Arizonians know there’s no trick to buying auto insurance, but getting the best options isn’t always as simple. As is typically the case, insurance rates in smaller, less populated cities tend to be lower than larger cities. So, if you live in Phoenix or Tucson, you might want to be a bit more selective before signing on with “Brand X” auto insurance. The reason for this, is that the wrong choice can be costly in terms of premiums, as well as running the chance of missing out on discounts not offered by Brand X – thereby, resulting in getting coverage that doesn’t meet your particular needs.
Chances are you may already be aware that policies fall into two basic categories. On the other hand, if this is your first experience shopping for auto insurance, you might want to follow along.
• Full Coverage
This type of policy covers damage to your vehicle in addition to the other party’s vehicle. You should look into full coverage if you drive a fairly expensive or newer vehicle that is being financed. In most cases, the lender won’t give you an option – except to fully insure the vehicle to protect their investment – at least until you’ve made the final payment. In the event it gets totaled in an accident, the loan will be paid off. Plus, you’re covered for liability and property damage.
• PL/PD – Public Liability and Property Damage
If you drive an older vehicle (or one that’s paid for) that may not be worth the trouble of repairing, this may be the coverage for you. It also keeps you legal, fulfilling Arizona’s liability insurance requirements which are:
o $15,000 bodily injury for one person
o $30,000 bodily injury for more than one person
o $10,000 property damage
Choosing PL/PD normally translates into lower premiums, but also consider this – it doesn’t cover repairs to your vehicle and, if it happens to be your only means of transportation, it could spell bad news. That’s the main drawback here – should you want to keep the vehicle, the cost of repairing it would be strictly out of your pocket.
What to look for in a policy
One thing to consider is that you have the right amount of coverage to take care of any repairs to your vehicle, as well as that of the other party involved. In addition, sufficient medical protection to cover you and parties injured in an accident is a necessity. Arizona minimum requirements aside, your full coverage policy should include:
• Auto Liability Insurance
o Bodily injury
o Property Damage
• Uninsured Motorist Insurance – for bodily injury
• Medical Protection
• Auto Collision Insurance – will require deductible
• Auto Comprehensive – will require deductible
You may also want to add a couple of extra features to your policy, such as rental car, while your vehicle is being repaired, and towing.
Finally, when choosing both a policy and an auto insurance company…make sure they offer these discounts:
• Good driver
• Good student
• Low mileage
• Driver education or defensive driving course
While many insurance companies in Arizona offer discounts to drivers, they may not offer all of the above. That’s why it’s so important to shop and compare. All discounts are worth a percentage of savings. The more discounts you qualify for the more it’ll affect your annual premiums – in a good way.