If you want car insurance, the first thing you need is a car.
You might have known that, but maybe you didn’t. So go get yourself a car.
And when I say car, I’m speaking of automobiles. Vehicles. Trucks, sedan, coupes, convertibles, vans, minivans, station wagons, Yugos. Well, maybe not Yugos. Anyway, get yourself one of those.
I have some games show tunes that I like to play whenever there’s a lull in an article. Feel free to hum along. That theme from “Jeopardy” is catchy, isn’t it? I wonder if Alex Trebek ever sang along when nobody was watching?
Got it? Good
Now that you have a car, you’ll need car insurance.
The question becomes, who are you going to buy the car insurance from?
Buy it from somebody you trust, unless you’re forced to buy from somebody you’re related to.
Sometimes you have to do that. No need to burn any bridges and get yourself cut out of a will.
Ask others to recommend an agent. Don’t ask your brother-in-law. You know how he is. He’s never returned those hedge clippers he borrowed not long after he married your sister.
What was she thinking?
Of course, she never was one to make rational decisions.
She took trigonometry in high school, for crying out loud. I digress. You could check around with a few agents. I recommend going the independent agent route.
Independent agents represent a number of companies and they will shop around for you. That’s nice.
I’m not good at shopping. I don’t enjoy shopping and I can work up a bad attitude about it.
When I go grocery shopping with my wife, my job is to stay close to the cart. When people walk by, I tell them that I’m staying close to the cart. My wife doesn’t ask me to go shopping with her often. At least supermarkets often show the price per ounce of a product. Car insurance doesn’t do that. An insurance policy may not weigh much, yet it carries an incredible amount of weight. That’s what Confucius would have said had he sold insurance.
You will need liability insurance
That provides protection for anything that you might be held liable for regarding an accident or an alleged accident.
I watched one of those judge shows on TV once and learned that just to be on the safe side, it is a good idea to throw the word “alleged” into every sentence I utter.
That makes sense. No, that makes alleged sense.
Liability protection is for incidents whether they are your fault or not. Everything isn’t your fault, you know, no matter what your mother-in-law tells everyone.
Buy as much liability insurance as you can afford and then double that amount. That should shut your mother-in-law up. Liability insurance limits are no place to be parsimonious. You should add an umbrella liability policy so that you will have even more liability insurance. It will make your pillow softer at night.
With the liability insurance coverage, you will get personal injury protection, uninsured motorist, and underinsured motorists coverage. You can stack them like pancakes if you want. Ask an agent how.
You’ll notice that there is no overinsured motorists coverage. There is a message there. Don’t make me have to explain it. These are things that primarily cover you for injuries. They also cover you for loss of income. Think of them is getting something nice for yourself. Get a lot. You deserve it
The agent of your choice will talk to you about something called comprehensive coverage. If you have a loan on the car you’ll need to have comprehensive and collision to make your lender happy.
And that’s our job, isn’t it?
To make our lender happy. Happy lender, happy us.
Comprehensive covers fire, wind, hail, and hitting a deer, just to name a few things. You are also covered if the deer hits you. That happens. Deer are fighting back. They are as mad as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore. You’ll need a lot more insurance than deer carry.
Another thing that comprehensive covers is broken glass. Small stones have one goal. That’s to be tossed into the air by a tire of the car ahead of you that would allow them to smash into your windshield. Many a rock has a chip on his shoulder, yet it still rocks. There’s a lesson there for all of us.
A small rock can crack your windshield, as can a BB fired from the neighbor boy’s BB gun. His mother told him he couldn’t have one because he would put an eye out. She learned that in Mom School. His father believes every boy should have a BB gun and bought him a deluxe model. His mother worries. The boy’s eyes are still intact. It’s the windshields that have the problem.
Comprehensive comes with a deductible
A deductible is an amount you have to pay out of your pocket before the insurance kicks in. We hate it when that happens, but it reduces your premium. That’s good, because insurance always costs too much until we need it. The higher the deductible, the lower the premium. That said, some drivers like to have full coverage on glass. Especially those who wear eyeglasses.
Collision coverage provides a reimbursement of damages if you drive your car into something or if another car hits your car. We collide, it’s a collision. It’s wrong, but we do drive into things.
Remember the time your Aunt Flo drove her car right into that big oak tree that has been majestically providing shade along Main Street for over 150 years? Flo said, “How long has that thing been there?” And then she added as the radiator gave up all of its life’s juices, “They shouldn’t have put that tree where someone could hit it. You ask how I could hit anything that big? How could I miss it?”
Hitting things with a car can result in costs that will give you more jitters than a tall extra-hot double espresso with three pumps of mocha, three pumps of caramel, five creams, five sugars, and foam could do.
Here’s another tip for you. You know you’re drinking too much coffee when the boss asks you to work from home so that the company could save on its coffee expenses.
Just like comprehensive, the higher the deductible, the cheaper your collision rate.
You can add rental reimbursement to pay for a rental car after an accident and towing coverage that pays if your car needs to be towed.
Some companies offer incentives such as first accident forgiveness and guaranteed car replacement.
Your car insurance rates are based on your age, marital status, car usage, type and year of car, your driving record, and your address.
You will want an insurance company that has good claims service. You want them to be fast and fair as every company claims they are and as most of them truly are.
Find an agent who you feel comfortable around. Perhaps one that has been mentioned in talks of possible sainthood. Ask questions. Listen to the answers. This is a big decision. Then ask the questions again. Pretend you’re five years old with a severe case of the “whys.” It’s better to seem stupid than to be improperly protected.
You need car insurance. If you don’t have any car insurance, you will drive the rest of us crazy. Trust me, you don’t want that.
For more information check out our Consumer Guide to Buying Car Insurance
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Enhanced Insurance is not written by attorneys. If you’re looking for legal advice, you need to contact a lawyer. Further, insurance practices and forms change constantly and are varied from state to state. For definitive answers in your area, contact a local agent.
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