Before you get buy your policy, we recommend that you:
- Know what different car insurance coverages are available to you and what each can do for you. Our car insurance coverage definitions page defines each coverage type and gives recommendations on what limits you should carry (if you choose the coverage).
- Know what your state's auto insurance minimum requirements are. (See our interactive state requirements map here)
- Ask yourself if state-mandated liability limits are high enough for your needs. If you own a house and have other assets to protect, then it's usually recommended that you raise your liability limits to at least $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident for bodily injury liability coverage and $50,000 for property damage liability (typically listed as 100/300/50 coverage). See our coverage calculator for recommendations.
- Determine if uninsured motorist bodily injury and/or underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage is required. In some states, this coverage is sold together, in others they are sold separately. In some states, one is mandated, and in other states both coverages are. In several states, an insurance company must offer you this coverage, but you can reject it in writing. (See “Uninsured motorist: What you need to know”)
- Find out if uninsured motorist property damage is required. In most states, it's not. If you want coverage for your car if it's damaged in an accident, collision is a much better choice.
- Determine if you should carry collision and comprehensive on your vehicle. If your car is leased or financed these coverages are a must. If you own your car outright and it's older, then it's up to you to decide if they are needed. (See “Is it time to drop comp and collision”)
- See if any medical coverage is required or needed. If you live in a no-fault state, then personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payments (MedPay) is typically required. In other states, this is usually optional. If you have good health insurance, then you may not need this coverage if your state doesn't mandate it.
- Figure out what deductibles are right for you. Collision and comprehensive come with deductibles, as do uninsured motorist and PIP in most states. (See “Will higher deductibles save you money”)