If you drive a car then you’re legally obligated to have auto insurance. But if only finding and buying an auto insurance policy were that easy. Auto insurance policies have many features, some are really important and others not so much. That’s why it’s important to master the art of comparison shopping, says Bankrate. One of the websites you can do this with is CoverHound, a one-stop shop for all auto insurance compare questions and curiosities.
But regardless of the means you use to shop and compare auto insurance, you should keep the following things in mind to get the best insurance possible.
The Must Haves
There are certain things you have to have in an auto insurance policy and a good policy will include them. They are:
- Windshield coverage. This ensures that your windshield will be replaced or repaired if damaged. A good policy will make sure you get up to the market value for your windshield replacement, but you may want to check if windows or sunroofs are also included.
- Personal Belonging coverage. This covers the damage or loss of personal items in an accident or due to theft or fire when they are in your car. A good policy will insure your belongings for $300 or more, but this normally doesn’t include items like money, debit or credit cards and tickets. Plus, if you’ve left things in an unlocked car or convertible with the top down, they may not be covered.
- Theft or Loss of Keys. A good policy will insure the loss or theft of the keys to the car, alarm, steering lock or garage door is covered up to a certain value.
- Protected no claims discount. This protects a no claims discount and ensures that you don’t lose it following a claim. A good policy will give you the choice of adding this to your policy or include it standard for up to two claims in a three year time period.
- If you are in an accident and your car is not drivable from the scene. A good insurance policy will include removing your car from the accident site to either the junkyard or to a shop for repair.
- Rental car. If your car needs repairs due to an accident, then a good policy will make sure that you have a reasonable replacement until the repairs are finished. This can be included or be an add on.
- If your car is in an accident and needs to be repaired then a good insurance policy will guarantee repair work at an approved shop.
The Should Haves
These are items that should be included or at least available as an add on in a good insurance policy. They are:
- New car replacement. In the event that your car is stolen or damaged in an accident and deemed a total loss.
- Stereo and navigation coverage. This ensures that your stereo or navigation system is covered for damage or loss.
- Accident transport. A good policy will provide transportation for you and any passengers if you are in an accident and your car is not in drivable condition.
- Hotel expenses. If you are in an accident away from home, the insurance company will pay for a hotel for your passengers.
- 24-hour hotline for help. If you have an emergency, your insurance company should have a number you can call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Legal expenses. If you are in an accident that is not your fault, your provider should offer legal help to assist you in any recovery of uninsured losses.
- Breakdown coverage or roadside assistance. If you’re out and about and your car has a mechanical failure, you should be able to call for a tow.
The Could Haves
These are not often standard on an auto insurance policy, but could be included or at least offered as at an additional cost.
- Driving abroad coverage.
- Children’s car seat replacement, if it is damaged in an accident.
What to Watch Out For
These are things that you should look at your insurance policy for as an indication of how good your policy is. They are:
- Accidental damage excess. This is how much money you will need to pay in the event of an accident. If it seems like a large amount, you may want to go shopping for new insurance.
- Windshield replacement excess. This is how much money you will need to pay if you have to replace your windshield.
These are guidelines for what to look for in an auto insurance policy. The best thing you can do to make sure you’re getting the best deal is to comparison shop, and not just when you’re looking for a new policy. It’s also a good practice to shop around every couple of years to make sure you are really getting the best deal you can.