How do I know if I chose the right coverages?

When you need affordable auto insurance, choose the right coverage that will protect your vehicle, your financial assets, and yourself. While obtain cheap rates is great, a cheap policy that doesn't provide you with best insurance coverage isn't worth the risk. When you shop online for insurance, you can buy auto insurance and choose the right coverage simultaneously.

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Chris Tepedino is a feature writer that has written extensively about auto insurance for numerous websites. He has a college degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and has experience reporting, researching investigative pieces, and crafting detailed, data-driven features. His works have been featured on CB Blog Nation, Flow Words, Healing Law, WIBW Kansas, and ...

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Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Reviewed by Rachael Brennan
Licensed Insurance Agent Rachael Brennan

UPDATED: Feb 5, 2022

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It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We partner with top insurance providers. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

Can't-Miss Facts

  • The right coverage should be within your budget and offer you adequate protection for yourself and your car
  • It’s recommended that your liability limits should beset to at least 100/300/100
  • You can compare free insurance quotes when you shop online

There’s always a little bit of risk when you set out on the open road, but you can help yourself stay safe by learning how to choose the right car insurance coverage. When you need to buy auto insurance, it’s important to understand how the right coverage will provide the most protection for you.

No two drivers will have the same automobile insurance needs. However, you can find how which coverages are the best for your need when you learn how your car insurance coverages work. When you shop online, you can get auto insurance quotes, choose the right coverage, and keep your rates low.

If you’re ready to choose the right coverage for your insurance needs, enter your ZIP code to get free auto insurance quotes.

What types of auto insurance coverage are available?

There are many different kinds of insurance coverage that make up a standard policy, and you should know how these coverages work for you before you sign on the dotted line. An insurance policy is typically made up of these main coverages:

  • Liability coverage
  • Collision coverage
  • Comprehensive coverage
  • Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage
  • Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage
  • Medical payments (MedPay)

Knowing how to choose the right liability coverage is incredibly important. With liability coverage, you’ll be able to help cover the costs of vehicle repairs or even hospitals bills accrued by another driver if you cause a car accident. It is advisable for you to set your liability limits to $100,000 per person, $300,000 per accident, and $100,000 for property damage.

This way, you’ll have a good amount of financial assistance available in case you do damage to a very pricey vehicle and won’t have to worry about having your wages garnished to cover any of the repairs.

Collision coverage, on the other hand, is great coverage that helps you if it’s your car that is damaged in an accident. Next, there’s comprehensive coverage. If your car was peppered with hail or took damage from thieves breaking into it, you’ll be able to get reimbursed for the damage. Bear in mind, though, that both of these coverages require you to pay a deductible prior to any monies being paid out.

Now, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is also coverage that could serve you well. As disheartening as it is to think about, there are many people who drive on the roads without any insurance. Fortunately, if such a driver were to crash into you, your uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage would be able to help you defray any expenses you accrued.

Last of the common auto insurance coverages are Medical Payments (MedPay) and Personal Injury Protection (PIP). These coverage serves to help you cover your medical expenses if you or your passengers are injured in an accident, regardless of fault. Bear in mind that these coverages aren’t the only ones you can choose to buy if you want to get the maximum amount of protection for your ride.

It’s also worth noting that these coverages are not always optional. In fact, liability is require by law in most states, and some also require PIP, MedPay, and UM/UIM. Comprehensive and collision are usually required if you have a car loan.

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Additional Coverages

If you don’t want to take any chances when you’re out on the road, you can always buy optional forms of coverage. The next time you compare auto insurance policies, you may want to consider purchasing some additional coverages like:

  • Guaranteed auto protection (GAP)
  • Roadside assistance
  • Mechanical breakdown
  • Rental reimbursement
  • Glass insurance

If you owe any money on your car, GAP insurance might be great additional coverage for you as it makes sure that you get the funds you need to fully cover any debts you still had on your car in the event that it was totaled.

