Are you covered? Auto insurance you should know about (& how to save!)

The Nissan GT-R has been a hot car this year, winning prestigious industry awards such as Motor Trend’s “Car of the Year.” If you’re looking to save on insurance costs, don’t expect to be cruising around in this sports car anytime soon because Nissan’s GT-R takes first place in another arena: insurance costs. The GT-R is ranked 2009’s most expensive vehicle to insure, totaling in at an average premium of $2,533 according to Insure.com. Your best bargain insurance-wise would be the Hyundai Santa Fe, which has the lowest insurance premium averaging at just $830. While auto insurance can be pricey, many financial emergencies are caused by major life events such as car accidents or medical conditions, so maintaining adequate insurance is one good way to stay protected from financial ruin. With all the different types of auto insurance available, understanding what you are getting for your money is important.

-Liability is the most important type of insurance and is required by state law. It covers costs associated with property damages or bodily injury caused by you or a member of your family in an accident.

-Collision insurance will pay for the repairs if your car is damaged in an accident.

-Comprehensive insurance pays for damage to your car from factors other than collisions, such as damage from fire or vandalism.

-Uninsured motorist coverage protects you if you are ever in an accident caused by an uninsured driver. It may also protect you against a hit-and-run.

-Personal Injury Protection (PIP) pays medical expenses and lost wages for you and your passengers if you are injured in an accident. If PIP is not required in your state, and you have good health and disability insurance, you can skip purchasing this type of protection or just get the minimum coverage.

-Medical payments (MedPay) will guarantee immediate medical payments regardless of who is at fault. It also covers you and members of your household in any accident involving an automobile, even if you are walking or riding a bicycle.

-No-fault insurance is required in many states. With no-fault, your insurance company would cover your expenses in an accident regardless of who was at fault. Other drivers would be covered by their own policies. This type of insurance eliminates the need for accident victims to establish another’s liability in a lawsuit.

When taking out an insurance policy, finding coverage that meets your needs and the requirements of your state is a top priority. Remember that your insurance must also be affordable.

-Ask your insurance company about discounts. You may be eligible for discounts for being a safe driver, good student, or college graduate.

-Remember, your credit matters. Car insurance companies take your credit rating into account when creating a policy for you. Insurance companies view credit reports as predictors of risk: if you’re responsible with your finances, you’ll be responsible with your car.

-Shop around. Web sites like Insurance.com and Esurance.com let you comparison shop major auto insurance providers to find the best policy for you.

Alexis Holloway is a former copywriter and e-Commerce Coordinator for MMI.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.
  • The National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER) is the nation’s oldest and largest higher education finance trade association. NCHER’s membership includes state, nonprofit, and for-profit higher education service organizations, including lenders, servicers, guaranty agencies, collection agencies, financial literacy providers, and schools, interested and involved in increasing college access and success. It assists its members in shaping policies governing federal and private student loan and state grant programs on behalf of students, parents, borrowers, and families.

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  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.