Quick Tips: How to Research Before Buying Car Insurance

The key to getting the best auto insurance value is education. First, let's start with the basics: the six types of coverage that are common to any comprehensive auto insurance policy:

1) Bodily Injury Liability,
2) Medical Payments/Personal Injury Protection (PIP),
3) Property Damage Liability,
4) Collision,
5) Comprehensive - This coverage reimburses you for loss due to theft or damage caused by something other than a collision with another car or object (e.g., fire, earthquake, animal), and
6) Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist - coverage in case you are hit by an uninsured or hit-and-run driver.

As you weigh your insurance options, be certain that you have what you need in each of these six areas.

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Second, do a little research. Brush up on your personal finance skills. Even if you're good with money, a little refresher course never hurt anyone! In addition to finance basics, there are a few highly reputable places to look for honest, trustworthy insurance information. In summary, your research should consist of:

1) Study books about personal finance - browse or skim books like Personal Finance for Dummies, The Insurance Maze by Kimberly Landford, and Automobile Insurance Made Simple by Ed Boylan.

2) Check with your state’s Insurance Commissioner. They help settle disputes. Perusing their web site may yield useful information about other drivers' experiences with auto insurance providers.

3) Compare rankings for insurance companies. Check ratings from Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, and Best’s.

Now that you have become an educated consumer, get quotes from several insurance companies. Compare coverage based on your needs, not necessarily price.