Now, anyone can make use of roadside assistance. You can use this coverage to get you gas if your tank is on empty or bring you a spare if you’ve got a flat tire. Roadside assistance even provides coverage if you were locked out of your car or if you need a tow.

Don’t forget that cars are machines, and even the best-tended machines can break down. That’s where mechanical breakdown insurance comes into play. If some part of your vehicle needs to be fixed or breaks down over time, you’ll have the coverage you need to get it repaired.

Now, if your car has to be in the shop for several days, you’re going to need some way to get around. Luckily, you’ll be able to have the costs of a rental car covered as long as you have rental reimbursement added to your policy.

Glass insurance may be a coverage you’ve never paid attention to before, but once you think about how important your windshield is, it makes sense to consider purchasing this type of coverage. This is often included with comprehensive coverage.

How can drivers choose the right coverage?

Knowing how to choose the right auto insurance coverage is vital — especially if you want to get the best insurance policy for your needs. If you’re looking for an auto insurance company, choose the right coverage that works with the constraints of your budget and also provides you with as much protection as possible.

There’s no need to pay through the nose for auto insurance rates, but you do want to choose the right coverage that will protect your finances in the long term. Drivers who are in possession of quite a few assets should consider increasing their liability coverage. This way, your resources won’t be at risk if you cause a costly accident.

The age of your car will also play a large role in determining how much insurance you need. Older vehicles are typically not worth the cost of full coverage, and liability only may be your best choice; however, if you just bought a new car, you should make sure that it is fully covered.

Can drivers reduce their auto insurance rates?

In today’s market, you can get the coverage you want at the rates you need as many insurance companies offer very generous discounts. In this table, you can see not only which discounts some major insurance companies offer drivers but how much those discounts can save you as well:

Auto Insurance Discounts Available by Company and Discount Amount

Discounts21st Century Discount AmountAAA Discount AmountAllstate Discount AmountAmerican Family Discount AmountAmeriprise Discount AmountAmica Discount AmountCountry Financial Discount AmountEsurance Discount AmountFarmers Discount AmountGeico Discount AmountLiberty Mutual Discount AmountMetLife Discount AmountNationwide Discount AmountProgressive Discount AmountSafe Auto Discount AmountSafeco Discount AmountState Farm Discount AmountThe General Discount AmountThe Hanover Discount AmountThe Hartford Discount AmountTravelers Discount AmountUSAA Discount Amount
Adaptive Cruise Control and/or Headlights----------5%--------3%--
Anti-lock Brakes--10%-3%5%-5%-5%5%5%5%-5%-5%8%5%3%--
Anti-Theft--10%-3%25%10%25%-25%20% off of comprehensive portion of policy.10% -- this discount factors in features such as VIN etching and vehicle recovery;
one anti-theft discount applies.
25%; combined with vehicle recovery discount.---15% discount off of comprehensive coverage; higher discount with "engine cut-off."8%; one total anti-theft discount applies; if vehicle recovery, a higher discount applies.5%3%--
Claim Free--35%----25%-26% for going five years without an accident.Awarded "accident free" on account for lower rating.20% if claim/violation free:
"Superior Driver"
3+ yrs=12%
5+ yrs 20%
save $50 each claim-free year up to $250 (off deductible).
10%-10% if you go six months without filing a claim;
one safe driver/claim free discount applies.
20% "Safeco Safety Rewards" if you have no at-fault accidents in the last 36 months,
no more than 1 point on your license, and
no DUI in the last ten years; one safe driver/claim free discount applies.
15%; must have State Farm for at least three consecutive years without an accident.-15%-23%; must be accident and violation free to get the "Safe Driver" discount listed below;
must be accident and violation free to qualify:
23% - 5 years
10% - 3 years;
one safe driver/claim free discount applies.
12%; "Premier Driver Discount"
4%-12%, depending on driving record;
12% is for being accident and violation free for five years; one safe driver/claim free discount applies.
Not available in HI.
Continuous Coverage-----3%-------No gaps or cancellations;
discount depends on how long you have been consistently insured.
10% for going six or more months with no more than a 30-day coverage gap.7% if you have been with Safeco or previous provider for one year or longer; five or more years gets you the highest discount.--10%; discount applies at each renewal.-15%-
Daytime Running Lights--2%------1%5%5%5%-5%---5%3%--
Defensive Driver5%-10%10%-5%5%10%--10%7%5%10%10%5%5%8%5%10%10%3%
Distant Student--35%---------10%--15%--5%3%7%-
Driver's Ed--10%--5%10%---10%10%-10%10%5%15%8%5%3%8%3%
Driving Device/App--20%40%---25%--30%15%40%20%-30%50%--10%30%5%
Early Signing--10%---10%10%---15%8%--8%----10%12%
Electronic Stability Control--2%--5%----5%-----------
Emergency Deployment---------25%------------
Engaged Couple------10%---------------
Family Legacy-----5%---------------10%
Family Plan------25%-----25%------5%--
Farm Vehicle--10%-------------------
Fast 5-------5%--------------
Federal Employee---------8%10%-----------
Forward Collision Warning-----8%----5%--------3%--
Full Payment--10%--4%-10%--$5---5%15%-8%15%20%7.5%-
Further Education-------15%--10%-15%---------
Good Credit------------"Financial Stability"
gets you a lower rate. You must also have stable residence.
Good Student--20%--10%25%10%-15%22.5%15%10%-10%15%25%8%5%3%8%3%
Green Vehicle--10%-----5%-10%--------3%10%-
Lane Departure Warning-------------Safety features get automatic discounts applied when VIN entered in system. --------
Low Mileage-----10%-15%-------20%30%-----
Military Garaging---------------------15%
Multiple Drivers-------------------5%--
Multiple Policies--10%--15%25%--10%20%10%10%12%-15%17%15%10%20%13%-
Multiple Vehicles-----15%15%--25%10%-20%10%15%15%20%15%5%5%8%-
New Address----------5%-----------
New Customer/New Plan-----------10%--10%-------
New Graduate----------5%-----------
Newer Vehicle--30%---10%---------40%--3%10%12%
Newly Licensed----------5%-----------
Occasional Operator---------------------Discount based on operator's individual driving record.
On Time Payments--5%-----------------15%-
Online Shopper-------11%-----7%--------
Paperless Documents- -10%--2%------5%$50-`-------
Paperless/Auto Billing-5%--2%-----25%$30-$410%$28%2%$53%3%
Passive Restraint--30%30%3%30%-33%-40%-5%20%-5%2%40%8%5%3%--
Recent Retiree----------4%--------3%--
Roadside Assistance-------5%--------------
Safe Driver--45%--15%-40%15%-12%35%31%10%20%15%---23%12%
Seat Belt Use---------15%------------
Senior Driver--10%--------10%-----5%5%---
Stable Residence-------------------5%--
Students and Alumni-------15%--10%-7%---------
Switching Provider-------5%--10%10%--10%--5%5%---
Utility Vehicle--15%-------------------
Vehicle Recovery--10%-5%10%-25%-25%35%10%25%---5%8%-3%--
VIN Etching----------5%10%----------
Young Driver------10%--------------$75
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When you take the time to review potential policies, you might be amazed at just how much coverage you can truly afford to buy.

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Choosing the Right Coverages: The Bottom Line

When shopping for car insurance, it’s important that you consider your assets, your car, and your own budget. When you use these elements as your guides, you’ll be able to find a policy that reconciles all three and gets you the protection you need.

Now that you know how to shop for car insurance don’t wait to find the perfect policy for you. You can shop online to compare a wide variety of quotes — and don’t forget to see how many discounts you can get too.

Enter your ZIP code to get free quotes from insurance companies near you now that you know how to choose the right coverage for your needs.

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