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Every state requires a specific amount of car insurance, which pays money to parties the case of an accident. Car insurance does not only cover the car, it also may cover personal and passenger injuries. Automotive insurance has the same properties as all insurance: coverage, premium, and deductibles.

Coverage

Coverage is the limit your insurance company will pay others if you damage them or their vehicle. Coverage beyond this level will cost more. At the minimal insurance level, coverage is fairly low. This can become a legal issue. Any damage exceeding your coverage will be paid by you. If you can’t afford to reimburse drivers for damages caused, they may sue you. Ensure your coverage value is high enough to alleviate this concern. Higher coverage is always better than lower coverage.

Your actual insurance coverage has minimum coverage requirements for automotive insurance. You’ll also need to know what your subscribed policy covers in each category.

The first category is for bodily injury, covering injuries sustained by multiple parties in an accident you caused. This category is per person and per accident. The insurance company will pay for the medical expenses of your passengers and the other driver’s party, but only to the coverage limit. You may be sued for medical expenses and related damages beyond this amount.

Property damage is for all physical damage suffered by the other drivers’ cars in an accident you caused. Drivers will be reimbursed for the damages caused to their property up to the coverage limit. Beyond this limit, you will be liable for repairs. This can create unexpected problems. If you are in a chain accident and hit a Honda civic, you may be under the coverage limit. But, if that Honda civic propels into the back of a Ferrari, you’ll exceed the coverage limit. You could be on the hook for over a hundred thousand in damages after coverage.

Personal injury covers your medical expenses due to an accident you caused. Depending on your health insurance policies you may not need this plan. There might be limitations on how this option interacts with your health insurance.

Comprehensive coverage handles natural disasters and other issues which damage your car. You should always check what disasters are actually covered by your comprehensive coverage. Ensure disasters in your local area cover environmental problems likely to happen to your car. Policies should also cover disasters likely to happen anywhere, like theft, fire, and break-in.

Premium

The monthly payment, or premium, increases in accordance with several factors. Premiums will change based on multiple factors. Any previous wrecks or legal issues may result in higher costs, especially if they involve accidents or citations for driving under influence or driving while intoxicated. Avoiding any behavior that results in these charges will save your premium costs long term.  Negotiate to keep tickets and issues off your record. You’ll save money using defensive driving schools and out of court deals to keep incidents off your record.

Drivers who are under 27 will pay more. Young males will especially see a price increase. As you age, and bear children, the assumption is maturity and increased responsibility will result in accountable living patterns.

Expensive cars are more valuable and expensive to insure. Age of the actual vehicle is generally not a factor. While cars released a few years ago usually see a substantial value dip, Classic cars can be just as valuable as new cars. This naturally depends on an appraisal or latest auction value of the actual vehicle.

Your credit record may also be a factor. Insurance fraud and accidents, on a per capita basis, increase as credit score decreases. As you increase your credit score your insurance premiums decrease.

Insurance premiums also change with your driving habits. If work a job that requires frequent transportation you will see a higher premium. The amount of time you spend driving will increase the risk you have an accident. Insurance companies will charge you more.

Where you live also affects your premium. High crime areas have more break-ins, thefts, or vandalisms. Insurance companies will charge higher premiums to those who live in these areas, all else equal.

Increased premiums are typically accompanied by increased liability coverage, personal coverage, passenger coverage, and coverage of the owner’s car. It is possible to acquire a reduced premium if your auto insurance provider is the same as your other insurance services.

Premiums come in short-term durations, half a year. Your price quote and insurance term are typically for that duration. Ensure that the annual price of your premium and annualized car payments are fewer than 15% of your annual income. The insurance costs should be less than 5% of your annual income. Divide the price of premium by the months of coverage to get the monthly cost, and then multiply that by 12 for the annual cost. If your insurance is renewed in 6 month terms, double the price to see your annualized cost.

Deductible

Automotive insurance, similar to health insurance, has a deductible that must be paid before the insurance company will pay damages. Deductibles relate with your premium. A high premium is accompanied by lower deductible. A high deductible is accompanied by a lower premium. If you’re comfortable paying a large amount of money up front when an accident occurs, a lower premium is for you. If you’re not comfortable paying up front, higher premiums are your alternative.

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