According to Finder.com, U.S. car insurance claims totaled more than $163 million in 2017, which works out to an average of $4,100 per driver. Furthermore, they emphasize that 750,000+ vehicles are stolen annually, or about one per minute.
What’s more, these numbers don’t factor in the millions of claims that go unreported each year.
In this brief article, the IHS Insurance professionals will outline how you can ensure your auto coverage limits are adequate to cover you in the event of the unforeseen, while also helping you reduce costs and maximize your budget.
How Much Liability Coverage Should Your Auto Policy Carry?
Every state mandates minimum insurance limits.
As a general rule of thumb, though, IHS Insurance Group recommends drivers carry bodily injury limits of at least $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident, along with $50,000 for property damage. Or, $300,000 if your policy features combined single limits.
In some instances, however, these limits might not be sufficient. If you own a lot of assets (e.g., house, car, significant savings, etc.), you might need to increase.
Furthermore, if you already have health insurance and can afford to cover your injuries after an accident, you can reject MedPay and/or Personal Injury Protection.
Should You Choose High or Low Comprehensive & Collision Deductibles?
Increasing comprehensive and collision deductibles will reduce your premium, but this decrease may not offset your out-of-pocket expenses in the event of a loss.
For example, if you increase your comprehensive and collision deductibles from $500 to $1,000, this won’t always save you $500 per year in insurance costs. Still, Consumer Reports indicates that collision is one of the most expensive coverages under an auto policy, accounting for as much as 40 percent of your premium.
Therefore, if you haven’t received a ticket in years, haven’t been involved in an at-fault collision, and can afford to pay more out of your own pocket in the event of an accident, increasing your deductibles could help maximize your budget, while still ensuring you have adequate coverage in place.
Optional Auto Policy Endorsements: Yes or No?
In addition to liability and physical damage, insurance carriers also offer a wide variety of endorsements that can bolster your coverage, but will also increase your premium:
- Rental Reimbursement – While this typically costs just $15 per month, it can make a massive difference if you drive a high-value vehicle, or otherwise can’t afford to pay for rental costs out of pocket.
- Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) – If you own a newer vehicle or owe more on your loan than your car’s worth, purchasing GAP coverage could represent a wise investment. In some instances, your lender might require it.
- Replacement Cost Coverage – Similarly, this endorsement isn’t always expensive. Still, it will pay to replace your vehicle with one of like kind and quality if it’s stolen or totaled in an accident.
- Towing and Labor – If you drive a lot, the minimal cost of this coverage could prove invaluable if you’re stranded on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere.
What Other Factors Can Impact Your Auto Policy Premium?
In addition to coverage limits, many other factors can potentially impact your auto policy coverage and related premium:
The State in Which You Live
Returning to Finder.com, they report the average cost of a Texas insurance policy is $934.22 per year, which drops to an average of $823.51 for Oklahoma residents.
In other words, even if you didn’t change your coverage, you’d save an average of more than $100 per year only by moving from Texas to Oklahoma.
Your Vehicle’s Make, Model, Trim, Annual Mileage, & Garaging Location
Higher value vehicles cost more to repair or replace, which translates into higher auto insurance premiums.
Where your vehicle is located can also impact premium, as urban dwellers typically pay more than those who live in the suburbs. In turn, suburbanites might pay higher rates than those in rural locales.
How your vehicle is used (e.g., commuting, pleasure, etc.), the number of miles you drive annually, and whether your car’s parked in a locked garage or on the street can all increase or decrease what you pay for insurance.
Given all of this, you must reach out to your IHS Insurance Group agent to ensure that your policy lists these factors correctly.
Drivers in Your Household
Accidents and citations obviously have an impact on what you pay for auto insurance, as can a driver’s age and gender.
For example, a 16-year old male with a speeding citation will almost certainly cost much more to insure than a 30-year old female with a clean record, as just one simplistic example.
Your Insurance Score
Similar to credit, InsuranceScored.com explains that your insurance score “is a numerical ranking based on a complex calculation of various factors that statistically predict risk.”
Specifically, the score “takes into account all of the information that is found in your credit score, plus your past auto insurance history.” These include tickets, accidents, and any insurance claims you’ve filed within the last three to five years, depending on the carrier.
Insurance scores range between 200 and 997, with lower scores typically associated with higher auto (and home) insurance rates.
Because of this importance, you need to make sure that the insurance score listed on your policy is up-to-date.
Is Your Auto Policy Eligible For Discounts?
There are perhaps dozens of different discounts your auto policy might be eligible for, without impacting coverage, depending on the carrier. These include:
- Bundling multiple policies, which could save you as much as 20 percent off your premium
- Pay-in-full (paying your annual policy premium all at once)
- Signing up for electronic funds transfer (EFT)
- Drivers who have taken training courses
- Members of specific organizations (e.g., AARP, military, etc.)
- Married drivers
- Anti-theft devices and other safety equipment
Your friendly IHS Insurance Group agent can walk you through your policy to ensure you’re maximizing your available discounts.
How Can You Learn More About Choosing the Right Auto Coverage?
IHS Insurance Group, based in Tomball, Texas, has helped customers like you find the right auto insurance coverage for more than a decade, while also maximizing their budgets.
Need a FREE Quote or have questions regarding Automobile Insurance Coverage? We have two convenient ways to reach us: