Auto Insurance Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are some frequently asked auto insurance questions? These are some of the most commonly asked questions about auto insurance, and answers to them. By clicking the links below you can be brought directly to your question, or you can start reading from the top to learn more about auto insurance.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years

UPDATED: Nov 12, 2020

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Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident auto insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one auto insurance provider and cannot guarantee quotes from any single provider.

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At, we get asked a lot of questions about car insurance.  Here are some of the commonly asked questions (and the answers we provide).  Click on one of the links below to be brought directly to your question, or start reading from the top.

Is it required that I have auto insurance?

In most cases yes. Laws surrounding auto insurance are dictated by state law, and most states do require that you have some form of auto insurance. The amount of coverage varies from state to state so be sure to check for your particular situation.

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What is the difference between collision and comprehensive coverage?

Collision coverage only covers you in situations involving a collision. Comprehensive coverage, on the other hand, protects you against theft, vandalism, water damage, and other non-collision incidents. Comprehensive coverage does not include collision coverage, the name deceives many people. Click here to learn more about the differences between these two insurance types.

Does my driving record affect my auto premiums?

Your driving record is arguably the most important thing auto insurance companies use when determining your premium costs. Your driving record isn’t the only thing they take into consideration though. Your age, credit score and history, time on the road, and many other statistics play a major role.  Read more about how your driving record affects your rates here.

My son/daughter just got their learning permit, do they need to be insured?

Those with learning permits are not required by law to have auto insurance. For extra protection, however, it may be a good idea. Some auto insurance companies will cover permit drivers under your current plan. However, the day they get their license, you should sign them up for car insurance coverage immediately.

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How often do I have to pay my premium?

The amount of money you pay upfront must be at least enough coverage for a month, but many insurance companies offer discounts for 6-month down payments and even better discounts for 1-year agreements.

My driving record is really bad, can I still get insurance?

No matter how bad your driving record, there is always an auto insurance company there to provide you with coverage. Of course, you’ll have to pay more than someone with a clean driving record, but it still is not hard to find coverage. Check out our auto insurance quote tool, and we’ll find an insurer for you in no time.  Alternatively, you can read about high-risk auto insurance here.

Can I get auto insurance quotes for free?

Absolutely! If you are advised to pay for a credit report, turn around, and don’t look back. Auto insurance quotes are a service to you, not the insurance companies. Our tool is 100% free, and we provide you with multiple options. You will also find that getting quotes online will get you much better premiums.

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Can I sign up multiple people under the same policy?

This is actually fairly common practice. Not only is it doable, but you will also get a better rate than if you were to insure each person individually.  Read more about the advantages of having all of your family members on the same policy here.

Will My Car Insurance Company Pay for My Rental Car?

If you need to rent a car because your vehicle is in the shop, then your car insurance company may cover the costs of a rental car. However, this is typically only covered under collision or comprehensive insurance plans. You’ll also only receive a certain amount of coverage – say, $20 to $35 per day. So don’t expect to go rent a Porsche.

Who is Covered By My Car Insurance Policy?

Generally speaking, any licensed drivers in your household are covered while driving your vehicle. Your car insurance also covers anyone else who has permission to use your vehicle. In certain situations, you may wish to exclude someone from your policy – say, if someone in your house has a DUI. In this situation, this person will not be covered by insurance while driving your vehicle. By excluding this person, you can save a significant amount on car insurance.

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Does My Car Insurance Change When I Move States?

Coverage limits vary widely between states. Some states require only a bare minimum of coverage, while other states have stricter coverage limits. Some states are no-fault states while others are tort states. If you just moved to a new state, then you need to talk to your insurance company to ensure you’re meeting the minimum coverage limits in your new state.

Does My Car Insurance Cover Me While Driving Outside of the United States?

Typically, American car insurance policies will cover you in the two countries we border – Canada and Mexico. Virtually all plans cover driving in Canada and most cover driving in Mexico. Beyond these two countries, coverage varies widely. You may need to buy international auto insurance. Or, you might be adequately covered. Talk to your insurance company or check your policy.

How Often Should I Compare Insurance Quotes?

