What is the cost of auto insurance?
Recently I googled the question, “How much does car insurance cost?”. Did an answer come up? What I did get was about three pages of paid advertisements: Cheap $19 Auto Insurance, Fast Car Insurance Quote, Affordable Auto Insurance, GEICO and Progressive advertisements. Then a few that actually address the question itself.
So how much does car insurance cost? There are so many factors that come into play with gettting a car insurance quote. One website addresses the question with, “get a personalized car insurance rate from a local independent agent”. What is a personalized quote? Well isn't every quote “personalized”? Your name, address, date of birth, drivers license, the year make and model of your car. That is the basic information to get a quote and find out how much car insurance will cost you personally.
How does the personal information impact your cost of insurance? Well just like your credit score you have an insurance score. How is an insurance score developed? Many factors combine to make an insurance score: your age, your address the type of car you drive, your credit score. But did you know that paying your credit cards on time, paying your auto insurance on time also have an impact? If you buy car insurance and then never pay, if you pay late or switch your car insurance too many times in a year, or have any accidents and/or tickets, this will impact your auto insurance premiums. Even a not at fault accident will impact your rates. What? Whoa! But I wasn't at fault. That isn't fair.
Then you need to know how much coverage you really need. Bodily injury limits is the coverage if you have an accident and it is your fault and the other party is injuried. The State of Ohio only requires $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident and $25,000 in property damage. That's it folks. The cost of medical care is going up. Are you comfortable with these low limits? Are you comfortable letting your most important asset pay for damages over your auto liability limits? What is your most valuable asset? To most of us it is our salary! Can you afford to live off 25% less of your salary if they garnish your pay check? Lose your home or other assets. Increasing your liability limits are relatively inexpensive compared to the risk of lower limits. Sometimes the difference is as little as the cost of cup of Starbucks.
Now you need full coverage or liability only? How old is your car? If it is relatively new, then you should probably have full coverage with deductibles ranging from $0 to $2000 for comprehensive and collision coverages For older cars you may decide to buy liability only. The higher the deductible, the lower your rate. If you have an accident, you pay the deductible and the insurance company pays the rest to fix your car. If your car is totalled. The insurance company will pay you the value of your car minus your deductible.
Do you need a rental car? That depends on if you have backup transportation or can ride the bus to work while your car is in the shop? If not, then you should have rental reimbursement coverage.
Roadside asssistance and towing coverage can be added to a policy if you want your car towed after an accident. Or roadside assistance can provide tire changes, towing, emergency fuel delivery, lock out protection plus more depending on the level of coverage you select.
As you can see, the cost of insurance is a bit more complicated to answer than an on-line “quick quote” can provide. For best results, I strongly suggest you contact an independent insurance agent in determing car insurance costs.
Written by Catherine Hufnagle, The Risk Eliminator, an independent agent from Marysville Ohio.