By Sarah Netter
In the market for a new car? Then you should already be in the market for car insurance.
When it comes to car insurance, the decision-making process should start before you buy or lease a vehicle, says Michael Barry, vice president of media relations for the Insurance Information Institute.
The make, model, mileage and how much you drive can all play a role in your final premium. Do you need extra collision or comprehensive coverage? Do you need roadside assistance built into your policy?
Here are a few things to think about while you’re shopping for the right car insurance:
You may still be liable in a collision. A good insurance company will work with you to help determine the right amount of coverage. While most states have liability coverage, you should also consider collision and comprehensive coverage. According to the Insurance Information Institute, 78 percent of drivers purchase comprehensive coverage in addition to liability insurance and 73 percent purchase collision coverage.
You need to understand your policy. The right insurance representative will walk you through the fine print—and sometimes there’s a lot of fine print. Some states, such as Nevada and Missouri, post sample basic auto insurance policies on their websites. “There’s a lot of information out there and you don’t even have to spend too much time tracking it down,” Barry said. Before you make a final decision, compare policies to make sure you select the policy that works best for you.
You need to understand the perks and benefits that can affect your bottom line. From roadside assistance to glass repair, ask your insurance representative what other benefits or discount programs the company might offer. It may save you money in the long run. Insurance policies that include roadside assistance often include services such as non-accident related towing, flat tire changes and jumpstarts, fuel delivery and unlocking doors.
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Sarah Netter is a Yahoo Storyteller. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and ABC News.