Free Online Car Insurance Quotes

August 9th, 2011 Chad Posted in Insurance Rates No Comments »

The hunt for affordable car insurance takes time and the numerous options can become confusing. Fortunately, with the advent of the Internet, the process of finding car insurance has been substantially simplified.

Car insurance websites help research your needs and connect you with the right insurance companies, and receiving free quotes online helps you make the best insurance choices for yourself and your family. However, even though insurance websites have made quoting easy, it’s best to figure out exactly what type of insurance, and how much of it, you need before requesting your quotes.

How Much Car Insurance Should You Get?

When considering your car insurance needs, start with the minimum requirements for the state in which you reside — your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles and some car insurance websites can provide this information. Most states require at least liability coverage, and some require PIP, or personal injury protection. Some states, usually no-fault insurance states, require uninsured motorist protection.

Keep in mind, each states’ required coverage limits might not be sufficient to cover all of the costs in an accident. Consider how much insurance you would require to protect all of your assets in a worst-case scenario.

Specialized Car Insurance Needs

Your personal situation dictates the type of car insurance required for proper protection. Do you have a few points on your driving record? A DUI? Or do you have a special, classic or custom car that you have invested a lot of money in and keep garaged most of the time? Different insurance companies tend to focus on covering a certain niche of drivers.

Many insurers are happy to cover drivers with perfect records, but higher-risk drivers benefit from choosing a company that specializes in providing high-risk coverage. The rates will be much lower, and has partnerships with a variety of insurers that cover these specialty markets in addition to standard-risk policies

Liability Coverage

Liability coverage is the basic type of auto insurance. This insurance covers the other person in an accident, but does not pay for damages to your own vehicle or injuries you sustain. In addition to requiring certain coverage types, each state also has required limits for liability insurance. For example, the state of California requires 15/30/5, or $15,000 of bodily injury coverage per person in one accident; $30,000 coverage for all parties injured in one accident and $5,000 to cover property damage in one accident.

Comprehensive and Collision Coverage

Comprehensive and collision coverage protect you and your car. Collision coverage provides reimbursement for damages from a collision with another car or object. Comprehensive insurance takes care of damages that did not result from a collision. For example, if vandals attack your car or you hit a deer on the road, comprehensive, not collision, insurance covers the damage. Damage from a hailstorm, fallen tree or flood is also covered under comprehensive insurance.

People driving newer-model cars usually need comprehensive and collision coverage. For older cars, it may be less expensive to pay for repairs out-of-pocket. The cost of comprehensive and collision insurance can be expensive, possibly costing more than the amount of repairs or the total value of an older car. Newer cars, and any car that is financed through a loan or lease, will most likely need comprehensive and collision insurance to comply with the financing terms.

Additional Types of Coverage

Gap insurance coverage provides a safety net if your car is totaled in an accident. Most insurance policies only cover the vehicle’s current market value. Additionally, you may be at the mercy of the insurance company when this value is calculated. Gap insurance pays the difference between money from the insurance company and the true value of your vehicle. Gap insurance may also be a requirement in some financing contracts. Other coverage options include emergency road service and rental car reimbursement.

Insurance Company Reputation

Free quotes will help you find the lowest-cost insurance — but before you grab that policy, consider the quality of the company. A cheap policy is not cheap if the insurance company denies or under-pays your claim, or provides grossly inadequate customer service. JD Power and Associates performs an annual National Auto Insurance Study to assess the quality of the nation’s largest insurance companies.

Ratings include policy offerings, pricing, billing and payment and contacting the insurer. National credit rating agencies A.M. Best, Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch Ratings provide financial strength ratings to verify that insurers have the ability to pay out claims.

Free Online Car Insurance Quotes

Free car insurance quotes are available on many different car insurance websites, especially those of the larger, nationwide insurers. The quotes should be free — after all, the car insurance industry is very competitive, and these insurance companies want your business.

