It probably does not come as a surprise to you that you need to carry car insurance if you drive a car. This is true if it is your car or if you are driving a rental car. The reasons for this should be obvious in today's economic world – if you should get into an accident, even if it's not your fault, even the most minor of fender benders can cost into the thousands of dollars to repair. And if the accident is determined to be your fault and there are injuries, even minor injuries, the liability portion of your insurance can protect you against the potential loss of many more thousands of dollars.
Before you go out shopping for car insurance, however, you need to understand what kind of coverage you need and what kind of deductible you want applied to your car insurance policy. These factors will have a significant impact on how much you pay for your insurance, and will also affect how much coverage you really have and cover under what circumstances.
First of all, you need to determine how much of a deductible you are willing to pay if you make a claim. The typical deductible is about $ 250 to $ 500. If you make a claim, the deductible is the amount that you pay towards the cost of the repairs. The higher the deductible, the lower your premium (your insurance payment) will be. The amount of deductible that you choose is up to you, but you should consider how much you would be able to pay out of your pocket if you should need to pay your deductible to get your car repaired after an accident.
Next you need to determine what types and types of coverage you need. If your pay is not yet paid for completely, you will likely be required to carry collision insurance. But if you have an older car that is paid off, you are not required to carry collision insurance. But keep in mind that if you are not carrying collision insurance and you get into an accident, the repairs will be completely out of your own pocket.
You will also have an option for comprehensive insurance. This typically covers things like fire and theft, where theft includes someone stealing the car, as well as someone taking something out of the car. Again, these are not required, although your lender may require these insurances if you are still making payments on the car.
As far as where to get the best insurance, do not assume that your best car insurance quotes will come from an online source. Many times your local insurance agent can match or even beat the rates you get via an online quote. This is particularly true if you have a very clean driving record, since your personal driving record and number of tickets you have received over the past 3-5 years also plays a part in determining your rate.
The bottom line is to shop around. You can get great quotes online, but be sure to compare those against quotes you can get from your local agent, since car insurance rates vary drastically between agencies and also among different states.