Cheap auto insurance probably tops the list of every car owner’s wish list. There are a lot of expenses incurred when you own a car. Gas price are getting higher nowadays and it is a known fact that car maintenance and repairs fee are soaring too. If you happen to be a person with average income, you might need to lower your standard of living if you are getting expensive auto insurance. Although expensive auto insurance might be able to provide you good protection, this doesn’t mean that a cheaper one cannot offer you the same level of coverage. There are many ways to get low rates for your auto insurance without compromising on its coverage. One of the easiest ways is to take advantage of your Internet.

Internet is able to help you to get cheap auto insurance in many ways. First of all, you can actually look for information about auto insurance easily online. Most insurance companies have their own websites to facilitate people like you to look for information. However, you should always be careful before taking up any offers. Do not accept any offers from insurance companies before comparing their prices. Shop wisely by getting various quotes from different companies first. Take your time to examine the quotes in every aspect, especially their price and protection given. If you do not have much time to gather information from various companies and compare them, you can just enter your input into insurance comparison websites. You will then receive multiple quotes from A-rated companies for you to choose from. This is a convenient yet smart way to obtain cheap auto insurance.

You can also consider taking up auto insurance policy offered by online companies. Nowadays, more insurance companies are venturing into online business due to many factors. They do not need to pay high overhead and advertising cost when they are operating online. They are also capable to reach a large number of people by having their business online without paying very high cost. In conclusion, insurance companies are able to save more money when they operate online. Therefore, they can offer you cheap auto insurance with sufficient protection. Of course, online companies might not be as well-known and reputable as off line companies and this might cause you to feel skeptical to purchase their policies. To avoid you from signing up with a company with bad rating, remember to read their customers’ reviews in advance.

Internet is a very useful tool for you to get cheap auto insurance if you know how to use it smartly. Your Internet allows you to choose whichever car policy that suits your needs without having any agents persuading you. Internet also allows you to get all the information you need about cheap auto insurance with just a few clicks.

Auto insurance in Texas can be an expensive business. Below you will find some tips to help you cut down on the costs of Texas auto insurance, but first lets examine some facts concerning auto insurance in Texas.

Mandatory Auto Insurance Coverage in Texas

Like most states, you must have auto insurance in order to drive in Texas. The minimum coverage you must have in the Lone Star State is $20,000 for bodily injury to one person, $40,000 for bodily injury sustained by two or more persons in the same accident and $15,000 for property damage that results from one accident. These are the maximum amounts that the insurance company will pay out in the event of an accident. As any expenses above those amounts will have to be paid by you, you may want to consider increasing the coverage.

Factors That Affect Your Texas Auto Insurance Rates

Credit Rating

Believe it or not, your credit rating does have a direct impact on how much you pay for your auto insurance.

Auto insurance companies factor in a lot of your personal details to arrive at an insurance risk score and various studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between your credit score and the probability that you will file an auto insurance claim. People who pay their bills on time and have a good credit record are considered to be dependable people by the auto insurance companies and therefore good insurance risks.

Raising Your Deductibles

As Auto insurance companies typically raise your next premium by up to 45% if you make a claim, you may want to consider raising your deductibles. A deductible is the amount you would be willing to pay out of your own pocket in the event of an accident before making a claim on your policy. The higher your deductible, the lower your insurance premium.

Your Driving Record

Obviously how good a driver you are will have a great impact on how much you are charged for your auto insurance. The insurance companies are always seeking good insurance risks and if you have a history of making claims, the they will inflate your rates accordingly. Speeding fines and parking tickets all count towards whether or not you are a good driver. On the other hand, if you have a good driving record then it may be worth your while to look for Texas auto insurance companies that offer an “accident forgiveness policy”. The effect of this is that your first claim will not be taken into account when calculating your rate at the time of renewal.

Get Multiple Auto Insurance

If you have more than one vehicle, them take steps to ensure them all with the same auto insurance company. Multi-vehicle discounts can run as high as 25% with some auto insurance companies.

Narrow Your Coverage

You can limit the scope of your coverage to the mandatory liability coverage to drastically reduce your rates, but this may turn out to be a false saving. If you have an accident and are not covered by your insurance then you will have to pay the damages (both to people and property) out of your own pocket and this could run to many thousands of dollars.

