How to Find the Best Car Insurance

Friday, April 20, 2018

Woman holding keys to her new car.

Unless you get a special waiver, you have to have car insurance if you drive in South Carolina. It might seem like a pain to pay the premium every month, but you'll be happy you have it if you end up needing it. Here's how to get the most coverage for the least amount of money. 

Ask for discounts 

Insurance companies love insuring low-risk drivers because they know they're not going to have to pay out on the plan very frequently. That's why most insurance companies will be able to give discounts if you can show them you have qualities that make you low-risk to insure. Some of the most common discounts are for:

  • Taking driver education courses
  • Being a good student
  • Having safety devices installed in the car
  • Having anti-theft devices installed in the car
  • Driving a low mileage vehicle
  • Having a good driver record
  • Having a good credit score

Even if you can't prove you're a low-risk driver, you may be able to get a discount if you can bundle home and auto or if you have multiple vehicles on the same insurance policy. Remember, it never hurts to ask what you qualify for! 

Shop around 

The only way to find the best deal on insurance (and on most things) is to do your research and shop around. 

Start by making a list of a few big, national companies and some smaller, local companies. If you're a SAFE member, check out the partnership with TruStage auto insurance that will give you discounts and other benefits. Once you have your list, check to make sure they're licensed to sell insurance in South Carolina. If they check out, start asking for quotes from each company. Remember, just because you get a quote that doesn't mean you have to go with that company. Compare what each is offering you and choose the best deal for your situation.  

Think about Coverage vs. price 

There's a basic level of insurance coverage that you're required to have by law, but after that your insurance company will likely have different levels of coverage options that come in at different price points. You'll need to take a look at all the options and see if paying the monthly premium is worth the coverage for you. If your car is older it might not make sense to get a high level of insurance because your car isn't worth as much as the monthly premium would be.

After you get your quotes take some time to examine what is included, how much it will cost in monthly premiums, and how much you're able to pay out of pocket if something does happen to your car. 

Comprehensive coverage

Comprehensive coverage covers a lot more than what can happen when you're driving your car. This level of insurance will cover things like:

  • Theft
  • Natural disasters
  • Fire
  • Damage from falling trees or branches
  • Hitting a deer

Collision coverage

Collision insurance covers damage caused by accidents while you're driving. It can be as minor as hitting a pothole or as major as running into a tree. 

Consider add-ons 

Your car insurance covers the damage to your car, but you might want to consider other types of auto coverage that can protect your family financially if you pass away or protect your wallet if your car gets totaled. SAFE offers both types of protection through Credit Life and Disability insurance and GAP insurance

If you're thinking about insurance ahead of buying a new car this spring, don't forget to take advantage of the spring auto loan promotion at SAFE!