Have a plan in place. For instance, hopping on to the claim filing process right away will make the process easier for you in the long term.
SmartFinancial provides information, advice and assistance on all of your tough insurance questions.
Have a plan in place. For instance, hopping on to the claim filing process right away will make the process easier for you in the long term.
High school is the starting point for many drivers. Car insurance companies know that new drivers may be struggling to make the right choices out on the road.
There are some very specific things a driver can do to impact the rate they are paying for auto insurance.
When calculating auto insurance-related policies, car insurance companies are reckoning on how much they will have to pay on all claims for the year.
Most U.S. states require proof of insurance for drivers to operate a car. However, each state comes with its own set of rules.
If you have a loss that is covered by the terms of your car insurance, you can file an insurance claim with your insurance company for coverage, compensation or for representation if you are liable for damages. For example, if you have an accident, you can file a claim to cover the cost of the damages to your automobile. If your car is stolen, you can file a claim for compensation for the loss. You need to file a claim on whether an accident or loss is your fault or not.
A deductible is the amount you need to pay before your insurance company begins to pay for your damages or loss. You choose the deductible amount when you buy insurance. The lower your deductible, the higher your premiums (payments) will be and vice versa. When choosing a deductible, consider whether or not you can pay the deductible amount if you find yourself at a loss. A high deductible on a newer, more expensive vehicle may result in great savings but ask yourself if you’ll have the emergency fund to pay that high deductible if you have a collision. The savings on an older, less valuable car will not be much if you choose a high deductible, so it’s sensible to keep the deductible low.
An insurance endorsement is an addition to an insurance policy, changing the terms or scope of the original policy. Endorsements are also called riders or floaters. Some common car insurance endorsements include gap insurance, new car replacement, roadside assistance, and car rental insurance.
When you buy a car insurance policy, you are signing a contract specifying what you pay in exchange for specific terms of coverage on your vehicle. Your policy will include your declarations page, which has a basic policy and vehicle information, the amount you agree to pay and your deductible amounts. If you have any, you will also see your endorsements and discounts here. In your policy, you will also find your insuring agreement with terms of overage as well as exclusions and conditions. At the very end of an auto policy, you will find a definitions section, which goes over terms used throughout the policy.
The premium is the amount you agree to pay in exchange for protection from an insurance company. Annual and monthly payments are how most people pay for insurance. Others pay semi-annually or quarterly.
A liability, in general, is an obligation to, or something you owe someone, as a legal financial debt. Liability insurance protects you against legal costs and payouts you would otherwise be responsible to pay out-of-pocket.
This form of coverage is required in every state. It covers bodily injuries to a third party in an accident that was deemed your fault.
This form of coverage is required in every state. It covers property damage and loss of use to a third party.
This type of protection is also known as “no-fault insurance” and is required in some states. PIP will cover you if you’ve been injured in an accident, regardless of who’s at fault. Coverages include income continuation, loss of services, funeral expenses and child-care expenses.
This coverage pays for damages and loss other than that caused by a collision. It is subject to a deductible.
This coverage pays for damages and loss caused by impact with another automobile, object or person. It is subject to a deductible.
This coverage pays for medical expenses if you’re injured in an accident caused by someone who doesn’t have liability insurance.
This coverage pays for medical expenses if you’re injured in an accident caused by someone whose liability limits are lower than what’s needed.
This coverage pays the value of a brand-new vehicle of the same make and model, minus the deductible if your car is declared a total loss.
This coverage helps you get back and driving if you have a roadside breakdown.
If you rent a car while yours is in the shop, you are eligible for $50 a day up to 30 days, if the damage to the car was a covered loss.
Without charge, you can replace major parts like tires, brakes, and batteries regardless of wear and tear and depreciation value at the time of the accident.
This protection covers you if your car is declared a total loss and you owe more on the car than its covered depreciated value.
If you drive for a rideshare company like Uber or Lyft, this coverage protects you during that period of time when you’re covered by neither your personal auto insurance nor your rideshare company’s insurance.
Drivers with a clean policy may be fully forgiven for their first accident without seeing a price increase as a result of the accident.
Do you know what replacement parts will be used to repair your vehicle after it’s been in an accident? This coverage guarantees original parts made by the car manufacturer, not a third party.
