Selecting auto insurance can involve a lot of choices, especially if you are buying coverage for your car or truck for the first time. Here are five things to consider before you sign to help you get the best protection in case the worst happens.
Your State’s Minimum Auto Insurance Requirement
Most states in the US require some level of auto insurance coverage. This is to protect you and other motorists who share the highway with you. To register or renew registration for a vehicle in Missouri, for example, you must have the following minimum liability insurance:
- $25,000 per person for bodily injury
- $50,000 per accident for bodily injury
- $25,000 per accident for property
- $25,000 for bodily injury per person
- $50,000 for bodily injury per accident
You must keep proof of this insurance with you in your vehicle in case you are in an accident or are stopped by law enforcement.
Your Level of Risk
The requirements above are the least amount of liability coverage you must carry. However, many people elect to have higher liability coverage due to factors such as:
- New drivers in the household, especially teens
- A history of previous accidents
- High net worth that makes one a target for lawsuits
- Living or driving in an area with a higher statistical level of crashes
- More frequent or longer drives than the average driver, resulting in a higher likelihood of an eventual accident
The Value of Your Vehicle
Liability coverage only protects you and other drivers when you are at fault in an accident. It does not cover your vehicle. If you cause an accident resulting in thousands of dollars in damage to your own car, without collision insurance, you would have to pay out of your own savings for repairs or a replacement.
Therefore, we recommend most folks get collision insurance. The higher the value of your vehicle, the more this is essential. In fact, if your car or truck is financed, collision insurance is usually mandatory. You can supplement collision insurance with comprehensive insurance, which covers loss or damage due to theft, vandalism, fire, and many natural disasters.
The Balance Between Premium and Deductible
The premium is what you pay for your auto insurance. The deductible is a relatively small amount you pay out of your own pocket when a claim is filed.
Your premium and deductible typically have an inverse relationship. This means that a higher premium results in a lower deductible, and vice versa. You want a balance between the two that works for your personal budget.
If you’re a very safe driver with a clean driving record, you may want to take the risk of a higher deductible to lower your premium. And if you’re worried about getting in an accident, you can usually reduce your deductible by paying a higher premium.
The Level of Personal Service You Desire
Whether you have a fender bender or a more serious accident, your life is going to be upended for a while. Having an insurance agent who can help you get back to regular life quickly is a huge plus.
To many of the big insurance companies, you’re just a number. But with independent insurance agents, you get more personalized service. This is welcome even if you’re simply adding a new driver to your policy or purchasing a new vehicle.
Another bonus is that independent agents have a much larger menu of insurance products to choose from. This serves you well because you get an auto policy that’s more tailored to your needs and budget.
When you’re ready to purchase auto insurance in the St. Louis area, Clayton Hanley Insurance is here to help. Call us at 314-487-2921, or reach out any time to start a quote.