Shopping different insurance companies is the easiest way to get lower insurance premiums, since each one will evaluate your situation differently. Some insurance companies place less weight on factors such as traffic tickets, so it’s definitely important to investigate several companies. can help you get started with insurance companies in your area; just enter your zip code.

Five Biggest Auto Insurance Discounts

August 2nd, 2011 jess Posted in Costs, Insurance Rates 1 Comment »

Every car insurance company offers special discounts to draw in new customers. Not all discounts are created equally, though. Here is a list of the five best auto insurance discounts offered by the widest number of car insurance companies in the industry today.

1. Multiple Policy Discounts

A multiple policy discount saves you money if you purchase more than one type of insurance through the same company. Most insurance companies sell more than car insurance. You can take advantage of special pricing packages if you add a homeowner’s policy or life insurance policy through your car insurance company. This discount is especially nice because it can save you money on two types of insurance premiums at the same time.

2. Low Mileage Discounts

Many insurance companies offer lower premiums for drivers who don’t drive very often. The fewer miles you drive, the lower your risk of being involved in an accident. If you aren’t driving a long commute every morning and evening, you might qualify for this discount. Each company has different ranges of mileage that qualify for this discount, so you will need to check with your insurance company to see if you qualify.

3. Good Driver Discounts

It is no secret that a good driving history can keep your car insurance costs down. Aside from the standard rate reductions that go along with being a low-risk driver, many insurance companies also offer substantial discounts for drivers who meet certain qualifications. These discounts can increase if you maintain a safe driving history for a number of consecutive years. Good drivers usually qualify for additional perks, such as accident forgiveness or lower deductibles, which can save you money if you find yourself needing to file a claim after a long period of safe driving.

4. Membership Discounts

Another lucrative car insurance discount can be earned by joining the right organization. Car insurance companies tend to affiliate with other groups or organizations to offer special discounts to the members of those groups. Being a member of AAA or an employee of a local manufacturer could earn you substantial discounts on your car insurance costs. You can find out about potential car insurance discounts by checking with your place of employment and any group, club, or organization that you belong to. If discounts are available, they will have a list of their car insurance affiliates in your area.

5. Good Student Discounts

The most expensive demographic for car insurance is between the ages of 16 and 25. Any discount that can cut down those high insurance costs is worth looking into. Almost every car insurance company offers some sort discount for high school and college students who maintain a 3.0 grade point average. The discounts can apply to a policy that is held by the student individually, or they can apply to a policy that is tied into a parent’s insurance coverage. Either way, good student discounts can ease the pain of buying the necessary car insurance coverage for an adolescent or young adult.

Cheap Senior Citizen Car Insurance – Where Can You Find It?

July 29th, 2011 Chad Posted in Insurance Rates No Comments »

Senior citizens face a dilemma when seeking reasonable rates for automobile insurance. On one hand, they are experienced drivers who tend to be far more cautious than younger people. However, they also have many more accidents, at least statistically, than younger groups. In fact, teenagers and senior citizens account for the majority of all car accidents. Because of this, even if an individual is a good driver, he or she will suffer for the actions of the group.

Senior citizens as a group have more accidents, generally, because of health issues, not because of reckless driving. Many senior citizens have poor eyesight, and they may not realize that they need to correct this problem until it is too late. Senior citizens also have slower reaction times, on average, than younger adults. This means that, even if they do not cause an accident, they may be unable to respond to a reckless driver quickly enough to avert an accident.

Unfortunately, when figuring rates, insurance companies do not always look at who is at fault in an accident. Rather, they take the group as a whole and the amount of claims damage that must be paid out. In this regard, seniors often appear to be a high-risk group.

However, it is possible to get auto insurance coverage that is commiserate with your driving record, even if you are a senior citizen. In other words, some companies will work with you to provide you with a lower-cost policy based on your good driving record, even if you are over 55.

First, talk to your current insurance company. The simple fact is that insurance companies need your business, and your agent or provider may be willing to work with you on your rates if you have a good driving record. Most companies do not want to lose your business, especially if you have been a loyal customer for years.

