Driving is a rite of passage and a symbol of freedom in the U.S. However, auto accidents are also among the leading causes of death in the country, especially among young people of driving age.

As you know, auto accidents can have dramatic and permanent effects, and they’re also costly in terms of financial damage. The purpose of auto insurance is to protect drivers and their vehicles as well as any damages for which the driver is liable but as important as car insurance is, understanding insurance can still be difficult. Continue reading to learn some things you should know about car insurance and how it works.

You have to have auto insurance to operate a motor vehicle in the U.S.

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Did you know that auto insurance is mandatory for drivers in the U.S.? It’s not enough to have a valid driver’s license. In fact, insurance is necessary for car owners even if the vehicle in question is inoperable.

The reason for the mandate on car insurance is that even minor accidents can cause thousands of dollars in damages. Furthermore, it’s not uncommon for serious auto collisions to tally damages into the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. The fact of the matter is that most people can’t afford the costs of damages from auto accidents, and that’s where insurance comes into play.

So, now you know you have to have insurance to operate a motor vehicle, and of course, you have to have a driver’s license (or provisional license for beginners). However, one common question that car owners have is can you get insurance without a license?

The answer is yes, but unlicensed drivers pay higher premiums as they’re considered high-risk drivers. In fact, people who have a suspended license due to driving without car insurance often have to get an insurance policy for their driver’s license to be reinstated.

Pay careful attention to the financial details of your insurance policy.

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Auto insurance rates can be tricky, so it’s important to understand how insurance policies and payments work before signing on the dotted line. The two terms most commonly associated with car insurance are premiums and deductibles. Premiums are the monthly payments you make for your auto coverage, and deductibles are the amount of the policyholder’s financial responsibility before collision coverage kicks in.

You have to pay careful attention to premiums and deductibles when shopping for car insurance as they go hand-in-hand. The higher your premium is, usually, the less you have to pay for damages yourself before your insurance kicks in and vice versa.

Cheap car insurance policies don’t always equate to savings.

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It’s natural to want to get the best possible rate on your car insurance coverage, but cheap car insurance policies aren’t always in your best interest. The purpose of your car insurance is to cover damages for which you’re liable and protect your vehicle, which is a large investment.

Cut-rate car insurance could leave you holding the proverbial bag when you need it most. Even though liability insurance is enough to keep you legal, it’s a good idea to get comprehensive coverage, especially for a new vehicle. While liability only covers damages for which you’re liable, comprehensive insurance coverage protects both you and your vehicle as well as any damages for which you’re liable.

Auto insurance is the best way to protect yourself and your automobile while on the road. Even though you shouldn’t necessarily go for the cheapest car insurance you can find, it’s important to shop around to get the best rate possible for your auto insurance. It’s equally important to make sure you get enough insurance as well as the right features on your auto insurance policy. Of course, the ultimate goal should be that you never have to file an insurance claim, but insurance coverage is definitely something you’d rather have and not need than to need and not have.