Q: Am I obliged to carry insurance coverage with my auto?
A: Nearly all states in the US legally require all drivers to have minimum amounts of liability coverage with their vehicles. In each state the minimum amounts of liability coverage are different, and not meeting these requirements usually leads to fines, suspension of license and even prison time. Even in states where insurance coverage is not a legal requirement, you should carry financial proof of your ability to pay for the damage caused in case of an accident. When it comes to other types of insurance coverage, outside liability protection, these are purely optional in all states and don’t have any legal limits or requirements.
Q: Do I need an insurance policy before buying a car?
A: In case you’re buying your first auto and never had any insurance before, you will need to buy a policy first in order to be able to take the car from the dealer. Moreover, if you’re financing the purchase using an auto loan, your lending company is likely to impose you with specific insurance requirements in order to perform the purchase.
If you already have an insurance policy and changing cars you have 2-4 weeks to inform your insurance company about the change, and the provider will adjust your insurance rates to the respective car make and model. Remember to inform your provider on time, otherwise you risk having no coverage with your new vehicle for a certain period of time.
If you’re simply adding a new car to an existing policy without getting rid of the old one, the rules vary from company to company. Some providers automatically provide coverage for the newly-added vehicle, while others require you to notify them about the addition in a specified period of time. It’s better to ask your agent about that first.
Q: How to get cheap auto insurance?
A: First of all, get as many auto insurance quotes from different providers as possible. This will allow you to comparison shop for the best policy, and most of you know how comparison shopping helps getting the lowest price for the best product or service. The rule applies here, too.
If you’re looking into purchasing a new car you should consider its insurance costs too. Ask the insurance agent about the most insurance-friendly vehicles if the rates really matter for you. Usually, the cars with the lowest theft rates, low repair costs, and good safety scores are the cheapest to insure. And this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to buy a cheap car in order to get cheap car insurance.
Other ways of lowering your rates include certain financial risks, however they are perfectly legal. First of all you can increase your deductibles and your rates will automatically go down, however you will be required to pay more out of own pocket before the coverage actually kicks in. You can also revise your coverage amounts, and set them lower than initially. However, it is highly recommended that you carry more liability coverage than the state minimum requirements in order to assure you have the necessary funds for paying out a serious accident.