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Have you been driving without car insurance? If you have, you might be putting yourself at risk of high repair bills, having your license suspended and even jail time if this isn’t your first time getting caught without coverage. While some form of liability coverage is a requirement to drive in nearly every state, the benefits of car insurance go far beyond simply keeping you out of trouble with the law. Read on to learn more about why you should get car insurance today if you don’t already have coverage.
No one wants to think about the possibility of themselves being involved in a car accident. Unfortunately, collisions on the road are relatively common occurrences — each year, about 4.4 million men and women experience a collision that’s serious enough to require medical intervention. Maintaining car insurance coverage can help you avoid thousands of dollars in medical bills and fines in the event that you’re involved in one of these accidents. The following are five reasons why you should never go without insurance.
Do you know how much it might cost to repair your vehicle after an accident — and do you have enough money in your savings account to cover auto body repairs? Contrary to popular belief, even minor fender benders can result in high repair bills. Here’s what you can expect to pay for some of the most common repairs auto body shops see after an accident.
If you’re involved in an accident and you don’t have car insurance, you could be left paying for the entirety of these repairs out of pocket. Those bills can put a serious strain on your household finances, especially if you rely on your vehicle to get to and from school or work. However, if you have auto insurance, you may be able to file a claim with your insurance company to pay for a large portion of the repairs you need to fund.
An important note to keep in mind — if you want protection for your own vehicle following an accident, you’ll need to be sure that you have collision coverage on your auto insurance policy. Collision coverage is not a legal requirement to be on the road, which means that if you purchase state minimum coverage, you will not be able to make an insurance claim for your own vehicle following an accident. Thankfully, every major auto insurance company offers collision insurance as an add-on coverage. You can easily bundle your state minimum liability insurance alongside your collision coverage without spending hours doing new research on companies in your area.
The government requires drivers to maintain car insurance to protect themselves from the potentially astronomical costs they would face from other drivers following an accident. For example, if you cause a major accident, the driver that you collide with could potentially sue you for medical bills, the cost of repairs to their vehicles, loss of use and more.
In order to avoid putting this financial burden on individuals and filling the court system with vehicle-related lawsuits, you’re required to have liability insurance. When you accept an insurance settlement in most states, you also waive your right to sue the other driver for damages. This process cuts down on the number of court cases related to collisions, as most people would rather take a check from the insurance company now rather than spend money to hire a lawyer and wait months or even years for the case to close.
Imagine that you’re involved in a major accident, and you cause $100,000 worth of damage to another driver — a scenario that’s not as crazy as it may seem when you consider both medical costs and vehicle repairs. If you don’t have $100,000 sitting in your bank account, the other driver involved in the accident could theoretically access your assets in order to fund their compensation. The assessment could include your investments, your vehicle and even your home.
When you have liability insurance, you create distance between the amount of money that you owe the victim and your personal assets. While you might not have $100,000 in cash, you could have a large portion of this bill covered by your auto insurance policy depending on your policy limits. This is why it’s always a good idea to consider increasing your liability insurance coverage when you make a major purchase — like buying a home or a new car.
Of course, the reason why most drivers buy car insurance is because it is required by law to operate a motor vehicle. Almost every state requires you to maintain at least two types of car insurance, including the following.
Only two states don’t require you to purchase auto coverage in order to drive — Virginia and New Hampshire. However, even in these states, you can only escape your insurance requirement if you prove financial responsibility in the form of a cash bond or annual uninsured motorist fee.
Keep in mind that neither of these options absolve you from your responsibility to pay for other drivers’ medical and repair bills following an accident — they only allow you to legally drive without insurance. If you live in a state that doesn’t require car insurance, it’s still not a good idea to drive without a policy because you’ll be personally responsible for paying any bills from other drivers following a collision.
Being involved in a collision on the road can be an incredibly stressful situation, and you may have no idea what to do after even a minor accident. When you have car insurance and you need to file a claim, you’ll have access to representatives who can help guide you in the next steps. Your auto insurance representative may help you cover your bases on a legal level (for example, by helping you document the scene of the accident) as well as file a legitimate claim.
