Estimating Car Insurance Rates: What You Need to Know

How much car insurance should you buy?
There are two answers:
First, you need enough insurance to drive legally. Find out your state car insurance minimum requirements.
Second, you need enough car insurance to protect your life from turning into a living hell if you have a car accident. That can be as easy as buying the minimum coverage. Or it can be much more complicated.

Not all car insurance coverage is the same. Many people overpay for coverages they don’t need, while others don’t have enough coverage but don’t know until it’s too late. This tool will help you decide what coverage options you need. It will make shopping around for the best insurance rates a lot easier, and it takes less than one minute!

car accident
car accident

Choosing the Right Car Insurance Coverage

Getting the right level of car insurance is not one size fits all. What is most important to one consumer isn’t necessary for another.

That’s why it’s critical to get the car insurance that fits your needs.

Car Insurance Coverage Calculator is a quick way to find the right car insurance levels and options for you. While getting the cheapest car insurance is most important for some consumers, another person may want the broadest possible protection. Our calculator understands that personalization is vital when deciding on the best car insurance coverage for your situation.

The calculator includes a short questionnaire that asks you questions about:
  • Your zip code
  • Net worth
  • Age of your vehicle
  • Deductible level
  • Whether you own, lease or finance your vehicle
  • If cheapest car insurance or best protection is most important to you


After completing the questions, the calculator will tell you the right level of insurance for you. You’ll also know whether you are paying for unneeded car insurance coverage or if you don’t have the right level of insurance to protect you and your family’s finances.

How Much Car Insurance do I Need?

The calculator recommends the right level of car insurance coverage for you based on your answers. This coverage can include:

  • Bodily injury liability
  • Property damage liability
  • Uninsured/Underinsured motorist bodily injury
  • Umbrella liability policy
  • Comprehensive and collision
  • Personal injury protection
  • Gap insurance


How much does my age affect my car insurance rates?

Auto insurers penalize inexperience rather than age. Of course, the vast majority of inexperienced drivers are teenagers. Rates for 16-year-olds can double or even triple their parents’ car insurance annual premiums. 

The less experienced the driver, the higher the rates. Among drivers with clean records and no accidents, no other factor changes rates more.

Statistically, inexperienced drivers crash – a lot – and so they are the riskiest category of drivers to insure. Car insurance rates reflect this high risk.

Is there any difference between insurance companies?

Insurance companies must follow state laws, but within those laws they price coverage based on their own underwriting rules and guidelines. One insurance company may look at your driving record for five years, another only for three. The surcharge for a speeding ticket may raise your insurance by 10 percent with one carrier but only 5 percent with another.

You should shop around and get quotes from several carriers. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples -- the same coverages with each insurer -- and check the reliability and financial stability of the insurance carrier.

Finally, make an informed decision about who you want to be insured with for the best price and protection. Don’t let a small savings drive you away from an insurance company you know and trust.

Personal Injury Protection, or Medical Payments, pays for your own medical expenses, any lost wages and whatever other costs may arise when you're injured in an accident, in some states. It usually pays about 80 % of the losses. It also pays a death benefit. PIP is required in New York, New Jersey, Florida, Arkansas, Delaware, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Utah.

A few states require you to purchase auto insurance that covers your medical expenses, pain and suffering losses and, in some states, motor damage in the incident where the other motorist is at fault and is either not insured or underinsured. See the chart below to find out if it applies to you.

State
Liability limits
(in thousands of dollars)
Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage required?
Alabama
25/50/25
No
Alaska
50/100/25
No
Arizona
15/30/10
No
Arkansas
25/50/25
No
California
15/30/5
No
Colorado
25/50/15
No
Connecticut
20/40/10
Yes
Delaware
15/30/10
No
D.C.
25/50/10
Yes
Florida
10/20/10
No
Georgia


25/50/25

No
Hawaii
20/40/10
No
Idaho
25/50/15
No
Illinois
20/40/15
Yes
Indiana
25/50/10
No
Iowa
20/40/15
No
Kansas
25/50/10
Yes
Kentucky
25/50/10
No
Louisiana
10/20/10
No
Maine
50/100/25
Yes
Maryland


20/40/15

Yes
Massachusetts
20/40/5
Yes
Michigan
20/40/10
No
Minnesota
30/60/10

Yes

Mississippi

25/50/25

No
Missouri
25/50/10
Yes
Montana
25/50/10
No
Nebraska
25/50/25
No
Nevada
15/30/10
No
New Hampshire
Not required 25/50/25

Yes

New Jersey
15/30/5
Yes
New Mexico
25/50/10
No
New York
25/50/10

Yes

North Carolina

30/60/25

Yes
North Dakota
25/50/25
Yes
Ohio
12.5/25/7.5
No
Oklahoma
25/50/25
No
Oregon
25/50/10
Yes
Pennsylvania
15/30/5
No
Rhode Island
25/50/25
Yes
South Carolina

25/50/25

Yes
South Dakota
25/50/25
Yes
Tennessee
25/50/10
No
Texas
25/50/25
No
Utah
25/65/15
No
Vermont
25/50/10
Yes
Virginia
25/50/20
Yes
Washington
25/50/10
No
West Virginia
20/40/10
Yes
Wisconsin
Not required 25/50/10
Yes
Wyoming
25/50/20
No

Even though each state has minimum (or no) requirements for bodily injury liability, this is probably in your better interest to go for higher limits. If someone else is injured and you are at fault, the minimum liability coverage may not cover their medical expenses, in which case their attorney will most probably come after your assets. It is recommended to purchase 100/300 limits of bodily injury liability. While, if your personal assets don't amount too much, you do not have a whole lot for them to worry about, so the minimum requirements might actually suit you and will save you cash.

Apart from various forms of liability insurance, there is collision and comprehensive auto insurance coverage to consider. Collision covers damage to the policyholder's motor (car) resulting from running into anything, be it anything e.g. another car, a fire hydrant, or a light post. Comprehensive coverage takes care of your car from theft, fire, falling objects, explosions, or other unexpected problems.

Collision and comprehensive coverage are required in most lease contracts, and are necessary if you drive an expensive car. If you're driving an old car, on the contrary, and the value of your premium and your deductible are close to or exceed the value of your car, you might want to consider doing without this coverage.

Before purchasing any kind of auto insurance, be sure to study your other insurance policies so you don't end up paying for something you don't need. If you have a good health insurance plan, you might get away with purchasing the bare minimum PIP coverage or none at all if your state doesn't require that. However, you might end up paying a co-pay and deductible that would not apply if you have PIP or MedPay.

Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage might also be a smart buy, even if you have full medical coverage, as it can pay for your injury and suffering damages. If u work for any organization that offers road side assistance, you don't need to purchase that yourself. The similar thing applies to mechanical breakdown insurance if you own a newly financed or leased vehicle which is still under warranty.

It is easy to be resentful of the money spent on auto insurance. Keep in mind that auto insurance will most likely come to your rescue at some point of time, so it's essential to purchase a worthwhile policy. You must know what coverage you must have and know what additional coverage fits your lifestyle. Then if in case any trouble strikes, you'll be ready for it in advance.

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