Keep Rolling with the Right
Find auto insurance that works for you.
Choosing the right auto insurance policy means making important decisions about personal liability, monthly payments, and financial risk. We're here to help you get a better idea of how the process works, what different policies cover, and what you might expect to pay so you can make a decision about your car insurance with confidence.
Car Insurance Basics
When you purchase car insurance, the insurance company agrees to compensate you up to a certain amount to cover the results of a collision or other accidental event. The level of coverage that's required, the incidents that qualify, and the amount of reimbursement you receive will all play a part in how you build your policy.
Virtually all U.S. states have laws that require drivers to own car insurance, with each state setting its own criteria for minimum levels of coverage. Only New Hampshire drivers can waive auto insurance, although they need to provide proof that they have enough money to pay for injuries or damage if they're the driver in an at-fault accident.
Outside of New Hampshire, getting caught without your state's required level of insurance could make you subject to punishment or penalty. First-time offenders might only face a fine or a ticket, but if you're caught more than once, you could have your license or registration suspended, be forced to pay a significant penalty, or possibly even receive jail time.
Most required coverage is intended to guarantee that other drivers, their passengers, and their vehicles receive compensation for accidents in which you're at fault. There are additional policies that protect you, your passengers, and your car, but these options often aren't mandated by the states.
For most policies in most states, insurance covers a vehicle, not an individual driver. That means that if a friend or relative borrows your car and gets into an accident, your insurance will likely cover the damage your vehicle caused up to the limits of your plan. But keep in mind that the extent to which insurance will cover another driver depends on your policy, the details of the incident, and the laws of your state, so it's important to do your research.
Additional considerations related to other drivers include:
- Many policies require other drivers who live in your household and frequently use your car to be listed on your insurance in order to receive coverage.
- Most policies don't cover an incident caused by a driver who's using a vehicle without the owner's permission.
- Even if you weren't the one driving at the time of an accident, you can still be subject to an increase in rates.
Yes. You can get rejected for car insurance if it's based on reasons that are considered legal in your state. If you've been rejected, it's likely because the insurer considers you to be at high risk of filing a claim. Reasons for this could include having multiple accidents on your driving record, owning a fast or high-performance car, or being charged with a DUI. Being very young or very old, living in a densely populated area, or driving an older vehicle could also earn you the label of high-risk.
If you're initially rejected for auto insurance, you'll need to pursue a policy specifically for high-risk drivers. Expect these to be more expensive than traditional plans, though some companies offer incentives for maintaining a clean driving record going forward. However, if you've been rejected and you think it's illegal reasons, you can file a complaint with the insurance commissioner in your state.
How to Choose Car Insurance
While it may seem like the easiest and cheapest option to select your state's minimum level of coverage, it might not be adequate for your situation. The most inexpensive policy may look appealing, but keep in mind that these come with high deductibles and low coverage rates. The time you spend selecting the right company and policy can make a significant difference in the financial outcomes of your claims.
While the policy itself is the most important, choosing the right company will impact the level of service you receive. Compare companies by asking questions such as:
- Do they offer competitive rates?
- How accessible are customer service representatives?
- Is online chat available 24/7?
- Does the company have an app that's easy to use?
- How quickly does the company settle claims?
- Do they receive overall positive customer reviews?
To find the right policy, start with meeting your state's minimum requirements. Next, consider what type of additional insurance is right for you based on the level of coverage you seek. You may want a policy that provides extra coverage for personal medical expenses, property damage, or repairs to your own vehicle. Other optional add-ons cover things such as roadside assistance and rental car fees, which can give you additional peace of mind.
When you've decided on what kind of insurance you need, that's when you can start comparing costs. We recommend that you request at least 3 different quotes for the same type of coverage to ensure that you're getting a fair price. You can get a better idea of what kind of factors affect cost and how discounts could lower your rate.
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