You can also ask your company about discounts you may not currently receive. Many senior citizens drive far less than younger people, so you may qualify for a discount for low mileage. A good driving record usually offers another discount. You may be able to raise your deductibles if you have a “nest egg” to pay for small damages yourself.
Combining your auto, home, and personal policies can also lower your premiums. Have your agent review your policy completely and offer suggestions on ways to lower your costs.

However, if your current company is not willing to work with you on your rates, you have other options. There are hundreds of companies vying for your business on the internet. While many older people are uncomfortable using the internet to search for lower rates, there are people who are willing to help you perform this task. Your local library or school will be happy to help you learn what you need to know to find an online search feature for rate comparison, if you do not feel able to do this yourself.

The type of vehicle you drive also directly affects your rates. If you own a relatively new vehicle, you might consider selling it and buying something reliable but older which will cost you less in insurance premiums.

Finally, you should consider if you absolutely need car insurance. While you should never drop your coverage if you drive or own a car, many seniors are finding that with public transportation, private transportation companies, and the assistance of family and friends, their limited driving can be eliminated altogether. If you life in a retirement community, enquire about bus service to shopping venues and doctor’s offices. Talk to your family about your transportation needs; it may be cheaper to pay your children or grandchildren some gas money to drive you once a week than to maintain your own vehicle.

Do Misdemeanors Affect Your Auto Insurance Rates?

July 29th, 2011 Chad Posted in Insurance Rates No Comments »

Misdemeanors are crimes of a less severe nature than felonies, usually punishable by up to a year in jail or a fine of less than $1,000. Most crimes are misdemeanors, although an accumulation of misdemeanor offenses can results in a felony charge of “repeat offender” which can carry significant jail time and fines.

Traffic misdemeanors include most speeding tickets, failure to yield at a stop sign or traffic light, and parking tickets.
While a traffic misdemeanor will probably not result in jail time, you will be issued a “ticket,” or a summons to appear in court to address the charge. Most people choose to waive their right to appear in court and argue their cases, simply paying the fine and, in effect, pleading guilty to the charge.

However, this action can have significant consequences beyond the fine itself. Many states exercise a “points” system for tracking driving offenses. If you receive, for example, a speeding ticket for 20 miles an hour over the limit, and you plead guilty and pay the fine, you could receive 2 points on your license. Another ticket within three years might add 4 points to your license, at which time you would have a total of six. If your state laws require a license suspension at this point, you could be without a drivers’ license for six month to a year. Different states have different point requirements, although in general laws are becoming more punitive for dangerous driving infractions.

The points system, or any other system for tracking moving violations, can also affect your car insurance rates. Many states now have a direct database by which they communicate with insurance companies. In fact, many states have computerized systems that allow an officer to know at the moment you are pulled over if your car is covered by insurance, what its limits are, and other information necessary to evaluate an accident or misdemeanor situation.

Your car insurance will inevitably go up if you acquire too many misdemeanor offenses. While parking tickets generally do not acquire points and do not affect your insurance rates, any moving violation will be known to your insurance company, and will definitely cause a rise in your premiums if you acquire many tickets.

Many companies offer “forgiveness” for one speeding ticket, but some do not. A second ticket in a short period of time will almost surely change your rates, as the insurance company believes you to be an “unsafe” driver, one that is taking unnecessary risks when operating an insured vehicle. As rates are based on risk factors, it is only natural that the company would raise your rates if this happens.

The way you are charged can also have an effect on your insurance company’s actions. Some violations, such as reckless driving, may result in a rate increase or even cancellation of your policy, even if it is a first offense. An accumulation of points may also result in cancellation of your policy, at which point you are placed in the unenviable position of having to seek new car insurance with a bad driving record.

There are several ways to keep this from happening to you. Obviously, the easiest course is to drive safely! You will not have a problem with tickets you never get, so obey the speed limit and traffic signs and signals. If you are charged with a moving violation, it may be worth your time to appear in court and address the charges. While most judges will not dismiss speeding tickets or other violations, they will often change the nature of the ticket if you agree to pay the fine without argument.

