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Without adequate auto insurance a driver can get into some serious trouble, even from the most minor of collisions. Not only could they be stuck with thousands of dollars to pay out of pocket, but they could also be jailed. In the United States, if you drive a vehicle, you are required by law to have automobile insurance for that respective vehicle. In the worst case scenario you could be stuck in jail, while still having a large sum of money to pay for not only your vehicle, but the other driver's as well. This is why it's vitally important to not only have an auto insurance policy, but to find one with coverage that adequately suits your needs.
While it's definitely critical to have insurance if you own and operate a vehicle, you shouldn't choose just any ol' policy from the first insurance provider you talk to. There are steps you can take to ensure you are getting a good deal and good coverage at the same time. The first thing you'll want to do is comparison shop. There are several ways to go about comparison shopping various insurance providers. First, many websites offer a program where you can enter your information into one database and, within seconds, be provided with insurance quotes from all the major insurance providers. These websites offer a convenient means of getting an idea of what you'll pay on auto insurance. Of course, most of these websites do not include quotes from independent insurance companies, if you wanted to go that route. Sometimes, based on the information your provide in the database, you may have to wait for a return phone call from an insurance agent, in order to receive a quote. That may be better, actually, because you can then address any questions or concerns you have about that company or your insurance policy.
While you can certainly obtain decent insurance coverage through an independent insurance provider, we recommend you go through one of the major companies. This is because the major providers receive the most income from clients. Thus they have more money to pay out, should an incident occur. All you should have to pay is a previously agreed upon deductible. Independent providers usually have higher deductibles for you to pay, since they do not receive the amount of business as say, State Farm or Allstate.
If you have poor credit, you will certainly want to repair it as much as possible prior to receiving auto insurance. Like many other things in life, if you do not have a good credit score you may end up paying a much higher premium than you would with a solid score. In some cases you could even be denied insurance coverage altogether. Not good!
You'll also have to decide if you want to pay a higher deductible and lower premium, or higher premium and lower deductible. When you choose a higher deductible, that will reduce your premium monthly payment. However, should an accident or collision occur you will have to pay more out of pocket for repair expenses to your car and the other driver's (if you are the one at fault). Conversely if you choose a higher premium you will have to pay higher monthly rates, but will pay less out of pocket when an accident does occur.
Lastly you should inquire about any discounts that may save you money. Insurance providers likely aren't going to be incredibly forthcoming with discounts that are available, such as good student discounts, safe driver discounts, being married, etc. It's up to you to make sure you save money wherever possible.