Certain parts of your profile affect your car insurance rates more than others, and every insurer has their own specific formula to decide how much risk you pose. The following are the most heavily weighted factors used to determine car insurance rates:
Young drivers pay the highest rates for auto insurance. Teens are seen as the riskiest to insure because statistically they drive less cautiously and are involved in more accidents than any other age group. Your rates begin to be more reasonable at age 20 but are still dramatically high until 25 or 26. Age 50 is on the other side of the spectrum and sees a dip in auto insurance rates.
|Connecticut||Delaware||District of Columbia|
|New Jersey||New Mexico||New York|
|North Carolina||North Dakota||Ohio|
|Rhode Island||South Carolina||South Dakota|
Liability insurance is required in nearly every state. Some states require more coverage. No-fault states, for instance, require Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. See car insurance rates by location
Each state has different requirements. Some only require liability insurance whereas “no-fault’ states require drivers to carry personal injury protection, also called PIP. Even if the state you live in only requires that you carry liability insurance when leasing or financing a car, the lienholder will most likely require that you also buy collision and comprehensive insurance in case you have an accident.
You can also choose the limits of protection. You’ll see a breakdown of the limits you choose on the declaration page of your policy packet. The limits of coverage will be expressed like this: 20/40/15. What you are covered for in this instance is:
$20,000 for bodily injury liability $40,000 per accident for bodily injury liability $15,000 per accident for property damage liability.
The make/model and year of your car, SUV or truck will greatly impact your auto insurance rate. For one thing, your rate is based on the overall value of the vehicle, so the more expensive your vehicle is the more you pay.
A history of car crashes, a couple of cars stolen and some DUIs will raise your rates. However, if you have no incidents within a given year, your rate may drop.
|State||High Risk Drivers||Safe Drivers*|
|District of Columbia||$153.42||$171.24|
Some states do not use credit scores to determine car insurance rates while others do. According to the Federal Trade Commission’s data, drivers with lower credit scores file more claims than drivers with good credit. In addition, the claims filed by drivers with lower credit scores are usually more expensive.
|Credit Rating||US avg monthly rate|
The number of years you have been driving will affect your rate, so if you avoid filing claims (and accidents), your rate should decrease over time. With experience, drivers make fewer mistakes that lead to collisions and theft.
Your location is also a big determining factor for your auto insurance rate. Your zip code tells a car insurance carrier how prone you are to floods, crime, wildfires, and other perils that may cause damage or loss of your vehicle.
Most states still use gender as a determining factor in setting car insurance rates. While most people assume that male teens pay the highest car insurance rates, the truth is that rates vary depending on the carrier. Some carriers charge female teens more while others charge male teens more. The numbers continue to be just as haphazard as the driver gets older. So, gender is a determining factor but not in any consistent, quantifiable way.
Continuous coverage is one of the most important factors used to determine vehicle insurance rates. If you were licensed without insurance, it’s often assumed that you were driving uninsured, a fact that renders a driver much riskier to insure.
If you have filed claims or had claims filed against you, you’re likely to have a much higher rate than someone with one or no accidents. At-fault accidents take the biggest hit on your rate.
The number of times a vehicle has traded hands and the type of car ownership also affect insurance rates. In other words, your rates vary according to whether your car is owned, leased or financed.
Your annual mileage is a big determining factor for rates. This is because the more you drive the more at-risk you are of getting into an accident. Some carriers offer considerable discounts to people who drive less than 7500 or 5000 miles a year.
Married drivers are seen as lower risk than single ones, mainly because they file fewer claims than a single driver.
If you have the minimum state requirement for car insurance, you will pay less than if you add on coverage. State requirements for minimum coverage vary, with some states requiring only liability insurance while others require liability and personal injury protection (PIP).
After a claim is filed and processed, you are required to pay a deductible amount before coverage takes effect. You set a deductible rate when you first get insured. Usually, you choose from the following: $250, $500 or $1,000. The less you pay for a deductible, the higher your premiums will be and vice versa. To lower your premiums, you can raise your deductible.
If you prefer to start your car insurance quote online, you can use an insurance comparison-shopping engine, like SmartFinancial, to get many free cheap car insurance quotes, which will accurately reflect the prices offered in your area and based on your information.
Once you start the process on SmartFinancial.com, you’ll answer some questions, which will determine how accurate your online car insurance quote will be. Usually, when you’re given the official quote, the information will be on hand and in your records so it does you no good to lie. In fact, if you’re caught lying, your car insurance rates may go up because you’ll be seen as a potentially high-risk driver. an insurance comparison engine like SmartFinancial’s can give you an accurate quote in 5 minutes unless you have multiple cars and multiple drivers, which would tack on another couple of minutes.