For example, a judge could reduce the ticket’s speed so that you are under the “cap” imposed by the points system—say from 70 in a 55 mph to 68 in a 55 mph zone. This may have significant consequences if your state is one that imposes a points system based on the number of miles per hour over the speed limit you are traveling. The judge may also be willing to change a “reckless driving” charge to one that will have less impact on your record and your insurance. Be sure to bring any evidence to court with you, and deal respectfully with the judge and court officials. It might be worth the cost to hire a traffic attorney if this is your second or third offense and you are facing significant repercussions for your license and insurance.

Finding Auto Insurance Online

July 27th, 2011 Chad Posted in Insurance Rates No Comments »

Shopping for auto insurance online is as easy as shopping for anything else online. You will find numerous choices available to you, and many agencies will customize your auto insurance policy to meet your needs. Before you choose auto insurance, shop the agencies that offer you great policies that will serve your auto insurance needs and state requirements.

Comparing insurance rates online is a must when you start to locate auto insurance websites. Make sure the company offers certain standard discounts to you, such as good driver, vehicle safety, low mileage, good student, college degree, or senior discounts. Each of these discounts have varying qualifications, and many are determined by state.

There are many insurance carrier companies that offer services via the internet, simply for the convenience that consumers seek today. Being able to choose an auto insurance policy online is progressing, making the purchase quick and easy. Most times, once a policy is purchased, the policy holder can simply print the proof of insurance required by law immediately.

You will want to shop reputable insurance agencies that can offer you a printable policy and proof-of-insurance as soon as you purchase the policy. Online safety of your personal information should be one of your first considerations. Make sure the website or company you are purchasing your auto insurance policy from offers a secure SSL certificate, visible on the webpage, that protects your sensitive data.

The insurance website you shop at should display HTTPS, rather than the standard HTTP, in the website address box This indicates that the site is secure. You should expect to be required to provide personal information when you purchase your auto policy, including your driver’s license number, social security number, and a credit card number.

While purchasing auto insurance online is a new idea to many people, it really is no different than any other banking transaction conducted online. Once you have researched the companies that now offer auto insurance online, compared rates and discounts that could apply to your specific policy, then it is a matter of choosing the cheapest rates offered to you.

Any driver wants to find the cheapest insurance available. States require at least liability coverage, and financial institutions require full coverage in order to protect the amount financed on a vehicle. But finding the cheapest policy requires some research, since most insurance companies adjust rates according to state or personal situations. Shopping for the best insurance rates is an essential part of buying auto insurance. Motorists no longer have to assume their insurance agent offers them the best deal.

Through shopping for insurance coverge on the internet, you now have several insurance rates at your fingertips instantly. This really creates a great deal of competition in the insurance industry. Instead of contacting insurance agents individually, you can amass dozens of quotes instantly.

Once you find the right auto policy for you, have agreed and paid your premium, you can usually print out your policy immediately. But you will want to ensure that your premium remains affordable. Searching online periodically for the best insurance rates is a good idea, in order to maintain the best rate. Many details will change during the course of your policy. Normally, an auto policy remains in effect anywhere from one month to one year. If you move, marry or divorce, or change types of vehicles, you can expect your policy details to be adjusted. Remember, that as your car ages, your policy rates normally decrease if you have had no accidents or tickets. In order to always take advantage of the best and most affordable insurance rates, continue to research the best rates.

Shopping and comparing auto insurance rates online just makes good sense for the world today. One-stop shopping and comparison is less confusing. States require professional and licensed insurance carriers to sell auto insurance. With the simplicity of shopping online, it takes the decision of what you will spend on car insurance out of an individual agent’s hands, and puts it back in yours.

Travelers Insurance vs. Allstate – Pros and Cons

July 26th, 2011 Chad Posted in Insurance Rates No Comments »

Travelers Insurance and Allstate are two of the largest insurance companies in America. Both provide auto , life, and homeowner insurance, and both are established and trusted names in the field. If you compare the two, which is a better company for you?

