You’ve saved, researched models and brands, and now you’ve finally taken the plunge and bought a car—congratulations! But before you hit the open road, you need to take care of a few things first, and that means it’s time to buy yourself some car insurance. Since you just dropped a big chunk of change on your car, you might think the smart thing to do is save a few bucks a month by picking the minimum required coverage, right?
Don’t do it, it’s a trap! Okay, so maybe it’s not that dramatic, but going with a minimum coverage plan could end up costing you a lot more than you’d expect. Here are a few things to consider when you’re tempted to pick the cheapest option:
Imagine it (even though you might not want to): you and your new car get into a fender-bender, and, surprise, the other driver doesn’t have insurance (or also has minimal coverage…ahem.) If your minimum policy doesn’t include Uninsured Motorist coverage, guess who’s paying to make your baby beautiful again? Yep, it’s you!
Let’s imagine another scenario: say you get into an accident with another driver…and it’s your fault. What will your insurance cover if you only have the minimum? Nothing. The cost to repair or replace your vehicle will not be covered if you don’t include collision coverage in your plan. So, say goodbye to whatever money you saved by picking the cheapest plan, because now it’s all going towards patching up your car.
Sometimes the worst damages to your car are from the things you don’t see coming—literally. Deer, hail, or even a car thief can strike when you least expect them, which is why being prepared by adding comprehensive coverage to your plan is so important. Comprehensive coverage is not included in a minimum coverage plan, so if any unexpected emergencies crop up and you only have basic coverage, you’ll be on your own to cover the costs.
What if you’re at fault in an accident and the other driver is hurt badly enough to go to the hospital? They’re bound to accrue some big medical bills, and if they’re seriously injured, those costs could be upwards of six figures. If you picked the minimum coverage, it might only pay for a fraction of those bills. Guess where the rest of that money comes from? That’s right…your pocket. You’re responsible for forking over whatever your insurance doesn’t cover. So, if your insurance doesn’t cover much, well…yikes.
The dollar amount on the minimum coverage might seem high, but you’d be surprised how quickly that number can be reached. After all, repairs can be expensive, and sadly, so can medical bills. Your car insurance is made up of a bunch of different policies, and they all add up to provide protection for not only you and your car, but also for anyone you might end up hitting, and their car as well. Think of it this way: low payments equal low protection.
So, what do you do? You don’t want to settle for minimum coverage, but you don’t want to break the bank paying for car insurance either. Consider picking a plan one step up from the minimum, or a plan with a slightly higher deductible (the amount you pay before your coverage kicks in). It may seem counterintuitive, but plans with higher deductibles typically mean lower monthly premiums. Just make sure you go with a deductible that fits in your budget, and you can hit the road with peace of mind (and knowing that cheapest isn’t always best!)