Buying and insuring your first vehicle can be an exciting yet intimidating venture. There are a lot of complicated ins and outs when it comes to car insurance, so it is important to begin with understanding the basics.
What Car Insurance Do I Need?
Each state has different laws regarding car insurance. Most states have a minimum requirement of liability insurance. Liability insurance covers other drivers and passengers in case you cause an accident. Check with your state about their minimum requirements. Insurance agencies must offer this minimum liability requirement. In Illinois, you must carry:
$25,000 for injury or death of one person in an accident
$20,000 for damage to property of another person.
$50,000 for injury or death of more than one person in an accident
Bodily injury liability helps with the medical expenses of the other driver and their passengers if you cause an accident. Property damage compensates for damage to others’ property while you’re operating the insured vehicle. Liability insurance can also help you with legal expenses, should a victim of an at-fault accident decide to sue.
Full Coverage Auto Insurance
Liability insurance doesn’t cover everything, however. You want enough coverage to protect yourself, your passengers and your vehicle in case of an accident. A lot of people throw around the term “full coverage.” Full coverage is actually relative. It’s a blanket term for the largest amount of insurance you can have on your vehicle. Most full coverage policies have liability insurance as well as:
Comprehensive Coverage: Comprehensive coverage provides compensation for damages done to your vehicle through incidents not involving collision. This includes damage by fire, wind, hail, theft and vandalism.
Collision Coverage: Collision coverage provides compensation if your vehicle is damaged due to a collision with another vehicle or object.
Personal Injury Protection: Personal injury protection (PIP) provides compensation for your and your passengers’ medical bills after an accident.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: This coverage steps in if you have an accident involving a driver who isn’t carrying insurance.
Towing: Towing services are available in case you break down on the side of the road.
How Do I File a Car Insurance Claim?
If you have a car insurance policy and need to file a claim, make sure to call your agent 48-72 hours after the accident. Once you file a claim, the agency will investigate your claim.
Ask an experienced driver for assistance if needed and shop around to compare quotes among multiple insurers to find the best insurance policy for your car.