Travelers Insurance has been the largest insurance provider in market value for years. Because Travelers agents are independent, they form a network that reaches all over the globe. The origins of the company are based in Travelers of Hartford, which was founded in 1864, and St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance, which was founded in 1853. The two companies became the Travelers Group in 1995. Because the organization structure is so diverse, services offered by agents may vary greatly from location to location.

Allstate is the largest publicly-held personal insurance firm in the nation, and the second-largest provider of personal insurance, such as home, auto, and life insurance. Allstate has its origins in the Sears Corporation, and has offered personal insurance since 1931.

According to the J.D. Power’s 2011 list of customer satisfaction with auto insurance companies, Allstate ranked “about average” in total customer satisfaction, as did Travelers. However, on the customer satisfaction index, Allstate scored 781 out of 1000, significantly above Travelers, which garnered 762. Overall, Allstate ranked 14th overall, while Travelers ranked 25th.

Premium comparisons vary from state to state. While in California, Travelers is almost $500 higher than Allstate on average, in Arizona it is $500 less. Part of this stems from the fact that Travelers is an independent agency, and each agent must determine prices based on the local statistics. Allstate, on the other hand, can spread costs over a much larger, national area, thereby reducing costs in some major markets.

Complaint ratios are, however, higher for Allstate than Travelers. When compared on a per capita basis, Allstate’s complaint ratio is at least twice Travelers in each state measured. This may also be due to the independent agency nature of Travelers; individual agents work more closely with their clients and are generally local, whereas Allstate agents work for a national company and may have less control over certain issues.

Generally speaking, if you live in a metropolitan area or an area where premiums are higher than the national average, you may be able to save more money with Allstate than with Travelers. On the other hand, if you live in a more suburban or rural area where rates are lower, Travelers may be cheaper.

Further, if you require a more personal interaction with your agent, and need to have him or her available on a regular basis and able to make decisions about your coverage, Travelers may be able to offer more tailored service. Allstate agents may be bound by national corporate policy, which may reduce the effectiveness they have regarding your individual needs.

Both companies are solvent and able to pay claims. Your decision should be based, ultimately, on how comfortable you feel with the agent and your interactions with the company, and on which agency will give you the best price for your auto insurance.

Low Cost Auto Insurance in Houston

July 25th, 2011 Chad Posted in Insurance Rates No Comments »

Houston, Texas, is a vibrant and eclectic city, and a great place to live. Unfortunately, tremendous traffic and congestion have also made this city’s car insurance rates rise in recent years. However, if you are looking for low-cost car insurance in Houston, there are several ways you can find a policy that will be affordable for you.

Houston is one of the largest cities in the United States, and home to more Fortune 500 companies than any city except New York. Because of the tremendous influx of industry and people to this city, Houston has the highest insurance rates in the state of Texas.

The good news is that Texas insurance rates overall are well below the national average, especially in major cities. A Houston resident can expect to pay an average of $1750 per year, which is $300 per year more than the rest of the residents of the state.

Of course, this average price has nothing to do with your individual rates, which are determined by a variety of factors.
People who get the best rates will typically fall into one of several categories. First, those who use multiple-car discounts to ensure more than one vehicle will enjoy lower average costs than those with a single vehicle. Those with good driving records, meaning no tickets or accidents, will have lower costs. Finally, those who live outside the metro area and drive limited distances will pay less than those who live and work downtown.

Your car also affects your rates. As you are shopping for a car, consider that sedans cost less to ensure than sports cars, larger cars cost more than smaller vehicles, and older cars are cheaper to insure than new cars. You can get a quote on your proposed purchase to compare the rates.

Shopping for affordable insurance involves several steps. First, determine how much insurance you actually need. Texas requires basic policy limits of $30,000 per person and $25,000 for property damage, effective January 1, 2011. You probably need to set your limits higher than the minimum, in order to fully protect yourself in the event of a lawsuit. You should also determine if you need only basic coverage or if you should take out a comprehensive policy. Comprehensive insurance covers you if your car is stolen, vandalized, or damaged in an event other than an accident. Older cars which will cost little to replace probably do not need comprehensive coverage, but you can always find a quote and determine if the cost is worth the extra coverage.

