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by Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance

Auto Insurance 101 – Know What You Need

How to choose car insurance

Selecting the correct personal auto insurance coverage is probably not something many folks put too much thought into, which is evident when I ask potential clients about their current coverage. Many are unsure of what kind of policy they have and some don’t even know what company their policies are with. However, knowing what kind of policy you have and more importantly having the type of policy you need are very important things to consider when shopping for new auto insurance.

Understand your coverage options

First, you should consider what kind of coverage you need and how much. Indiana state law requires you to carry a minimum amount of insurance for bodily injury liability and property damage liability. The minimum amount of auto insurance coverage in Indiana is $25,000/$50,000/$25,000; bodily injury of $25,000 per person/ $50,000 per incident and  $25,000 for damage to another person's property. However, you can choose higher limits to protect yourself.  

There are four basic areas of coverage: liability, medical payments, damage to your auto (other-than-collision and collision), and uninsured/underinsured motorists.

Liability coverage
covers the ‘other guy’ if you are involved in an accident.  In the event that you are responsible for an accident, you could be on the hook to pay for damages to other drivers and passengers, other cars or objects, as well as costs of lawsuits against you.

Medical payments coverage
covers medical expenses if you or a passenger is injured in an accident.

Collision coverage
helps to repair or replace your car if it is damaged in an accident.

Other-than-collision coverage
, also known as comprehensive coverage, can repair or replace your car in the event it is damaged by another type of event, for example, you hit a deer on your way to work.

Uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage
can apply if you are in an accident with a negligent driver without, or with too little, insurance. And, according to the Insurance Research Council, nearly 17% of drivers in Indiana are uninsured.

is the out-of-pocket cost to you in the event you have a claim. If you do decide to go with what is commonly known as “full coverage” (even though the term full coverage can be misleading), you will need to decide what deductible amounts you would like. Many companies offer a wide array of deductible choices. The most common deductible choice in my experience is $500.

Other add-ons (policy endorsements) that some companies offer are emergency roadside assistance and gap insurance, which may cover a car’s negative equity in the event of an accident.

When you are ready to shop for insurance, a great place to start is to get quotes and evaluate the level of coverage you prefer. When beginning a quote, you will need to have certain information, such as your driver’s license number, any details on prior claims, and information about your vehicle—including its VIN number. Once you do make that call, be sure you are receiving the best discounts available. Some popular discounts include multi-line, accident-free, multi-car, telematics, paperless, full pay and more.

If you do have any questions about how the process or where to start, don’t hesitate to contact your local Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance agent. From LaPorte to Evansville to Fort Wayne, we are here to help.