Ehhhh ... I mean, you won't face a legal penalty. (They vary by state, but usually involve hefty fines. Plus, your license could get suspended.) In terms of adequate coverage, it depends on where you live. Some states have low minimums. In fact, many only require liability insurance, which covers property damage or bodily injury you cause other people. You would need other types of car insurance if you wanted coverage for damage to your car.
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Since most people choose one of these large insurers, NerdWallet compared quotes from the five largest auto companies in ZIP codes across the country. Rates are for policies that include minimum coverage required in each state, plus collision and comprehensive coverage. Our “good driver” profile is a 30-year-old with no moving violations and credit in the “good” tier. Use the tabs to see rates for drivers with credit in the “poor” tier and those with one at-fault accident as reported to the insurer.
Liberty Mutual actually tied Erie insurance for this category, but since we already called Erie the best overall company, we'll describe how Liberty Mutual is well known for a strong shopping experience. Customers of Liberty Mutual report in the study they were particularly satisfied with the flexibility of policies offered by Liberty Mutual, as well as their relationship with Liberty Mutual agents. If Erie is not located in your state, Liberty Mutual can be a good alternative if you can get a competitive rate.
If you opt for the minimum required coverage in Virginia, prepare to pay an average of $385 annually. This is more affordable than the U.S. average by 41%. If you opt for better coverage, you can select a policy with comprehensive and collision coverage, protecting against costs incurred by car collisions, theft and vandalism, or weather incidents. It's worth noting that better coverage has a price: in Virginia, a comprehensive policy with a $1,000 deductible costs $792, 105% more than liability-only coverage. For a comprehensive policy with a $500 deductible, expect to pay 135% more than you would for a basic liability-only policy.
Amica was the strongest company overall in our research, and ranked number two in J.D. Power’s 2018 customer satisfaction report — that means out of 44,622 surveyed drivers, it had the second highest satisfaction rating among more than 20 different companies. It also received the highest Consumer Reports rating among auto insurance providers — as it has every year since at least 1999. Consumer Reports even noted that an overwhelming number of customers reported “relatively few” problems during the claims process.
Collision and comprehensive only cover the market value of your car, not what you paid for it—and new cars depreciate quickly. If your car is totaled or stolen, there may be a “gap” between what you owe on the vehicle and your insurance coverage. To cover this, you may want to look into purchasing gap insurance to pay the difference. Note that for leased vehicles, gap coverage is usually rolled into your lease payments.
Beyond the standard protections, supplemental (or “add-on”) coverage will keep you protected against the additional costs that often come with accidents. Features like car rental coverage may not seem essential when you view them as just another added cost, but the increase in your rate could still be lower than the cost of renting a replacement vehicle if your damaged car is in the shop for a while. The options offered by providers vary widely in both availability and cost. Our favorites offer supplemental coverage options that can build a policy for every profile.
The type of car you drive matters. If you drive a vehicle that is listed as high theft, or more likely to be involved in an accident, expect to pay higher premiums. Even cars that have collision protection can actually drive up the price due to the cost of repairs. Other things that will drive the cost of repairs up is after-market installs. Things like rims, spoilers, and exterior lighting can be costly to repair. You will want to make sure that you have the right coverage to cover damage to after factory installs.
When your goal is finding the best policy at an attractive price, it pays to compare several of the highest rated companies side by side. When figuring out which companies to highlight, we looked at several auto insurance related studies, including J.D. Power’s Auto Claims Satisfaction Study. From those studies, we handpicked several companies that received high ratings across the board.
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