Top 6 Things To Look For When Shopping For Car Insurance

Written By Mary Beth Eastman
Last updated December 6, 2018

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December 6, 2018

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

Your car insurance policy should include several features that protect you from various types of damage. Before you commit to a policy, make sure it has these top six features. Otherwise, you might not have the coverage you need after an accident.

Perhaps the most important part of any car insurance policy, bodily injury liability covers the medical costs and lost income of anyone you injure on the road. Nearly every state requires you to carry some level of bodily injury liability. The specific amount varies significantly, though.

In Arizona and California, you need liability coverage for $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident. In Alaska and Maine, though, you need coverage for $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident.

Property damage liability pays for the cost of repairing or replacing another driver’s vehicle. Every state requires at least $10,000 of property damage liability. Many states require at least $25,000 of property damage liability.

When you get quotes from insurance companies, they should include the minimum bodily injury and property damage liability required by your state. Make sure you double-check, though. You do not want to have an accident with less coverage than you need.

Personal injury protection covers your medical expenses and lost wages after an accident. It’s important to recognize that bodily injury liability does not pay your medical fees. You need personal injury protection to avoid the cost of medical attention.

Most states don’t require personal injury protection, but some do. Even if your state doesn’t require personal injury protection, it’s a good idea to buy it.

Collision coverage pays for repairs to your vehicle when another vehicle causes damage. Collision coverage typically comes with a deductible that you must pay before the insurance company starts to pick up the tab. The higher your deductible is, the lower your collision coverage will cost.

Comprehensive coverage pays for damage to your car caused by anything other than a collision. If your vehicle gets stolen, vandalized, or set on fire, comprehensive coverage will pay for the repairs. Like collision coverage, you have to pay a deductible.

Even if your state requires drivers to carry insurance, you can’t count on everyone to follow the law. Uninsured motorist coverage protects you when someone without enough insurance is at fault for a collision.

The amount of coverage that you must buy depends on where you live. Ideally, though, your car insurance policy should include all six of these features. If you can afford them, they give you peace of mind after a collision.

About the Author

Mary Beth Eastman

Mary Beth Eastman serves as the content manager for Simple. Thrifty. Living, where she is dedicated to helping readers use money and credit wisely. Mary Beth believes that access to the right financial information paired with a growth mindset are essential tools for getting out of debt and building wealth. Mary Beth has a degree in Journalism from Bowling Green State University and has focused her 20-year journalism career on putting readers front and center, carefully considering their concerns and presenting information that will help them in their everyday lives. She has won numerous statewide journalism awards. Her writing on personal finance as been featured on numerous websites in addition to Simple. Thrifty. Living, including Huffington Post and Lexington Law blog. Mary Beth resides in Pittsburgh, Pa., with her family and two rescue dogs.

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