It can be frustrating to handle repairs, medical bills, or even lawsuits without support after having a car accident. In a guide on car accidents by The Intelligent Driver, you have to pay an average of $ 1,410,000 for each fatality in an accident. If there are no fatalities, body damage from the accident will cost you $78,900. While minor crashes and no-injury accidents are relatively cheap, property damage will still cost you thousands—around $ 8, 900. These costs do not include your hospital bills and car repairs.
But with auto insurance, the logistics and financial losses in the aftermath will be much easier to manage. This is because auto-insurance contracts help manage the financial costs of car repairs as well as hospital bills. Insurance companies cover death and property damage from an accident that you are at fault. And should a lawsuit come up, there are comprehensive contracts as well as add-on coverages that can help you and your finances through the legal proceedings.
Auto insurance, then, is inarguably essential when it comes to owning a car. But for first-time car owners, figuring out how to get car insurance and which coverage should you go for can be complicated. To this end, here’s a first-time owner’s guide to auto insurance.
Prepare the required documents
Whether you’re in the process of canvassing quotes or already availing of auto insurance, having all the necessary documents ready helps things run more smoothly and process your insurance faster. Know the birth dates, social security numbers, and driver’s license numbers of everyone that will be included in the policy. Have each of their birth certificates or valid IDs ready. Insurance agencies also need to know how you and other drivers in the family fared in the driving lessons, so prepare documents that certify you’ve completed those courses.
Determine your coverage
When looking for car insurance offerings, look into how much coverage you need. You can do this by identifying which coverages are required by the law, and then looking into optional add-ons that you can afford.
As first-time car owners, make sure to get auto liability insurance as the law requires all car owners to have it. It takes care of your medical and legal expenses in the aftermath of an incident. On the other hand, other coverage requirements depend on the state. In New York, for instance, bodily injury insurance must be at least $25,000. But in Florida, bodily injury liability isn’t even required. Instead, Floridans need Personal Injury Protection coverage. Inquire which ones are required in your state, and prioritize legally mandated coverages before considering add-ons.
When it comes to add-ons, there are coverage types that are optional but extremely beneficial should an accident happen. Comprehensive and collision plans are examples of this. Time explains that these optional coverages are recommended for first-time car owners who have new vehicles because they get a higher post-crash payout compared to older cars. However, always factor in your financial capacity when looking into getting coverage add-ons.
Aim to lower your costs
The Balance states that auto insurance is more expensive for first-time car owners (especially for those who are young). This is because insurance companies can access your driver records, and the longer you have been driving, the more trustworthy they deem you are with your car. First-time car owners are assessed as having higher risks of car crashes, so insurance premiums are higher.
Fortunately, Sound Dollar’s post on how to save on auto insurance for first-time car owners shares plenty of tips. Some of these involve increasing your deductible or what you have to pay out-of-pocket for repairs, maintaining a good credit score, and taking good care of your vehicle by parking it in a garage and checking on its safety equipment regularly.
But one of their biggest tips is to canvas car insurance quotes. Have at least three quotes to choose from to vary your options. For example, Nationwide’s insurance costs an average of $1,540 a year. Meanwhile, Travelers’ is slightly cheaper with an average yearly rate of $1,435. Both offer accident forgiveness as well as discount programs.
There are also insurance discounts for students who drive. The amount that gets subtracted from the insurance may vary depending on the company.
Deciding on the right car insurance requires a lot of time and effort, especially for first-time car owners who have only higher rates to choose from. But with thorough research on how auto insurance works and available rates, you will arrive at an insurance contract that works with your budget and preferences.
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