How To Buy Car Insurance

When buying car insurance you want to make sure you are covered in case you are in an accident, but at the same time you don't want to pay any more than you have to. Essentially, you want to get the best coverage and the lowest possible price. This guide will help you do just that.

The first thing to do to prepare yourself to buy car insurance is to start with the mind set that there is a cheaper rate out there. You can save yourself hundreds, or even thousands per year if you continue to think this way through the buying process. In a recent quote comparison conducted by Ally Car Insurance, one older vehicle had quotes ranging from $991 to $1893 annually. A potential cost savings of $902 a year. If you've had a car accident or a speeding ticket or two, it's probably time to shop around.

After preparing yourself to look for the lowest car insurance rate possible, you need to determine how much coverage you need. Take a minute to find out how much coverage is required in your area. After you figure out how much insurance is required by law in your area, decide if you need any coverage in addition to the minimum.  Think carefully about how much additional coverage you need. If you are too cautious, you could end up spending money on a plan that you simply don't need. On the other hand, the minimum amounts required by law aren't always enough for everyone.

Car insurance experts recommend that anyone with larger amounts of assets, buy extra coverage on top of state minimums. If you are in an accident that is your fault, you can be sued for medical bills that exceed $50,000.

General recommendations for liability limits are $50,000 bodily injury liability for one person injured in an accident, $100,000 for all people injured in an accident and $25,000 property damage liability (that is, 50/100/25) considering half of the cars on the road are worth more than $20,000.  Still, you need to let your own personal financial situation guide you to the proper amount of coverage.

Next, you should check your driving record and the amount of coverage you currently have.  If you have tickets that are set to clear your record soon, then it's best to wait until those tickets clear before shopping for new car insurance.  IF you have a good number of tickets, accidents, and the like, then additional comprehensive coverage is for you.

Now that you have the right mind set and you know how much car insurance you need, it's time to go shopping! Begin by using our free car insurance quote calculator. The forms will take only a few minutes to complete.  While you are filling out the form, remind yourself of how much money you are going to save.

Once you have tried our free quote calculator, it's time to work the phones. Those companies you haven't been able to get an online quote from should be contacted. At times, doing this process verbally can actually go faster than the online counterpart, providing you have all the information regarding your driver license and vehicle registration close at hand. When you get a quote, be sure to confirm the price. Also, ask them to fax or e-mail the quote to you as a record.

Now that you've gather several quotes, it's time to choose the right car insurance company for you:

  1. Visit your state's department of insurance and check consumer complaint ratios and basic rate comparison surveys.
  2. Get in touch with local body shops or dealerships you trust and ask which insurance companies they recommend.
  3. Consider contacting an insurance agent for additional information about a particular company.
  4. Check out the financial strength ratings for an insurance company by referring to the A.M. Best and Standard & Poor's ratings.
  5. Look over J.D. Power and Associates' consumer satisfaction surveys reviewing auto insurance companies.

After you've decided on your new insurance provider and have begun coverage through them, it's time to cancel your old policy. Be sure to put proof of insurance in your vehicle. Lastly, decide what to do with all the money you've saved!

Standard Car Insurance v. Non-Standard Car Insurance

Standard insurance is car insurance that you can purchase through the voluntary marketplace. This is the insurance most people think of when they think about buying car insurance. It’s simply insurance that you get by shopping around and finding the best deal. Some people are considered high-risk and cannot get standard insurance. They must then search for non-standard auto insurance.

If you have a DUI, several traffic violation or if you are a new driver you will need non-standard car insurance. Anyone who drives any type of high powered vehicle may also need to find non-standard insurance.

Essentially, the difference between standard and non-standard car insurance is that standard is  for car owners with a good driving record and are "preferred drivers" while non-standard insurance is for people with a less than average driving record, no driving experience or a  driver with a specialized vehicle.

Also, you don’t have to be a non-standard driver to get non-standard insurance. Sometimes these non-standard insurers offer lower prices for people who could otherwise get standard car insurance.  Often, large, well-known standard insurance providers own non-standard providers and can pass on low rates.

As with all insurance, rates can vary quite a bit both between and among standard and non-standard insurance providers.

The best way to get the cheapest rate is to use our free quote service.  It will allow you to search for the lowest priced car insurance in your area and help you find both standard or non-standard car insurance.

Can I insure a foreign car in the United States?

Its most likely that you will be able to find at least one company that will insure your foreign automobile.

Your vehicle will be subject to US emission standards, as well as bumper and other safety standards. If you are shipping your car into the US, be prepared for these issues when it passes through customs. If the car passes through customs successfully, then there shouldn’t be any reason you can’t find insurance for the car.

As a reminder, you should also check with your local DMV for anything out of the ordinary they may require as far as foreign vehicles.

Finally, check here for a free quote on your foreign vehicle.

When do car insurance companies check my record?

Car insurance companies may check your driving record any time they choose. Some companies check records at periodic intervals while others check records randomly. Here are some the most common times your record could be checked:

  • When you first apply for coverage
  • A customer initiated change to the policy
  • New/Removed/Changed vehicles on the policy
  • Policy renewal time
  • Every other renewal cycle

How much will a speeding ticket affect my car insurance rate?

The amount your car insurance premium will change when you get a speeding ticket will vary quite a bit depending on the state you live in and the company you are insured through.

Some state have laws that limit how much and when your rate can change when a traffic violation occurs. Especially if this is your first ticket, then your rate may not change at all.

Also individual companies have different policies they follow as well. Some will raise your rate more if the violation is more severe, while other have exact amounts they’ll increase your rate by no matter what.

The best way to find out is to get multiple quotes with and without the speeding ticket from multiple companies. That way you’ll know the exact amount the ticket affects your rate, and you will find the lowest priced premium too. We provide free quotes to everyone for this very purpose.