Get the best auto insurance coverage in Arizona
Every single day, there are approximately 17,250 auto accidents on the roads of America. In all, nearly 1.25 million people are killed in auto crashes annually, or roughly 3,400 deaths a day. An additional 20-50 million are injured.
In other words, if you drive your car every day, the odds are pretty good that at some point you will be involved in an accident. In some instances, the costs of getting into a car accident can be catastrophic. There’s not only the financial costs of repairing and/or replacing your vehicle, and health care and worker’s comp costs for recovery, but also the liability for the other person’s car and injuries if the accident was even partially one’s fault.
This is why everyone who drives a car is required to have insurance coverage in Arizona. In fact, Arizona has some of the toughest legal penalties for driving without insurance in America. This is not only for your own protection but for everyone who shares the road with you.
Auto insurance provides protection from extraordinary financial costs in the wake of an accident, not to mention being sued for additional money for the vehicle, medical costs and other compensation demanded by the other driver. In short, you are more likely than not to have an accident the more you drive your car. Ideally, your insurance coverage should be designed to keep you from financial ruin when that happens.
There are essentially two kinds of auto insurance
which is the minimum coverage required in nearly every state,
Liability coverage, as the name suggests, only covers the damage in an accident that is legally considered your fault. It includes the costs to the other vehicle and the medical expenses of its driver and passengers. However, it doesn’t cover any medical costs to you, your passengers, or damage to your vehicle. If you carry only liability insurance, the minimum the law requires, any repairs to your vehicle needed due to an accident, or the costs of a new car if your vehicle is totaled, would come out of your own pocket.
There are essentially two types of liability insurance:
bodily injury liability, which covers the medical costs if you injure someone with your car, and property damage liability, which covers the damage you cause to another vehicle or property with your vehicle. In some states, you may be required to purchase additional liability coverage such as personal injury protection, to cover your own medical expenses and other costs (like time needed to take off from work to recover), and uninsured motorist protection, which protects you in case of the other driver in an accident is illegally uninsured, and thus has no way to pay your damages and expenses. This coverage will also help if the accident is the other driver’s fault, but their policy doesn’t pay for property damage or medical fees or doesn’t cover all the expenses.
Every policy is different, and you should be able to choose the amount of coverage that is right for you. Usually, this means picking the maximum limit your policy will payout in the event of an accident, with corresponding monthly premiums. Liability insurance means your car insurance carrier will pay costs up to that limit, but no more. However, liability coverage only covers you when you’re at fault, so there are a number of scenarios where your liability coverage alone simply won’t suffice — that’s why it makes sense to add more protection to your policy.
Collision insurance is something you can add to your policy to address this. It is insurance that covers any damage to your car, the cost of out-pocket medical care, and the costs of your passengers if the accident was your fault. You will normally have a deductible, but the insurance carrier would pay the costs above that.
There is also comprehensive insurance coverage, which would cover damage to your vehicle that may occur while you’re not driving it. This includes things such as vandalism, natural disasters or something as simple as someone opening their door into your car in a parking lot. More importantly, this type of coverage can include replacement costs if your car is stolen
which is essentially liability insurance plus additional optional coverage that comes with a higher monthly premium.
There are other add-ons you may consider on top of your full coverage auto insurance. For example, most comprehensive coverage plans don’t include roadside assistance. This is a good option to have if the driver is elderly and perhaps is unable to change a tire in the event of a flat, or if the car simply continues to have mechanical issues. You can normally add it for a small additional fee.
Other possible customer add-ons can include things such as new car replacement programs, or rental car reimbursement coverage, which will cover a certain amount per day up to a set amount for a rental car if your car is in the shop. There are also good driver incentive options like vanishing deductibles, a program that lowers your deductible for each year of having a safe driving record.
Gap insurance is also something to consider. It covers the difference between the market value of your car at the time of an accident and the amount you still owe. This could be a very important option to have should your car be totaled in an accident. For example, if you drive an older car with high mileage but are still making monthly car payments.
Who needs full auto insurance coverage? Well, it depends on your situation.
If you still have a car loan, it is highly likely your lender will require you to have full coverage auto insurance. This is simply because if you only carry liability insurance, you will not be covered for your vehicle if it is totaled, or if the cost of repair is greater than the cost of buying another car. In this case, you would likely default on your loan. This is why insurance companies actually have the right to repossess the vehicle if you don’t maintain full coverage.
Even if you have no car loan and own your vehicle outright, but can’t afford to replace it out of your own pocket if it’s totaled, you will need full coverage. Remember, if the other driver is at fault in an accident and doesn’t have insurance, you’ll need to cover the cost of repairing and replacing your vehicle yourself.
