Whether you have a brand new beauty or an older beast, you have to have car insurance if you plan to drive on the road. Before you run out and choose the cheapest option around, there are a few essential things you need to know so you don’t get burned later.

Consider the Danger of Minimums

Car insurance can be expensive, but beware before you simply choose the cheapest option. Cheaper rates are usually due to lower minimums, which could result in you having to pay out of pocket if your coverages won’t cover the entire cost of fixing the other vehicle. You’ll also need to check with your state to see what the minimum requirements are, and then go a bit higher.

Deductibles Matter

When you choose a higher deductible, you often lower your car insurance rates considerably. However, take a moment to consider your finances. If you’re in an accident, will you have $1,000 on hand that you can use to pay for the repairs until the deductible is met? Generally, most can’t afford to come out of pocket if there is an accident – so take a lower deductible to protect yourself even more later.

What Is Included

You will need to read available plans carefully to see what is covered. One major thing to consider is whether the insurance provides a loaner car. If not, you’ll be without wheels until yours is fixed if you don’t have any other vehicle. While most charge an additional fee for the service, it’s typically cheaper than renting a car on your own.

Lapses Can Cost You

If you’re shopping around, make sure you do it before your current car insurance runs out. Letting one policy lapse before you start another can cause your rates to increase. Additionally, it could cause some providers to deny you coverage as well.

Provider Cancellation

Your car insurance provider can cancel your policy or refuse to renew it at any time. If you lose your license, file too many claims or they discover you lied about something on the application, it’s the company’s choice to drop you. Make sure you’re truthful, and that you don’t try to take advantage of the system by filing repeated claims.

Car insurance is a requirement, but it also protects you and your assets if you’re ever in an accident. If you’ve been in an accident, even a minor one, contact YourMechanic for a safety inspection to make sure there aren’t any major issues.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as 5 Essential Things to Know About Car Insurance and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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