Benjamin Carr

Former State Farm Insurance Agent

Benjamin Carr worked as a licensed insurance agent at State Farm and Tennant Special Risk. He sold various lines of coverage and informed his clients about their life, health, property/casualty insurance needs. Assessing risks and helping people find the best coverage to suit their needs is a passion of his. He appreciates that insurance was designed to protect people, particularly during times...

Former State Farm Insurance Agent

Dani Best

Licensed Insurance Producer

Dani Best has been a licensed insurance producer for nearly 10 years. Dani began her insurance career in a sales role with State Farm in 2014. During her time in sales, she graduated with her Bachelors in Psychology from Capella University and is currently earning her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy. Since 2014, Dani has held and maintains licenses in Life, Disability, Property, and Casualt...

Licensed Insurance Producer

UPDATED: May 23, 2024

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Why Car Insurance Matters

Car insurance is essential for safeguarding your finances in the event of accidents. Your policy’s coverage and costs vary, making it crucial to select the right insurance that aligns with your needs.

This Guide Will Cover

  1. Types of Car Insurance: Understanding various options to tailor your policy.
  2. Purchasing Car Insurance: Insights into costs and tips for saving money.
  3. How To File a Car Insurance Claim: Step-by-step guidance for claiming in case of an incident.

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Essentials of Car Insurance

Car insurance is a financial shield against losses from accidents, theft, and weather incidents. It’s a mutual agreement where you pay premiums, and the insurer covers medical bills, vehicle repairs, and property damage based on your policy’s terms.

Read more: What does car insurance cover?

How much insurance do you need?

The amount of car insurance you need largely depends on your state’s legal requirements. While all states mandate specific coverage levels, your needs might extend beyond these basics, especially if you have a car loan or lease. Higher coverage, though more expensive, offers broader protection.

Remember, the cheapest policy may save money upfront but could cost significantly more in the event of a substantial claim. Think of insurance as not just a legal necessity, but as a cornerstone of your financial safety net.

Daniel Walker Licensed Insurance Agent

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to how much car insurance you need. It’s a personal decision that should be based on a thorough evaluation of your individual situation, including your assets, vehicle, driving habits, and financial capacity. Regularly reviewing and adjusting your coverage ensures that it remains aligned with any changes in your life and needs.

Types of Car Insurance

A car insurance policy typically bundles several coverages, depending on state laws and your personal choices.

  1. Liability Coverage: Essential in most states, it covers others’ expenses in accidents you cause.
  2. Personal Injury Protection: Covers medical expenses for you and passengers, regardless of fault.
  3. Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Provides protection against uninsured or inadequately insured drivers.
  4. Collision and Comprehensive Coverage: Covers vehicle repairs in various scenarios, including accidents and natural disasters.
  5. Additional Coverage Options: Tailor your policy with optional coverages for specific needs like classic cars or non-owner scenarios.

Read more: Types of Car Insurance Coverage

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Costs of Car Insurance

Premiums vary significantly based on factors like your location and driving record. Remember, higher premiums don’t always equate to better coverage.

Car Insurance Monthly Rates by Coverage Level & State
StatesMinimum CoverageFull Coverage
New Hampshire$35$72
New Jersey$77$121
New Mexico$46$87
New York$73$124
North Carolina$31$69
North Dakota$25$68
Rhode Island$71$121
South Carolina$53$94
South Dakota$27$72
Washington D. C.$55$89
West Virginia$43$89
U.S. Average$50$94

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Read more: How much is car insurance?

Buying Car Insurance: A Step-by-Step Guide

Selecting the right coverage is the first step. Next, compare quotes from multiple insurers to find the best fit. Utilize online tools and local brokers for comprehensive comparisons.

Here’s a detailed, step-by-step guide to help you navigate the process:

  1. Assess Your Insurance Needs:

    • Understand State Requirements: Familiarize yourself with your state’s minimum insurance requirements.
    • Personal Circumstances: Consider factors like your driving habits, vehicle type, and financial situation. If you have a loan or lease on your vehicle, check if your lender has specific coverage requirements.
  2. Learn About Different Coverage Types:

    • Liability Coverage: Understand bodily injury and property damage liability.
    • Personal Injury Protection (PIP): If you’re in a no-fault state, this may be required.
    • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Consider this to protect against drivers with insufficient or no insurance.
    • Collision and Comprehensive Coverage: These coverages are crucial for physical damage to your vehicle.
  3. Determine Your Budget:

    • Premiums vs. Deductibles: Balance between what you can afford to pay monthly (premiums) and what you can pay out of pocket in case of a claim (deductibles).
  4. Research Insurance Providers:

    • Reputable Companies: Look for insurers with strong financial stability and customer service records.
    • Reviews and Ratings: Check customer reviews and industry ratings of various insurance companies.
  5. Get Quotes:

    • Online Quotes: Use insurance companies’ websites to get quick quotes.
    • Local Agents: Contact local agents for personalized service and advice.
    • Compare Coverage: Ensure you’re comparing similar coverage types and limits across different quotes.
  6. Understand the Policy Details:

    • Read the Fine Print: Pay attention to coverage limits, exclusions, and conditions.
    • Ask Questions: Don’t hesitate to ask the insurer or agent about anything unclear.
  7. Apply for Insurance:

    • Documentation: Have your vehicle information, driver’s license, and driving history ready.
    • Application Process: Fill out the application form, either online or with an agent.
  8. Review and Finalize Your Policy:

    • Policy Review: Once you receive your policy documents, review them thoroughly.
    • Make Adjustments: If necessary, ask for adjustments or clarification.
  9. Make Your First Premium Payment:

    • Set Up Payments: Choose a payment method (monthly, quarterly, annually) that suits your budget.
  10. Regular Policy Review and Update:

    • Annual Reviews: Reassess your policy annually or after major life changes (e.g., moving, buying a new car).
    • Update Information: Keep your insurer informed about any changes that could affect your coverage, like a new address or different vehicle.

Saving Money on Car Insurance

To save on car insurance:

  1. Compare quotes from various insurers.
  2. Explore discounts (military, federal employees, students, etc.).
  3. Maintain a good driving record and credit score.
  4. Reassess your coverage needs regularly, especially after major life changes.
  5. Consider pay-per-mile (usage-based) options for infrequent drivers.

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Filing a Claim: Know the Process

In case of an accident, prioritize safety, document the scene, and contact your insurer promptly. Work with your claims adjuster and choose a repair shop as per your policy.

Understanding this process can help ensure a smoother, more efficient experience. Here’s a detailed guide:

  1. Immediate Steps Post-Accident:

    • Ensure Safety: First, ensure the safety of all parties involved. Move to a safe location if necessary.
    • Medical Attention: Seek immediate medical attention for any injuries.
    • Report the Accident: If the situation warrants, such as in cases of significant property damage or injuries, call the police to report the accident. A police report can be valuable during the claims process.
  2. Document the Scene:

    • Take Photos: Capture clear photos of the accident scene, including all vehicles involved, any visible damages, and road conditions.
    • Gather Information: Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver(s). Note down the make, model, and license plate numbers of all vehicles involved.
    • Witnesses: If there are any witnesses, get their contact information as well.
  3. Contact Your Insurance Company:

    • Prompt Reporting: Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. Most insurers have a deadline for filing claims.
    • Claim Initiation: Provide all necessary information to start the claims process. This may include your policy number, details of the accident, and information about the other parties involved.
  4. Working with a Claims Adjuster:

    • Assessment: An insurance claims adjuster will be assigned to assess the damage. They might inspect your vehicle, review the accident report, and evaluate any injury claims.
    • Provide Documentation: Submit any requested documents, such as the police report, medical reports, and receipts related to the accident.
  5. Vehicle Repair and Compensation:

    • Repair Estimates: Obtain repair estimates from a few reputable auto shops. Some insurance companies may require you to use their approved repair facilities.
    • Coverage Review: The adjuster will review your policy to determine what is covered and to what extent.
    • Repair Approval: Once the repair costs are approved, you can proceed with getting your vehicle fixed.
  6. Deductibles and Payments:

    • Understanding Deductibles: Be aware of your policy’s deductible—the amount you pay out of pocket before insurance covers the remaining costs.
    • Payment Process: Depending on your policy, the insurer may pay the repair shop directly, or reimburse you after you’ve paid for the repairs.
  7. Finalizing the Claim:

    • Settlement: Once all repairs are completed and any medical treatments are accounted for, the insurance company will offer a settlement.
    • Review and Acceptance: Review the settlement offer carefully. If it’s acceptable, you’ll finalize the claim by accepting the payment.
  8. Disputes and Appeals:

    • Disagreements: If you disagree with the settlement or claim decision, you can discuss it with your adjuster or a supervisor at the insurance company.
    • Further Action: In case of unresolved disputes, you may seek mediation, hire an attorney, or file a complaint with your state’s insurance department.

Read more: How to File a Car Insurance Claim

Insurance Requirements: State-Specific Needs

Check your state’s DMV website for mandatory insurance requirements. Understand that penalties for uninsured driving can include fines and jail time.

Average Monthly Car Insurance Rates by Coverage Level
StateState Minimum Liability-OnlyState Minimum with Collision and Comprehensive Coverage ($1K Deductible)100/300/100 with Collision and Comprehensive Coverage ($1K Deductible)

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Each state in the U.S. has its own laws and mandates regarding the types and amounts of car insurance you must carry. Here’s a detailed breakdown of what you need to know:

  1. Mandatory Coverage Types: Almost every state requires some form of liability insurance, which includes bodily injury liability and property damage liability. This coverage pays for damages or injuries you cause to others in an accident.