You can purchase a type of insurance called “uninsured motorist coverage” that helps you pay for expenses if you’re involved in an accident with a driver who doesn’t have insurance. Uninsured motorist coverage can help you pay for:
In some states, you are required to have a special type of insurance called personal injury protection (PIP). PIP helps you pay for your own medical bills regardless of who caused the accident. This coverage also applies to drivers who illegally leave the scene of an accident during a hit and run. Keep in mind that PIP only applies to your medical bills — your collision insurance, if you have it, handles claims you file to help pay for vehicle repairs.
In addition to the major benefits of having insurance, you might also be able to add extra benefits with your coverage, including the following.
Rental reimbursement: Rental reimbursement coverage helps you pay for transportation expenses while your vehicle is repaired or replaced following an accident. You can purchase this add-on coverage from most major insurance providers.
Medical payments: In some states, you can purchase medical payments insurance that helps you and your passengers cover medical bills after a collision. This coverage applies regardless of who caused the accident.
Riders: A number of additional riders beyond these examples can help you pay for special circumstances. Some common riders offered may include first accident forgiveness and depreciation waivers.
Exotic/classic car coverage: Exotic and classic cars can be expensive, especially when it comes to repairs. You can purchase specialty insurance for these types of vehicles that have higher limits on the amount of money you can get in an insurance claim.
Benzinga offers insights and reviews on the following car insurance providers. You may want to consider beginning your search for coverage with one or more of the links below.
Allstate is one of the largest insurance companies in the country, and it’s been around for 90 years. That means it’s secure and able to pay your car insurance claims. That doesn’t mean it’s stodgy, though. It has introduced innovations like Drivewise, which allows you to save on your insurance based on your driving habits, and Milewise, which is pay-per-mile insurance.
You can purchase insurance online or through an Allstate agent. Allstate offers several options for discounts that can bring down your policy costs significantly. It also offers several types of insurance so you can have all or most of your policies with 1 insurer.
Overall, Allstate is a good choice and worth comparing with other insurers to see if it’s right for you. It’s available in all 50 states and has an A+ rating from AM Best.
The AARP Auto Insurance Program from The Hartford is designed exclusively for AARP members who are at least 50 years old. Some of the unique features of the program can help you save money on your policy over time, especially if you have and maintain a clean driving record.
Other stand-out features include new car replacement (rather than the depreciated value), reimbursements for expenses incurred if you get injured in an accident and lifetime repairs guarantees.
The AARP Auto Insurance from The Hartford is rated #1 by J.D. Power and Associates for customer satisfaction in handling auto insurance claims.
Progressive auto insurance is among the first of the larger insurers to actively embrace usage-based insurance via electronic monitoring of driving habits. Often a refuge for younger drivers and drivers who have been refused insurance elsewhere, progressive markets and supports its insurance products through its website and a network of independent agents.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) is a federation of auto clubs, and it offers a wide range of insurance options, including car insurance. It is the most trusted and familiar name in auto-related services. The company has come a long way since its founding, but the mission remains the same.
Safe and efficient transportation is exactly what AAA commits to per the company’s core statement. AAA is probably best known for its roadside assistance, but the company offers a variety of insurance coverage and memberships as well. AAA strives to make your life easier with its insurance coverage for you and your family. Your safety and security is AAA’s priority.
Yes, it pays to buy insurance — especially car insurance. If you’re caught driving without insurance, you can face fines, have your licenses revoked or suspended and even face jail time. These are only the criminal consequences of driving without insurance. If you’re involved in an accident without coverage, you could face thousands of dollars in bills from the other driver.
Insurance helps you pay for damages incurred under a specific set of circumstances. For example, imagine that you cause an accident that results in the driver you collided with incurring $25,000 worth of medical bills. If you have insurance, your insurance company would pay for this bill, less your deductible. If you are involved in this accident without insurance, you’d be responsible for footing this bill yourself.
Benzinga crafted a specific methodology to rank car insurance. We prioritized carriers based on policy offerings, state availability, customer service and claims, quote and discounts available. We also included car insurance quote aggregators in lists to make it easy and efficient to compare policy quotes and options. To see a comprehensive breakdown of our methodology, please visit see our Car Insurance Methodology page.
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