It’s never a bad idea to compare insurance quotes. It doesn’t cost you anything to compare quotes. You can check quotes in 5 minutes or less online. Generally speaking, you should compare quotes every 6 to 12 months (like whenever your policy is scheduled for renewal). You should also compare quotes after a major incident – like an at-fault accident or DUI.

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What Happens If I Drive Without Auto Insurance?

Drivers who get caught driving without insurance could face enormous penalties. If a police officer pulls you over, then you might be forced to pay a fine. Your car might also be towed. If you get into an accident without insurance, then you may be required to pay all costs associated with the accident – from medical expenses to vehicle repair and replacement costs. You could be sued and forced to declare bankruptcy.

Can I Deduct Car Insurance Premiums from My Taxes?

Unlike mortgage payment interest and similar monthly expenses, car insurance premiums are not tax-deductible.

Will Gender Affect My Car Insurance Premiums?

Insurance companies use millions of driving records and decades of driving statistics to calculate rates. All of that data shows that young men are more likely to get involved in accidents than young women, which is why young men pay higher insurance rates than young women. The opposite occurs with age: men in their 40s and 50s tend to pay less for car insurance than their female counterparts.

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How long will it take to get a quote for auto insurance?

It depends on which insurance agency you are working with and how you are trying to get a quote; however, in most cases, it takes just a few minutes to get a quote, especially if you are working with a reputable agency. The time-consuming part comes from waiting on the phone or waiting in the office. By comparing quotes online, you are able to skip a lot of this back-and-forth and save a lot of time. Online auto insurance quotes should be more or less instantaneous.

What types of auto insurance are an absolute must?

Liability insurance is the only type of auto insurance that you are legally required to carry in all 50 states. Some states have different additional coverage options, such as uninsured motorist coverage, that are also required by law. If you financed your car, your lender may require you to carry collision insurance, as well.

How much will auto insurance cost?

It depends. The cost of auto insurance varies and is based on a number of factors, including your age, driving history, the type of vehicle you are driving, your credit report, etc. However, in most cases, the cost of insurance is relatively inexpensive compared to the cost of paying for damages or injuries out of your own pocket.

What is the least expensive type of auto insurance policy?

Liability (only) coverage is the least expensive type of auto insurance, and it’s also the one type of auto insurance that you are legally required to carry. Before buying just liability-only, or minimum coverage auto insurance, make sure to check your state’s insurance requirements to make sure your coverage is adequate.

Why should I consider purchasing collision auto insurance?

While aren’t legally required to carry collision insurance, purchasing this type of policy is still a wise idea. It will cover damages to your vehicle that occur when you are in an accident or that occur if you hit an object, such as a fence or a pole. The cost of these damages can be very expensive, and collision coverage can help offset the cost of repairs.

Why should I consider comprehensive coverage?

Comprehensive auto insurance covers damages that are considered “acts of God”, such as weather-related damages or damages caused by falling objects. It also covers the value of your vehicle if it is stolen. This type of insurance can also protect you from exorbitant fees.

What is a deductible?

A deductible is the amount of money that you are required to pay before your insurance provider will kick in. For instance, if your car has sustained $1,000 worth of damages and your deductible is $100, you will need to pay $100 before your insurance goes into effect. After you pay the $100 deductible, your insurance will cover the remaining $900 worth of damages (or up to the limit of your policy).

What happens when you reach your policy limit?

An auto insurance policy has a limit, or the amount your provider will pay up to. If the damages to your vehicle exceed your policy’s limits, you will be responsible for the remaining cost. Check the fine print of your auto insurance policy, or call your insurance agent, to learn what your limits are.

Can coverage be changed?

Yes; however, you should wait until your policy expires do change it, otherwise, you will have to cancel your policy, which will result in a fee. To get more information about changing or adding to your auto insurance coverage, call your insurance agent. Each insurance company has different rules when it comes to changing your coverage.

Will a red car affect insurance cost?

No. It’s a myth that a red car, or any color for that matter, will make your insurance more expensive. Insurance companies do not look at the color of your vehicle when determining your auto insurance rates.

Any additional questions?

Please look at our additional FAQ to get answers for any site-related questions you may have. Otherwise, take a look at some of the FAQs from other sites:

  • Progressive FAQ
  • esurance FAQ
  • the balance Auto Insurance Claim FAQ

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