Buckle up, this is going to alarm you when you hear it. Nearly 2 million people are injured each year in car accidents; annually, 32,000 crashes are fatal. If that doesn’t make you want to wear your seatbelt and drive safely, we don’t know what will.
Because there are so many accidents each year, it’s almost futile to think you’ll avoid them forever. You, and every other driver, are bound to be in some vehicle collision within your lifetime. This inevitability requires you to have insurance.
Buying auto insurance online, and doing so cheaply, is almost a guessing game – for the uninitiated, at least. This is everything you’ll need to know for avoiding scams and getting the right insurance for you.
Being Prepared Before Purchase
There’s a lot of information that’s required before purchasing car insurance. This information is used in weighing risk by the insurance companies.
It’s pertinent to provide them with exactly what they’re asking; providing any false information can result in fraudulent charges against you. At the very least, your premium will increase dramatically to reflect your perjury. You might be saving yourself a buck or two now by telling a fib, but don’t do it; it’s very expensive in the long-run.
Here’s what you’ll need before you start hunting for quotes:
- Your in-date driver’s license number
- The model of your car
- The make of your vehicle
- When your car was manufactured
- The vehicle’s identification number (VIN)
- Any past moving or traffic violations (within 5 years)
The make, model, and year of your car are all variables within insurance hedging. A new lifted-truck will certainly cost more to cover than a used Chrysler sedan. This all has to do with inherent riskiness.
Insurance companies will also ask for a higher premium if you’re a known reckless driver, which the tickets evidence. Some states have a public record of past moving violations, don’t think that you can hide it. The insurance companies are very thorough and will dig up just about anything.
The main takeaway from this is: be honest with your past driving record and which car you’re insuring.
Who’s At-Fault Here?
Accident fault varies from state to state. There are two main categories of state legislation that correspond to vehicle crashes: no-fault and tort.
No-fault sounds like what it is. Despite what happens before the accident, both (or all) parties are found faultless.
Tort liability is, unsurprisingly, the opposite law. It’s also commonly known as at-fault legislation to better reflect its counterpart. At-fault states make up the grand majority of the states – this includes North Carolina.
They differ in how your insurer pays out claims. If bodily harm is done in an accident in an at-fault state, the person that caused the accident is held responsible. Whereas in a no-fault state, the insurance company pays out claims to their insurance-holder (you) despite who caused the crash.
No-fault states will have insurance premiums that are higher than the states that are tort-based. This is because they will always have to pay out a claim during an unfortunate accident. The only benefit to this system is the time, energy, and cost savings of avoiding investigation and trials.
However, if bodily harm or property damage exceeds the insurer’s coverage, people may sue in claims court in a no-fault state. Typically, the person found accountable for the accident would pay out-of-pocket or through their own insurance to cover the damages.
All of this is very important information to consider. In North Carolina, tort liability is in effect. So, in case of an accident, you must have coverage for bodily injury liability, uninsured motorists, and property damage.
This means you are responsible for covering the losses in the scenario an accident was your fault. Be extra sure to buy insurance that could fully cover you in this case. A good idea is to scale your coverage to the typical car values in your area.
Measuring Your Own Risk When Buying Auto Insurance Online
When buying insurance online, it’s important to tailor the coverage to you. Buying a blanket policy, while convenient, is often going to cost much more expensive than something picked piecemeal.
Insurance companies look at a few, often stereotypical, characteristics of you as a driver.
Men are more often than not riskier drivers, so they’re stuck with higher premiums. Younger, more inexperienced drivers have a harder time finding cheap insurance. Truck owners and sports car drivers have a higher risk to hedge against than the typical four-door owners, which costs them more.
When purchasing insurance, there are typical tiers to choose from. We wouldn’t recommend the base-coverage unless you’re an excellent driver and aren’t driving luxury vehicles.
You should measure the amount of wealth in your area and take it into account when choosing your property damage liability.
If you’re driving through Beverly Hills, you don’t want to own basic insurance. A simple fender-bender could result in thousands of dollars. But if you’re living in rural parts of North Carolina, you won’t need high-value coverage.
You should also measure your own riskiness as a driver. Are you a safe, law-abiding motorist? Or do you operate your vehicle like a Mad Max character?
If you’re the former, there’s no need for extravagant bodily injury liability insurance. For the latter, you should max out your coverage.
Be your own judge. It might be a tough moment of self-reflection, but that could save you a bit of money in the short-run or a monstrous amount in the long-run.
Buy what you need. Don’t buy frivolous coverage.
Buckle Up, You’re Now Insured
Buying auto insurance online is a minefield, at times. That’s certainly true for those that aren’t aware of the many nuances in how insurance works.
When purchasing your coverage, be honest when asked about your past and the vehicle you drive. Check whether your state is an at-fault or a tort liability state. And be your own guide in measuring risk – don’t buy coverage you don’t need.
If you’ve got questions about insurance, we’ve got answers. Reach out to us if you’d like to chat more about insurance coverage in North Carolina.