How to shop for auto insurance online

Shopping for auto insurance can be very complicated or quite simple depending upon your situation and/or your viewpoint. Knowing how to shop for auto insurance online will be driven by you, your needs and/or wants.

Understanding Auto Insurance

Definition- Auto insurance is a contract between you and the insurance company that protects you against financial loss in the event of an accident or theft. In exchange for your paying a premium, the insurance company agrees to pay your losses as outlined in your policy.

Auto insurance provides coverage for:

  • Property—such as damage to or theft of your car
  • Liability—–your legal responsibility to others for bodily injury or property damage
  • Medical—–the cost of treating injuries, rehabilitation and sometimes lost wages and funeral expenses

Who is covered on my policy?

All American Family

Your auto policy will cover you and other family members on your policy. Your policy also provides coverage if someone who is not on your policy is driving your car with your consent.

Your personal auto policy only covers personal driving, whether you’re commuting to work, running errands or taking a trip. It will not provide coverage if you use your car for commercial purposes—for instance, if you deliver pizzas.

Personal auto insurance will also not provide coverage if you use your car to provide transportation to others through a ride-sharing service such as Uber or Lyft. Some auto insurers, however, are now offering supplemental insurance products (at additional cost) that extend coverage for vehicle owners providing ride-sharing services.

Is auto insurance mandatory?

Auto insurance requirements vary from state to state. If you’re financing a car, your lender may also have its own requirements. Nearly every state requires car owners to carry:

  • Bodily injury liability–injuries or death that you or another driver causes while driving your car.
  • Property damage liability–damage that you or another driver operating your car causes to another vehicle or other property, such as a fence, building or utility pole.

In addition, many states require that you carry:

  • Medical payments or personal injury protection (PIP) — reimbursement for medical expenses for injuries to you or your passengers. It will also cover lost wages and other related expenses.
  • Uninsured motorist coverage–reimburses you when an accident is caused by a driver who does not have auto insurance—or in the case of a hit-and-run.

What other types of auto insurance coverage are typical?

Checklist

  • Collision — reimburses you for damage to your car that occurs as a result of a collision with another vehicle or other object—e.g., a tree or guardrail—when you’re at fault.
  • Comprehensive — provides coverage against theft and damage caused by an incident other than a collision, such as fire, flood, vandalism, hail, falling rocks or trees and other hazards.
  • Glass Coverage –-provides coverage from windshield damage, which is common. Some auto policies include no-deductible glass coverage, which also includes side windows, rear windows and glass sunroofs.

In summary, an ideal way to begin shopping for auto insurance is as follows:

  • Identify what coverage your state requires.
  • If you have an outstanding loan on your car, you will need to add collision and comprehensive coverage to your list of requirements.
  • If you own property and/or have a family, let me suggest selecting liability limits higher than your state required minimums.
  • When selecting deductibles, make sure you are not just looking at premium (the higher the deductible, the lower the premium). If the deductible selected is too high and you are involved in an at fault accident, It is your responsibility to pay for that portion of the repairs to your vehicle.

Finally, I have included a list of auto insurance carriers to aid in your search:

List of car insurance companies

 Company Headquarters
1State Farm Bloomington, IL
2Progressive Mayfield, OH
3Allstate Corp. Northbrook, IL
4USAA San Antonio, TX
5Liberty Mutual Boston, MA
6Farmers Insurance Group Woodland Hills, CA
7Nationwide Columbus, OH
8American Family Insurance Group Madison, WI
9Travelers Saint Paul, MN
10Auto Club Exchange (AAA Insurance) Costa Mesa, CA
11Erie Insurance Erie, PA
12Kemper Chicago, IL
13National General Holdings Corp New York, NY
14CSAA Insurance Exchange Walnut Creek, CA
15Auto-Owners Insurance Lansing, MI
16Mercury Insurance Los Angeles, CA
17MetLife New York, NY
18The Hartford Hartford, CT
19Auto Club Insurance Association Dearborn, MI
20Amica Lincoln, RI

If you have any questions about the insurance basics, let me know in the comments below. I have years of experience in this arena and will be happy to address any concerns.

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