Once you know what coverage you need, it is time to shop for rates. Remember that price is not the only determining factor in choosing a policy; you also want to buy from a reliable company with good customer service. The cheapest insurance is not always the best value. Read reviews about the company and see what their customers say about their experiences in filing claims.

Finally, talk to the agencies from which you wish to purchase, either by phone or by visiting their offices. It is possible to do business completely online, but most people like to have some face-to-face contact when they have questions.

TexasSure is a new program which requires insurance companies to report the status of your insurance coverage, so that law enforcement officials have this information immediately in case of an accident or traffic stop. It is very important to make sure that your car is covered at all times, as the fines for failure to have insurance are expensive.

Cheap Car Insurance in Tennessee, How Do You Find It?

July 24th, 2011 Chad Posted in Insurance Rates No Comments »

If you live in Tennessee and need affordable car insurance, there are several ways to find a good rate. Online shopping, comparison of major companies, and discount auto insurance brokers are able to give you competitive rates for your policy.

Tennessee law does not require you to have insurance to register your vehicle. However, Tennessee operates on the tort law process, which means that if you are uninsured and you are involved in an accident, you can be sued for the entire amount of the damages, which can be significant. In order to protect yourself and your assets, it is important to have reliable insurance coverage.

The average cost of a policy in Tennessee is estimated to be $666.22, an increase of 2.4% over the past few years. This estimate includes $309.11 for collision insurance, $361.80 for liability, and $128.49 for comprehensive coverage. If you have an older vehicle and are a safe driver, you may not need comprehensive insurance, which covers you for events other than a car accident, or collision, which repairs damage to your car if you cause the wreck. However, you must consider the cost of fixing the damage yourself before deciding not to take out this coverage.

Finding a reasonable rate should be simple, but the variety of choices available can confuse you and leave you wondering why there is such a disparity in pricing. Online shopping in particular has created many options for potential purchasers, and it is not always easy to tell which deal is best for you.

As you search online for competitive rates, keep in mind that you should choose a policy that meets your needs and has a high liability limit. Many online advertisements do not point out that the low rates they quote include minimum coverage or high deductibles. Since tort law applies in Tennessee, it is important to have enough coverage to pay for any damages you might cause in an accident, or you may be required to pay the difference yourself.

Once you have narrowed your choices based on similar coverage, you can also compare the prices offered by major companies with agency offices. Simply calling these offices will give you a quote for your insurance. Be sure to be specific about which coverage you want and your former driving record. If you have a good record, you should expect to pay less for your policy.

Finally, many “discount” brokers advertise on television and the internet with competitive auto insurance rates. You should be cautious and read the proposal carefully, as many of these companies cut costs by cutting services. However, if you are comfortable operating without a personal agent, and you can handle online management of your account, minimum coverage options may be cheaper with these firms.

Finding affordable insurance takes a bit of research, and you should never be afraid to ask questions. If one company advertises a rate that is much lower than similar companies, you should beware. Ask about liability limits and other factors that may affect cost. Also, be sure to determine if the rate is an “introductory” rate, which will rise after a certain period of time.

Cheap Auto Insurance for College Students

July 23rd, 2011 Chad Posted in Insurance Rates No Comments »

College students are often good drivers, but they have a hard time finding affordable car insurance. There are several ways you can reduce your insurance rates, and several factors that will affect you if you are college-aged and looking for a good insurance policy at a reasonable rate.

First, if you are in college and still considered a dependent of your parents, you can often remain under their insurance policy while you are in school. This is usually by far the cheapest option for most college students, as parents tend to have reasonable rates that transfer to you as a student. If your parents wish you to contribute to the overall insurance bill, understand that this may be your best choice as you probably will not find cheaper insurance on your own. Be sure to have your parents ask specifically if you are covered while you are in school in another state, as some policies have different rules about this situation.