  2. State-Specific Minimum Limits: Each state sets its own minimum limits for liability coverage. For example, one state might require a minimum of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for bodily injury liability, and another state might have different limits.

  3. No-Fault Insurance States: In states with no-fault insurance laws, such as Florida, Michigan, and New York, drivers are required to have Personal Injury Protection (PIP). This coverage pays for medical expenses for you and your passengers, regardless of who is at fault in an accident.

  4. Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Some states also require uninsured motorist coverage, which protects you if you’re in an accident with a driver who doesn’t have insurance, or whose insurance is insufficient.

  5. Exceptions and Unique Cases:

    • New Hampshire: Unlike most states, New Hampshire does not mandate car insurance. However, you must demonstrate the ability to meet New Hampshire’s Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Requirements after an at-fault accident.
    • Virginia: Virginia allows drivers to pay an Uninsured Motor Vehicle fee to the state DMV, which legally permits driving without insurance, though this doesn’t provide any coverage.
    • Florida: Florida is unique in that it doesn’t require bodily injury liability coverage for personal vehicles but does require property damage liability and PIP.
  6. Additional Coverage Considerations: While not legally required, consider additional coverages like collision and comprehensive insurance, especially if you have a newer or higher-value vehicle.

  7. Penalties for Non-Compliance: Driving without the required insurance can lead to serious penalties, including fines, suspension of your driver’s license and vehicle registration, and even jail time in some cases.

  8. Checking Requirements: The best way to find out your state’s specific insurance requirements is to check with your state’s department of motor vehicles or an insurance agent. They can provide the most current and relevant information.

By understanding and adhering to your state’s specific car insurance requirements, you ensure legal compliance and financial protection on the road.

Read more: What states require car insurance?

Choosing the Best Car Insurance

The best coverage depends on your personal needs, budget, and any lender requirements. Minimum state coverage is essential, but consider additional protections for complete peace of mind.

Read more: Compare Car Insurance Quotes

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Exclusions in Car Insurance

Your policy’s fine print defines coverage exclusions. Typically, personal insurance doesn’t cover commercial use, racing, illegal activities, regular maintenance, or wear and tear repairs.

Car Insurance as a Key Aspect of Car Ownership

Selecting the right car insurance involves understanding state requirements and evaluating your personal needs. Compare quotes and consider optional coverages to ensure comprehensive protection in any situation.

Free Car Insurance Quotes!

You don’t need to contact every insurance agency in order to get the cheapest car insurance quotes; you can compare car insurance quotes quickly and easily at US Insurance Agents. Fill out one quote request form, and we’ll instantly match you with national and local agents that can help you through the process of selecting the right car insurance coverage.

Speaking with a trained and experienced agent allows you to ask questions regarding your policy and gives the agent an opportunity to find out more about you and discounts you may be eligible for without even knowing. An experienced agent can go over your options and help you decide whether you should get full coverage auto insurance quotes, state minimum coverage or a policy that’s in between the two.

Being smart about your money and smart about your insurance protection is important for any driver. By using US Insurance Agents to compare car insurance, you can be sure that you’ll find cheap car insurance that also provides the coverage you need.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is car insurance?

Car insurance is a contract between you and an insurer, providing financial protection against losses due to accidents, theft, and other vehicle-related incidents. It covers costs like medical bills, vehicle repairs, and property damage.

Why do I need car insurance?

Car insurance is essential to protect yourself financially in case of accidents or damages. It’s also legally required in most states to cover liabilities and damages to others.


How do I choose the right car insurance?

Assess your needs based on state requirements, personal preferences, and if applicable, lender requirements. Consider factors like coverage types, policy limits, deductibles, and premiums.


What are the different types of car insurance coverage?

Key types include liability coverage, personal injury protection, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, collision coverage, and comprehensive coverage. Additional options may also be available.

How much car insurance coverage do I need?

This depends on your state’s legal requirements and personal circumstances. Consider additional coverage for better protection if you have assets to protect or a car loan.


Can I save money on car insurance?

Yes, by comparing quotes, availing discounts, maintaining a clean driving record, improving your credit score, and adjusting your coverage based on your needs.


What is not covered by standard car insurance?

Standard policies typically don’t cover commercial driving, racing, illegal activities, regular maintenance, and wear and tear.

What should I do in case of an accident?

Ensure everyone’s safety, document the scene, exchange insurance details with other drivers, and report the incident to your insurer as soon as possible.

How do I file a car insurance claim?

Contact your insurance provider, provide necessary documentation like photos and police reports, and work with your claims adjuster to assess the damage.

What happens if I drive without insurance?

Driving without insurance can result in legal penalties, including fines and possible jail time, depending on your state’s laws. You’ll also be financially responsible for any damages or injuries caused.