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Learn2 Shop for Car Insurance
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Cover your car--

Here's the good news: you probably won't get in an accident in the next twelve months. And the bad news? You still need to insure your car! Driving is risky business, and a couple of tons of metal can do a lot of damage, especially when moving at high speeds.

Unfortunately, auto insurance doesn't always come cheap. In fact, if your policy's too inexpensive, you might not be getting enough protection--and that could end up costing you big. But if you're paying through the nose, something's wrong, too. You might want to look around for another insurer, or simply give up the costlier extras that aren't worth your money. In this 2torial, we'll point out the most prevalent types of car insurance policies available today, and explain the steps you can take to get the most coverage for the lowest cost.

Before you begin

You should know that most, if not all, auto insurance policies have four basic elements of coverage. Your own policy doesn't necessarily need to include all four, but you should know what they are:

  • Liability: Covers costs when you injure someone or damage their property (i.e. their car) when you're driving. This is the most important element of car insurance.
  • Medical coverage: Pays for medical treatment for you and your passengers in the event of an accident. Sometimes, coverage includes disability insurance and may even reimburse you for pain and suffering.
  • Collision/comprehensive: Collision covers damage due to an accident, up to the book value of your car. Comprehensive covers other kinds of loss or damage, for example theft, flood or vandalism.
  • Uninsured/under-insured drivers: If an uninsured or under-insured driver injures you or your passengers, you could be stuck with the bill unless you have this coverage.

For the most part, evaluating a policy will consist of comparing the proportion of coverage in these areas to your own personal needs. You can, however, find many other kinds of auto-related coverage areas besides these four biggies: some policies will reimburse you for towing services or car rentals that result from an accident...heck, some companies will even insure your CB radio. It makes sense to take care of the fundamentals, then decide if such extras are a good or a bad bet.

   Go to Step 1 of 6

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Step 1: Calculate the minimal coverage you need
Step 2: Avoid unnecessary coverage
Step 3: Consider high deductibles
Step 4: Research special discounts
Step 5: Comparison shop on the Internet
Step 6: Contact your state's insurance commissioner

  • The year, make (manufacturer's name) and model of your car.
  • Your car's VIN, or vehicle identification number (optional).
  • A copy of your current insurance policy (if applicable)
  • Personal info (age, sex, marital status) and driving history
  • Internet access, to search for policies and receive online price quotes (optional)
  • A list of auto insurance companies for comparison shopping.
  • Contact information for your state's insurance commissioner


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