Estimating your auto insurance is easily overlooked in the car-buying process, yet it’s an important part of your long-term ownership costs. As rates vary according to vehicle, it may affect which car you end up purchasing, too.
A little time now will soon give you an idea of what kind of premium you’re looking at for that car, or cars, you’re interested in. And once you’ve decided what coverage you need, websites like The Zebra, recommended by Consumer Reports, will do your comparison-shopping legwork and bring the quotes to you.
Work out how much coverage you need
With a shortlist of vehicles under consideration, think about what kind of coverage you need and feel comfortable with before you seek quotes.
Your state’s minimum liability requirements will be the starting point. They include coverage for bodily injury liability per person and per accident, and property damage liability. There may be additional requirements depending on your state.
Consumer Reports recommends going further than the minimum dollar amounts needed for liability coverage in order to guard against a costly claim. Buy standard 100/300/100 coverage paying for bodily injury up to $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident, and property damage up to $100,000, it suggests.
If you’re financing the vehicle, you’ll also need collision insurance, which is required by the lender and covers damage to your vehicle. Further coverage to bolster your protection is available, too. Comprehensive will cover theft or damage to your car which doesn’t result from a collision, such as fire, flooding and hail. Other types of insurance include personal injury protection and medical payments insurance.
Shop around to get quotes
It makes sense to get several quotes, whether you contact carriers individually or use a price-comparison service like The Zebra. Using this site involves selecting whether you currently have car insurance or not, then taking a few minutes to enter your details before receiving a list of quotes in return. It also gives you an “insurability score” with ratings on key factors that help determine your premium, such as your credit score, driving record, insurance status and history.
Find a good provider as well as a good price
The lowest premium will often have the greatest appeal, but picture yourself in a situation where you need to make a claim and what your experience will be like. To that end, consider the service, reputation and access to agents offered by different insurance providers.
Check your budget
How does the best quote fit your budget? Is that car still the right one for you? If you’re unsure how an insurance payment works with your finances, try using a budget worksheet where you can lay out all your monthly expenses in one place and see where you stand overall.
Buy a car with confidence
Along with working out how much car you may be able to afford, an affordable loan payment, and potential fuel and maintenance costs, estimating auto insurance is another useful base to cover when choosing your next vehicle. And knowing such costs will enable you to feel more confident in your final decision.