SmartFinancial only partners with the top carriers in the country. Some of these insurance companies work in every state, others do not. Learn more about each carrier below.
|Kemper Personal Insurance||American National P&C|
|American National P||Concord Group|
|Countryway Insurance||North Carolina Farm Bureau|
|Bear River||Buckeye Insurance Group|
|Pekin Insurance||MMG Insurance Company|
|Virginia Farm Bureau||Utica National Ins Group|
|Co-Operative Ins Companies||PEMCO|
|General Casualty||Ohio Mutual Ins Group|
|IMT Insurance Company||Ameriprise Group|
|Partners Mutual Insurance Co||Farm Bureau of ID Group|
|Indiana Farmers Mutual Ins||Farm Bureau Mutual (IA Group)|
|Kentucky Farm Bureau||Farmers Mutual of Nebraska|
|EMC Insurance||West Bend Mutual|
|Mississippi Farm Bureau||New Jersey Manufacturers|
|Peerless Insurance Company||GAINSCO Auto Insurance|
|Capital Insurance Group||Jupiter Auto Insurance|
|Commerce Group Inc||Texas Farm Bureau Group|
|MO Farm Bureau Services||Safety Group|
|Tennessee Farmers||Plymouth Rock Assurance|
|Direct Auto||United Farm Bureau of IN Group|
|Auto-Owners Insurance Co||Titan|
|Patriot Group||Grinnell Mutual|
|Verti Insurance||Western Reserve|
|Erie||Rural Mutual Insurance|
|Norfolk and Dedham Group||Umialik Insurance|
|Penn National||Mutual Of Enumclaw|
|Southern Farm Bureau||Western National|
|Georgia Farm Bureau||North Star|
|Columbia Insurance Group||Rockford Mutual Insurance|
|Country||Union Mutual Fire Group|
|State Farm||Oklahoma Farmers Union|
|ACCC Insurance Company||Hastings Mutual Insurance Co|
|American Family||Cincinnati Insurance|
|Cameron Mutual Group||ACE American Pool|
|Celina Insurance Group||Arbella Insurance Group|
|SAFECO||First Chicago Insurance|
|Westfield||Pure Companies Grp|
|Colorado Farm Bureau Mutual||Acuity|
|Auto Club||Atlantic States Insurance|
|National Grange Mutual||Vermont Mutual|
|ALFA||National Farmers Union P&C|
|Kemper Auto Premium||Farm Bureau Ins of MI|
|National Farmers Union P||Quincy Mutual|
|GMAC Insurance Group||Shelter|
|Oklahoma Farm Bureau||Alliance United|
|Frankenmuth Mutual||MEEMIC Insurance Company|
|Mercury||Hallmark Insurance Group|
|State Auto||Workmen's Auto|
|Pioneer State Mutual Ins Co||Republic Indemnity|
|Direct General Insurance||Esurance|
|Southern Ins Co of Virginia||Victoria|
|Donegal Mutual Insurance Co||American Independent Ins Co|
|Automobile Club of Missouri||Safe Auto|
|Sentry||Kemper Auto | Infinity|
|Wolverine Mutual||Auto Club Group|
|Bristol West||New York Central Mutual Fire|
|Tower Insurance Company of New York||United Automobile Ins Group|
|Home State Ins Group||Allmerica|
|Maryland Auto Insurance Fund||AIG|
|Central Mutual Insurance Co||Preferred Mutual|
|General Agents Group|
Although these jobs can provide a much-needed stream of income, they also come with a few risks. A personal auto insurance policy may not be enough.
Some people wrongly believe that an out-of-state ticket will somehow “go away” once they return home. However, you will most likely be tracked down.
The average dollar loss per auto theft is $8,407, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Here's what you need to know about car thefts.
No-fault states are different in how they handle accidents. See which 12 states are no fault states and what it means if you live in one.
Costco sells auto and home policies and more. Here's everything you need to know about Costco auto insurance and how to beat their rates. Let's dive in!
Even if you have poor credit or a terrible credit score, SmartFinancial can help you find the best coverage in Virginia.
If Ohio’s BMV has suspended your driving privileges, you might have to purchase an SR22 policy to reinstate your license.
One of the most popular insurance discounts is the use of telematics and usage-based insurance programs like Allstate’s Drivewise program.
If a driver is charged with a DWI or DUI and faces criminal charges, the difference between a DUI vs. DWI will be negligible to that driver.
Owning a car comes at a price; however, it’s possible to get cheaper car insurance rates and by shopping around for the best coverage.
Should you buy the rental car company's insurance? Find out.
Only about 50% of rideshare drivers have insurance. Is it required?
Learn the difference between liability and full coverage auto insurance.
How uninsured motorist coverage works if you're involved in an accident.
Understanding PIP and the 15 states that require it.
What is a deductible and how to choose the right amount.
What comprehensive insurance covers and how it differs from collision.
What is liability insurance for auto insurance? Is it required and what are the limits?
Everything you need to know about gap insurance. Learn what what it is and whether or not it's required.
All drivers are legally required to have auto insurance. Learn more about the coverages that are available and the consequences of being uninsured.
Find out what auto insurance covers and explore the different types of coverage including comprehensive, liability, and gap.