If you drive a valuable luxury car, full coverage would be a good decision. On some luxury brands even minor repairs, such as to the bumper, can run thousands of dollars. This is especially true of foreign vehicles, where parts have to be specially ordered or are otherwise hard to find.
If you regularly commute in heavy traffic, with lots of stopping and moving, full coverage may be a good option for you – not only due to the higher risk of an accident but the increased wear and tear on your vehicle, particularly your brakes, which could lead to higher risk of an accident. If you live in an area that often has extreme weather, high car theft rates or a high risk of animal collisions, getting fully covered would probably be in your best interest as well.
Always keep in mind that even the very best drivers have accidents that can be legally considered their fault. In bad weather conditions, such as pouring rain or snow, an accident can be judged as your fault for not being more careful or traveling over recommended speeds for those dangerous conditions.
If the driver in front of you slams on his/her brakes and you cannot stop in time, that is almost always your fault, as you will be seen as driving too closely. If you get into an accident while turning left, it is highly likely you will be given a ticket. Due to right-of-way laws, the left-turning driver is to blame for an accident that occurs during the turn almost every time.
In cases where fault is determined to be on both sides, the insurance company will decide how much of the liability for the accident lies with you. So if both you and the other driver were speeding, for example, the accident would be 50 percent your fault. In this case, you would be responsible for half of the costs of repairing or replacing your vehicle.
Keep in mind that having full coverage auto insurance is not a license to drive recklessly or illegally. There are some activities even the most expensive insurance policies will not cover. This includes: Street racing, intentionally damaging your vehicle, using your personal vehicle for business use (this includes using it for ridesharing), off-road usage, use of the car while committing a crime, and seizure by government authorities.
Collision and comprehensive policies will not cover damage to your vehicle in cases of routine wear and tear, tire damage, custom accessories, and items stolen from your car (these are personal properties, separate from your vehicle – this includes your stereo if it is not attached).
Still, in most cases, you’ll save money in the long-term by getting full coverage auto insurance. Many of the smaller add-ons also often prove to be well worth the extra cost. Above all else, having full coverage can give you piece of mind on the road – knowing that an accident won’t necessarily have to cause you financial ruin.
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What determines the rate you get?
Your rate can be determined by various factors, not just whether or not you are a safe driver. For example, your age, where you live (what zip code, specifically), credit history, driver history, and the make, model and mileage of the car you are driving are all factors in determining what you pay. Typically, the younger you are (and thus less experienced driver), the more you will have to pay.
In essence, the less crime, traffic and hazardous conditions in your area, the lower the risk of an accident, so the lower your rate. The less your car is worth, the less it would cost to fix or replace it. Thus, the less you would have to pay. The value of your car will depreciate every year, and so the insurance premiums will as well.
Still, your past driving record is probably the biggest factor. A history of moving violations, accidents or being arrested and convicted for a DUI will have a serious adverse effect on the rate you will pay. Still, there are some carriers that will provide better rates than others in order to secure the business, so it’s always good to work with a local agent to see what kind of offers may be available to you if you have less than a perfect driving history.
Another factor would be if there has been a lapse in your auto insurance coverage. If you have not had insurance for an extended period prior to your new policy, the rate will be higher (at least at first).
And of course, the type of car you drive will determine your rate as well. That’s why it is always something to consider when shopping for a vehicle. How are the safety features? What is the crash test rating? Does it alert you when someone is too close? These are all things that could help lower what you pay for your auto insurance.
Still, for older vehicles with rapidly diminishing value, full coverage may not be worth the cost. Comprehensive and collision insurance reimburse you only up to the cash value of your car at the time it’s damaged or stolen. When shopping for insurance, this is something to discuss with your local agent. Find out the full costs and benefits of full coverage for your vehicle, compared to the amount you would save having just liability coverage in the long term.
So, to recap, in just about every state – including Arizona – you are legally required to carry minimum liability coverage for your vehicle. In Arizona, the minimum coverage is often referred to as 15/30/10. This is what’s called “split limits” for liability insurance, meaning the state requires $15,000 in coverage for damages to another person, $30,000 in coverage for bodily injuries to all injured parties, and $10,000 in coverage for property damage. Again, if you choose only the minimum coverage, any and all amounts you would be required to pay in damages would come out of your pocket. Which is why getting full coverage is often the safer option.
To discuss this in greater detail, and to find out which policy would be the best fit for you, your car and your budget, contact one of our expert local agents today.