How it works: Once I launched the quoting tool for auto insurance, I was greeted by a large-print brag that “Drivers Pay As Low As $29.32/Month for Car Insurance.” When I began filling in my vehicle information, the site offered to save me time by looking up the information for me—a frightening reminder of how much of our personal information is available online. The contact information fields were accompanied by text stating that “we respect your privacy” and “NO SPAM, privacy guaranteed.”
Besides being legally required in almost every state, auto insurance is an incredibly important part of your financial safety net. The average car insurance claim in 2013 was over $15,000 for bodily injury and over $3,200 for property damage. Car insurance is there to cover medical bills, vehicle repair or replacement, and keeps you off the hook for injury and damage liability for others. Your premiums will go up if you cause an accident, but that’s better than the alternative.
Auto insurance comparison websites, which let you instantly compare quotes from multiple insurance providers, can be a huge help in your quest for affordable car insurance. They provide accurate, personalized rates, discounts, and coverage options all on one site—much like your favorite travel comparison site that gives you airline ticket or hotel room options all on a single page.
A large part of an insurance premium depends on the type of car you drive. Is it a Corvette? Lamborghini? Maybe a Ferrari? Or perhaps you drive a Chevy Volt? Each car will impact the base cost of your monthly insurance mainly for the replacement value of the vehicle. In fact, some states and auto insurance companies will not cover certain vehicles. Also, high theft risk cars cost more to cover as well. Hummers, for example, are more costly than other SUVs and one of the determining aspects is the Hummer is stolen more often than other models. Either way, your premium may be higher due to one of those situations. Since you probably won't be going out and buying a new car just to lower your auto insurance, it's good to know what else can affect the costs of a new policy.
If you have a clean driving record — no at-fault accidents, speeding tickets, DUIs, or other recent citations — you'll probably pay less for car insurance. Conversely, a bad driving record will cause your rates to skyrocket: car insurance premiums typically increase by 29% after a DUI, 33% after an at-fault accident, and 15% after a speeding ticket in Virginia. The post-citation penalties assessed by car insurance companies after speeding tickets and at-fault accidents in Virginia align with nationwide averages, but drivers receive lower-than-average rate hikes after DUI violations. If you have a clean driving record, be sure to check for good-driving discounts from your insurer.
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