When buying auto insurance, there are a number of questions to consider as you look at coverages and companies to work with.
1. How Much Do You Love Your Car? Okay, your car is not a family member or even a person, but do you have a very special attachment to it? If so, you’ll want it fixed perfectly—or replaced with the same model—if anything happens to it. So shop for the fullest range of insurance, including collision, comprehensive and even glass coverage.
2. How Much Do You Drive? Do you absolutely need your car every day—for instance, to get to work? Or is owning a car mostly a matter of convenience that you could forgo if needed? Do you drive 100 miles a month or closer to 1,000 or more? Make sure your policy reflects how much you drive.
3. Will You Be Using Your Car for Work? If you use your car not just to get to work, but to perform work tasks, commercial auto insurance is a necessity. A personal auto policy will not provide coverage if you deliver pizzas, drive as a courier, transport paying passengers through a ride-share service or use your car for other commercial activities.
4. Where Do You Live—and Park? Where you live will impact your insurance rates—and it may be a factor in what coverage you purchase. For example, cars parked on the street in urban areas face a greater risk for theft or vandalism, so you may want to purchase comprehensive coverage.
5. Who Else Will Be Driving the Car? Generally, your car insurance will cover other occasional drivers. However, if other drivers live with you and use your car—whether a spouse, a teen driver or a housemate—they should be listed on your policy.
6. What Are Your Legal Obligations? Nearly every state requires that you carry minimum liability coverage for your car. At the very least, you need to make sure your policy complies with state mandates. However, the levels of required coverage are generally pretty low. To be safe, you’ll probably want additional liability coverage—keep in mind, if you are involved in a serious accident, you may be sued for a large sum of money.
7. Is Your Car Financed or Leased? If you still owe money on your car or have to return it in good condition when a lease expires, you’ll likely be required to insure the car for its full value—and even for any gap between what you owe and the car’s market value. Collision and comprehensive will cover damage to your car up to its value—and supplemental gap insurance will cover the rest.