Posted : 08/25/2009
As a driver, you know how crazy it gets on the road. Between distractions and the rush to get somewhere on time, accidents can and do happen. Fenders get bent and sometimes people get hurt. Even if you're just parked in your driveway, a tree limb can crash through your windshield or someone can steal your car. When the worst happens, auto insurance is there to protect you.
Auto insurance can protect you against the financial risk associated with personal injuries and property damage caused by auto accidents, theft or vandalism. All states require you to purchase at least a minimum amount of liability coverage. Other types of auto insurance coverage may be optional or required, depending on state regulations. If you have a car loan or lease, the lender will also generally require that you purchase coverage for the car itself.
This is the state-mandated legal coverage you'll be required to have (learn more):
This coverage will also pay for the legal costs associated with defending you against lawsuits related to accidents. To adequately protect your assets, you probably want to purchase much more than the minimum amount of coverage required in your state.
Although these coverages are optional in most states, it often makes sense to purchase them, unless you can afford to pay for losses yourself.
Most of these coverages are optional, relatively cheap and provide a lot of protection, although they may not be helpful in all circumstances.
That would be nice, but it's not always true. Here are some things you'll always need to cover yourself:
Many factors affect your auto insurance premium, including your age, the state in which you live, the make and model of your car, where your car is parked at night and your driving record. Although you can't do much about some of these factors, here are seven tips for managing your rate:
It's important to shop around for auto insurance coverage. Insurance premiums for the same coverage on the same car can vary widely among different insurers. A particularly good time to investigate your alternatives is when your current insurance policy is up for renewal, but you can shop and change policies at any time. Get quotes from several reputable companies, but don't let price be your only consideration. Make sure the coverage offered by each insurer meets your needs, and find out if the insurer has a solid financial strength rating.
Looking for different information? Have questions or feedback? Please let us know.
Originally posted September 17, 2004.
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