Shopping for auto insurance in North Carolina doesn’t need to be overly complicated and buying it doesn’t have to cost too much. Get the best policy at the best price (with no nasty surprises when you file a claim) by asking these questions as you shop.
What Coverage Do I Need?
Each state makes its own auto insurance requirements for drivers. At minimum, your policy must meet these minimums. In North Carolina, you are required to carry a minimum amount of liability coverage.
- Property damage liability: Minimum of $25,000
- Bodily injury liability: Minimum of $30,000 per person/$60,000 per accident
But these minimums fall short of what you truly need as a driver. The best thing to do is buy the most coverage that you can afford. This means higher liability limits and additional coverage such as comprehensive, collision, medical payments, and more.
What’s Covered if My Car is Damaged?
A lot of people believe that if they buy only the minimum required liability insurance, they’re covered in any auto accident. That’s not at all true. Liability coverage only pays for damage to vehicles or medical payments when you cause the accident and the other driver(s) suffer injury or damage. Likewise, if someone hits you, their policy should pay the costs — if they have auto insurance.
But imagine you hit a deer in the middle of the highway or your teenage driver hits a pole in a parking lot. How is that damage handled? To make sure you’re covered, you’ll need comprehensive and collision coverage.
What’s Covered if Someone Gets Hurt?
When the other driver is hurt in an accident you cause, your bodily injury liability coverage will pay the claim. However, if you’re hurt in that same accident or in another type of accident, you’ll need separate coverage to pay your medical expenses or cover lost income. Two additional coverages can help if you or someone else is hurt in an auto accident.
- Medical payments coverage pays for the medical expenses of you and/or your passengers after an accident.
- Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage pays the medical expenses, lost wages, and even funeral expenses for you and/or your passengers, regardless of who caused the accident.
These are additional coverages you must add to your auto insurance policy. They are not typically included in standard coverage.
Is Roadside Assistance or Towing Included?
In general, most insurers only make roadside assistance or towing available when you purchase “full coverage.” That means your policy will not only include liability coverage, but also comprehensive and collision coverage. It may be available at no additional charge or for a small fraction of what roadside assistance might cost otherwise. It’s good to ask this question, but expect to be required to buy more than the minimum auto insurance coverage to have access to this benefit.
Will I Have Gap Insurance?
Gap insurance covers the difference between what you owe on a vehicle and what its market value is at the time of a claim. It is typically required when you lease a vehicle and it’s optional otherwise. A typical auto insurance policy does not automatically include this coverage, and it should be considered for any driver who’s still making a car payment. If your vehicle is new or barely used, gap insurance offers peace of mind that you won’t have to pay for a vehicle you no longer have once it’s been totaled in an accident.
How Can I Pay Less for Auto Insurance?
We all want the protection auto insurance offers, but we don’t want to pay anymore than necessary to have it. There are multiple ways to pay less for your coverage.
- Ask about discounts: vehicle safety, safe driver, etc.
- Consider bundling your auto insurance with other insurance coverage
- Increase your deductible (to an amount you can afford) to lower your premiums
- Work with a local, independent insurance agency (like ours!) to shop multiple carriers at once to find the best coverage, at the best possible price
Shopping for auto insurance? Here at Charlotte Insurance we can help you figure out the best coverage for your needs and help you get the best price, too. Give us a call at 704-552-5888.