Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate drivers about...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Licensed Agent for 10 Years

UPDATED: May 20, 2019

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It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident auto insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one auto insurance provider and cannot guarantee quotes from any single provider. Our partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from many different companies please enter your ZIP code on this page to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance-related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

Auto insurance guides can conveniently be found all over the Internet.

From insurance company websites, consumer-oriented sites sponsored by state governments, financial magazines and newspapers to private organizations and blogs, smart shoppers can readily find helpful information when searching for automobile insurance.

Make auto insurance shopping easy by putting your ZIP code in the FREE box on this page!

Shopping for an efficient and economical auto policy can be a bit more complicated than searching for other insurance products since companies rate premiums for auto policies by taking many different factors into account, looking at both the driver and vehicle that will be insured.

Understanding the Basics

Kiplinger Magazine’s Smart Shoppers Guide to Auto Insurance starts by defining the different component parts of a typical auto policy.

Auto insurance is required in every US state.

Auto insurance protects you financially from the costs relating to accidents, including injuries that you or other drivers or passengers might sustain as well as damage to vehicles or other property that may be involved in an accident or other auto mishap.

Liability Coverage

The basic required coverage is liability, in case you are at fault for an accident that injures another individual or damages their property.

Each state sets minimum amounts of required liability coverage for a single person injured in an accident and two or more injured parties. The third component of liability auto insurance coverage is an amount reserved for property damage.

This coverage is expressed in a set of three numbers indicating how many thousands of dollars of liability insurance must minimally be provided in each of the three categories.

States like Florida, Ohio, Nevada, New Jersey and Louisiana require the least amount of insurance coverage. Florida only requires coverage amounts of 10/20/10.

States with the highest minimum liability coverage requirements include Alaska, 50/100/25 and Wisconsin, 50/100/55. Industry experts maintain that minimum liability coverage amounts are not nearly enough to cover the costs of an average accident.

They recommend coverage amounts of 250/500/100 to insure adequate financial protection.

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No-Fault Coverage

The second component of auto coverage is no-fault coverage. Many states require this coverage.

No-fault will protect you when it’s unclear who is to blame for an accident. No-fault coverage will also help eliminate costly delays and reduce legal costs.

Comprehensive, Collision and Uninsured Motorist

Collision coverage protects a vehicle no matter how damage might be caused. It’s always a good idea to consider this coverage. If you have a bank loan or other lien against your vehicle, it will generally be required by the bank or lien holder.

Uninsured motorist coverage protects you and your passengers when other drivers ignore state insurance laws by not having mandatory coverage. This coverage will pay for injuries or damage sustained in an accident when the responsible party is uninsured.

You may also need medical auto insurance coverage for emergency situations that your own health insurance policy doesn’t provide for. However, you should be careful not to duplicate coverage that you already have.

The last part of a standard auto policy is comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive covers the theft of your automobile and damage by causes other than accidents.

This includes weather and storm-related damage as well as damage caused by fire, vandalism, and forces of nature such as floods, earthquakes or other natural disasters.

More Consumer Oriented Information

Consumer Reports offers advice on many aspects of the car buying process including what to look for when purchasing insurance.

In addition to the coverage types listed above, Consumer Reports recommends PIP, or personal injury protection.

PIP coverage reimburses you for lost income and necessary home care treatment that results from an injury.

If you have other coverage for these items through health or disability policies, it is still wise to include a minimum amount of PIP in your auto policy.

Additional optional coverage items which may be included in your auto policy include roadside assistance and rental reimbursement.

How to Save Money

Ask your insurance company to be assigned to their top tier, the group least likely to file a claim and therefore the group that will pay the lowest auto premiums.

Make sure you check insurance rates before you buy your car as some models will cost significantly more to insure than others.

Ask for equipment discounts for things such as anti-lock brakes and anti-theft devices and alarm systems. Most companies also offer discounts to customers with several different policies such as home, life or disability insurance.

Professional or civic organizations, as well as other groups, often offer group discounts through specific insurance companies for their general membership.

Put your ZIP code in the FREE quote box provided to source auto insurance quotes in your area now!