Are auto insurance agents a dying breed? Today, auto insurance is one of those service businesses that are becoming more and more dominated by online providers.

In fact, there’s some question whether auto insurance agents are needed at all anymore. Do you really want to spend your Saturday morning visiting an auto insurance office being pitched on a single car insurance company’s policy when you can buy auto insurance online any time – weekends, evenings, etc. Not only that, but buying auto insurance online enables you to compare the offerings of several companies side-by-side in terms of policies and premiums. What’s more, you can buy the policy online (in most states), and even file claims online.

One might well point out, of course, that many people simply prefer meeting and talking face-to-face with an insurance agent, rather than simply pounding a computer keyboard. For one thing, they may feel more secure about transferring money (premium payments) in person than on the Internet. For another, they may prefer having a knowledgeable individual they can communicate with and ask questions of.

But the number of such people as a proportion of the adult population is clearly dwindling. According to market research firm ComScore, 67.5% of 2,000 U.S. consumers surveyed last year said they would consider purchasing their next auto insurance policy online. Auto insurance purchasing online has been growing at an amazing 55%+ rate over the past couple years.

Therefore, whether you’re looking for a replacement policy or for your first policy, online auto insurance offers a number of benefits: cost-savings, convenience, speed, and better information about available policies from a range of insurance providers.

Nonetheless, before you sign up for a policy, whether in-person or online, make certain you’re familiar with the basics of auto insurance.

Basics of Online Auto Insurance

If you drive a car in the U.S. you need insurance. That’s an obvious fact. But what kind of insurance and at what price?

Liability insurance. As you may know, there are two basic types of liability insurance, namely bodily injury and property damage. If you buy a 25/30/25 coverage that means the insurer pays up to $25,000 for bodily injury per person, $30,000 for bodily injury per accident, and $25,000 for property damage per accident. So this would be a relatively low amount of coverage, and you must assess your own situation in deciding what level of coverage is best for you. All states, except New Hampshire and Wisconsin, require that you carry liability insurance.

Collision. This category of auto insurance covers your property damage and medical expenses in an accident in which you are at fault.

Comprehensive. This type provides coverage for loss from accidents other than collision, or from theft, for example property damage sustained from flood, fire, or vandalism.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist. Pays you if the other driver in an accident does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance. (It’s not required in all states.)

Personal injury protection. Pays your unrecovered medical expenses as well as lost wages resulting from an accident. PIP may also include a death benefit. (About 16 states now require PIP coverage.)

A source of confusion are so-called “no-fault” auto insurance program. In a no-fault system, all drivers pay their own accident costs, no matter who is to blame. It was for a long time thought that this system would reduce litigation thereby holding down costs. It didn’t happen. In fact it usually resulted in higher accident rates, higher costs, and higher insurance premiums. As a result, most states that had enacted no-fault laws repealed them (DC, NV, PA, NJ, GA, CT, CO, FL). leaving only Michigan, Kansas, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York North Dakota, and Utah. However a couple states – New Jersey and Pennsylvania – adopted “choice no-fault”, allowing drivers to choose between no-fault and a traditional policy. (Results, in terms of premium levels, have been mixed so far.)

Keeping Your Premiums Down

To the average consumer, insurance firms may seem to have some strange ideas about what factors to consider in setting your insurance rates. For example, I once found my rates increased after another driver hit my car, and when I called the company, and explained that the accident had not been my fault, the customer service rep answered, “Yes, but you were in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

That is, it’s all a numbers game, and there’s no real effort to achieve equity in setting rates. So to win the game you have to provide the company with numbers that will result in reasonable premiums. Some of these you have some control over and some you don’t. Among the factors that will be taken into account are: age/gender (single males under 25 get higher rates; women generally get lower rates); location (New Jersey and California rates are high; urban rates are higher than rural rates; many companies now even look at your zip code); driving history (if you’ve filed one or more claims in the past five years, this will boost your premium significantly; so will a speeding ticket or other violation, even if no claim was filed); amount you drive; type of car (expensive cars get higher premiums, so do cars with high rates of theft, like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord; so do off-road vehicles and large SUV’s).

