How to Buy Car Insurance

Follow these helpful hints before you sign on the dotted line. You will need:
1. A credit report;
2. Knowledge of local law;
3. Careful consideration; and
4. Competing car insurance quotes.
Optional: Extra coverage

Step 1
Check your credit report for errors. Insurance companies use your credit rating to help determine your rate. Request a copy of your credit report by logging on to . You are entitled to one free copy per year.

Step 2
Find out the minimum car insurance required by law on your state’s Department of Insurance website. Only New Hampshire and Wisconsin don’t require car insurance. But since they do require people to pay for accidents they cause, many people carry it anyway.

Step 3
Consider buying more Liability Insurance than your state requires. Consumer groups recommend the minimum of $100,000 for injuries per person, $300,000 per accident, and $100,000 in Property Damage Liability.
Most American car insurance does not cover you if you are driving outside the United States. Some policies are valid in Canada and Mexico but check if your coverage meets those countries’ requirements.

Step 4
Collision coverage pays for the repair or a replacement of your vehicle. If your car is more than five years old or worth less than $4,000, it may not be worth it.

Step 5
Comprehensive Coverage covers you if someone steals your vehicle or if it is damaged by a windstorm, fire, hale or vandalism. But if your car is more than twelve years old – unless it’s a valuable vintage set of wheels – the cost may outweigh the potential benefit.

Step 6
Weigh the advantage of other add-ons such as Extra Medical Coverage, Emergency Road Side Assistance, and Glass Breakage. Consider buying Uninsured or Under-Insured Motorist Protection even if your state does not require it. This provision protects you when someone with no insurance and causes a collision with you.

Step 7
Shop around. Get a general quote from an insurance company’s website by plugging in basic information like your Zip Code and car model. Some websites offer quotes from several companies so you can compare rates. Just be aware that these quotes reflect a bare bones policy with no add-ons.

Step 8
Once you choose a company, ask if you are eligible for discounts. Having airbags, anti-lock brakes, or an anti-theft device can reduce your rates. So can a clean driving record, carpooling, a car with low mileage, and good grade if you are a student. Drivers between 50 and 65 may also qualify for discounts.

Step 9
Choose the highest deductible you can afford in order to pay the lowest premium possible.

Step 10
Once you decide on a policy, pay the entire premium upfront to save the monthly service fee.
Did you know? – An estimated 14% of drivers in the U.S. are uninsured. Don’t become a part of that side, get car insurance quotes online.