On the other hand, there are cases where college students are emancipated, or are not considered dependents of their parents. You may have moved out and already had insurance on your own, or your parents may not be willing to keep you on their insurance policy. If you have to look for your own insurance, there are a couple of things you need to understand.

First, although your individual driving record can certainly count against you if it is bad, it probably will not help you much if it is good. This may not seem fair, but remember that rates are generated from actuarial data, and younger drivers are consistently involved in more accidents than older ones. Because of your age, you will simply pay higher premiums even if you are a good driver than someone ten years older than you. Most insurance rates begin to drop around the age of 25, and by the age of 30, you can probably receive rates comparable to that of your parents if you have a good driving record.

Although it may not help you to get a better rate, your current good driving record can be a bonus in keeping your rates from increasing. Being on the honor roll at your school and taking driver’s education classes can further help to reduce your premiums, so take advantage of those discounts if your insurance company offers them.

Be sure to keep in mind that just one ticket or accident can cause your premiums to soar. Obviously, drinking and driving, whether you are the driver or a passenger in the car, is terribly dangerous and should be avoided at all times. One DUI arrest and conviction will probably make it nearly impossible for you to get insurance for the next few years while you finish school.

Talk with your agent about your driving habits. If you drive your car less than 15 miles per day or 50 miles per week, if your car is parked in a secured garage, or if you are not driving in urban areas, you may be able to reduce your premiums significantly.

While cheap auto insurance for college students is difficult to find, using the discounts and strategies that help to reduce the premiums can help you save some money.

What are Your UM/UIM Limits and Why You Should Check

July 18th, 2011 jess Posted in Costs, Insurance Rates No Comments »

Despite the fact that all fifty states mandate a certain level of insurance coverage before a driver can set out on the open road, many people leave the house with inadequate coverage — or without coverage at all. An accident involving this type of driver could be extremely expensive. Luckily, the conscientious driver can purchase a UM/UIM option with their car insurance policy to help blunt the effects of irresponsible drivers who have inadequate or nonexistent insurance coverage.

UM/UIM Explained

UM/UIM insurance essentially stands for a much longer title: Uninsured Motorists / Under Insured Motorists. It guards against those who haven’t purchased auto insurance before setting out on the open road, or those who simply have purchased minimal coverage that is not sufficient to cover the high cost of medical and repair bills for the other motorist involved in an accident.

Many states don’t require the coverage, but is available in all of them. It’s worth taking a moment to check whether you have this coverage on your policy, as many people simply don’t realize what it is, why they need it, and how it can help them. If you don’t have it on your policy, the time to add it is now — maybe even yesterday. If you currently have a policy, it’s worth checking into the coverage amounts and limits it provides.

What Are Your Limits?

It’s important for drivers to know exactly what the UM/UIM policy and limits are because the number of uninsured drivers on the road numbers in the tens of millions. The likelihood of a collision with an uninsured or under insured motorist is on the rise, as are the associated medical and repair costs. The poor economy means that many drivers simply can’t pay the insurance bill but keep driving anyway because they have to get to work.

Being aware of your coverage limits ensures that you will be able to talk with your insurance company about your options in the event of an accident. It also ensures that your financial situation will not be at risk due to another motorist’s insurance problems.

What It Covers

UM/UIM insurance can cover medical bills resulting from an uninsured motorist’s indiscretion. This is vitally important, as an uninsured motorist simply will not be able to compensate an affected driver for any costs. While a driver can sue for damages and repairs, it’s likely that someone who hasn’t purchased insurance will not have the money to pay court fees, damages settlements, or other court-mandated consequences.

And while an affected driver’s insurance company may cover some of the costs, it will leave thousands — maybe even tens of thousands — of dollars uncovered and payable immediately. There is really nothing else an insurance company can or will do, essentially because your premium amount determines your coverage and it’s only within their power to provide as much coverage and compensation as you originally paid for.

Lacking UM/UIM insurance can lead a driver straight to financial ruin, and that’s reason enough to check your limits and make sure you have adequate coverage.