Finding an Auto Insurance Company on the Internet

If you run a Google, MSN or Yahoo search for “car insurance” or “auto insurance” you’ll see that this is a crowded business on the Internet. There are literally hundreds of companies advertising auto insurance online. However your best bet is to use one of the companies which allow you to order online, like Esurance.com or InsureMe.com.

You’ll soon notice that each online insurance company has its own little qualifying process and series of screens it forces you to go through before it give you a quote.

Esurance.com is a good example. It starts by asking you for your zip code – an easy enough question. Then on the ensuing screens they request detailed information — How many cars you are insuring. How many drivers. Year/Make/Model of your car. Uses of your car. Discounts for which you may be qualified, such as airbags, antilock brakes, car alarm, etc. Coverage you are looking for. And so forth.

The Esurance.com application process is actually fairly simple, and takes only a couple minutes – after which you’re provided with a specific quote from Esurance.com, which is a virtual (online) insurance provider.

By contrast, another website, InsureMe.com takes you through a very similar application process, but concludes without providing you with a specific quote. Instead, it lists several brick-and-mortar insurance companies which will contact you later, either by email or phone, with specific quotes. This has the advantage that you will be able to compare policies and quotes, and the disadvantage that you will have to wait awhile for the companies to contact you.

Other auto insurance aggregators (as they are called) have other processes — some, for example, run your credit report as part of the process.

In any case, as a final step in choosing a policy, you may want to take a little time to check out your selected insurance provider at AMBest.com, particularly if it’s one you’re not familiar with. To do so you’ll have to create an account on AMBest.com to look up an auto insurance company’s rating, but it’s fairly simple to do so. Once you’ve created your account, click on “rating and analysis” and input your company’s name. Companies are assigned a letter grade from “A++” downward. You’ll definitely want your selected company to have at least a “B” rating, which is “good.”

Every auto owner must have auto insurance in order to drive their vehicle legally. You can get into serious trouble with the law if you do not have insurance in place and if someone hits you – or if you hit them – and auto insurance is not held by you or the other person, legal issues are not the only thing you will have to worry about. You will have to worry about how the vehicles will be fixed if they can be fixed and how doctors bills are going to be paid if someone is seriously injured.

If you get into an accident, the first thing you should do is make sure your auto insurance was in force at the time of the accident. Most insurance agencies have a 24 hour hotline for just the reason. If another person was involved, you will need to make sure their insurance is in force as well. The next step is to immediately contact the authorities so that they can help control the situation and charge whoever was at fault for the accident. This helps auto insurance agencies determine who is liable for any repairs or doctors bill. Having auto insurance is extremely important.

When you purchase a vehicle from an auto trader, a private person, or at an auction, you will need to contact your insurance agent immediately to let them know that you have purchased a new vehicle. Sometimes the auto trader will carry insurance on the vehicle they sold you for 24 to 48 hours in order to protect you until you can get your insurance in place. When you purchase a vehicle from an auto trader, always ask them about temporary insurance they may have in place. Additionally, always inquire about coverage for a new car with your agent before you purchase it. You may find that your coverage will be in force temporarily through your agent until you can sign or pay on a new insurance agreement.

If you get into an auto accident and your vehicle is considered a total loss, the vehicle may be used for auto parts if there are areas of the vehicle that are not damaged. Many auto salvage yards receive vehicles from accidents where auto parts can be salvaged and then resold for a reduced price to people who need them to fix up their own cars. Reliable auto salvage yards are a great source of auto parts that can save you some money if you are able to work on your own vehicle or know someone who can do the work for you.

Being able to prove that an accident is not your fault is key to making sure that you do not see increased auto insurance rates or are left out in the cold when they refuse to pay your claim. This is one of the reasons why a police report and unbiased witness accounts are important in an auto accident. If no report is filed with the police, then the cost of the accident will be split between you and the other party. This is not fair to you if you are not at fault, so always protect yourself and your investment. Never accept blame for an accident. Make the report in an unbiased way and let your insurance company determine the blame based on your information and the reports they receive. After all, this is what you pay them to do.