaged across multiple ZIP codes and insurance companies. Average rates are for comparative purposes; your rate will depend on your personal factors.
Collision and comprehensive only cover the market value of your car, not what you paid for it—and new cars depreciate quickly. If your car is totaled or stolen, there may be a “gap” between what you owe on the vehicle and your insurance coverage. To cover this, you may want to look into purchasing gap insurance to pay the difference. Note that for leased vehicles, gap coverage is usually rolled into your lease payments.
Some discounts, coverages, payment plans and features are not available in all states or all GEICO companies. Motorcycle and ATV coverages are underwritten by GEICO Indemnity Company. Homeowners, renters and condo coverages are written through non-affiliated insurance companies and are secured through the GEICO Insurance Agency, Inc. GEICO is a registered service mark of Government Employees Insurance Company, Washington, D.C. 20076; a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary. © 2018 GEICO
The amount of coverage is another big factor in determining your premium. If you're comfortable with a high deductible and the possible out-of-pocket expenses that might occur, you can lower your premium. Similarly, lower liability limits can also decrease your premium. But always remember that means you may pay more in the long run. For more detailed information, check out all of the great resources that netQuote has to offer to help you understand your car insurance comparison.
While everyone loves to save money, when shopping for car insurance, price shouldn't be the only factor you consider. An Insure.com survey of 3,700 customers yielded the following results, with all scores out of 100.You'll see that though Geico is the cheapest car insurance company among those surveyed in Insurance.com's rate analysis, Allstate scored No. 1 in value for the price, customer service and claims handling. Allstate and Progressive have higher overall scores than Geico. Although by a narrow margin, Geico placed last on customer service, and was beat by Allstate, Nationwide and Farmers on claims handling.
The Zebra is another free auto insurance comparison website. The site’s name refers to its founders’ goal of presenting “insurance in black and white.” The Zebra has a few articles about choosing car insurance, a car insurance calculator, and some basic information about other types of insurance in addition to its quoting tool. It is rated 4.7 out of 5, and has 565 user reviews on ShopperApproved.
If the insurance company is willing to renew your policy, in most cases you’ll receive notice a minimum of 14 days before the expiration date of your policy. The notice generally includes how much you have to pay as well as when you have to pay by. If you pay your premiums every month, you won’t have to do anything as the company will simply continue to draw payment for your account on the same date every month. However, if you pay your premium as an annual lump sum, you should talk to your insurance company to see how you can make the payment.
A higher deductible means lower premiums, your monthly or annual price. But if you get in an accident, you will have to pay more than if your deductibles were lower. For example, if you have a $500 deductible on a $2,000 accident, you’d pay $500 before your insurance company covers the other $1,500. With a $1,000 deductible, you’re paying $1,000 and your insurer covers the remaining $1,000.
Know when to cut coverage. Don’t strip away coverage just for the sake of a lower price. You’ll need full coverage car insurance to satisfy the terms of an auto loan, and you’ll want it as long as your car would be a financial burden to replace. But for older cars, you can drop comprehensive and collision coverage, which only pay out up to your car’s current value, minus the deductible.