Find the answers to six key questions

Most people have a basic understanding of how car insurance works, but often the nitty-gritty details are a little murky. But to make sure you have the right coverage – and to avoid paying more than you need to – this detailed information is important. Here are some answers to common questions people frequently have about their New York auto insurance:

What kind of coverage do I need?

To protect yourself as well as other drivers, you are required by law to have liability insurance. In New York, this minimum coverage consists of:

  • $10,000 for property damage for a single accident
  • $25,000 for bodily injury and $50,000 for death for a person involved in an accident
  • $50,000 for bodily injury and $100,000 for death for two or more people in an accident

Liability insurance won’t help you with repairs, which is why many drivers decide to augment their coverage with a collision policy or comprehensive coverage. In addition, it is often a good idea to increase liability coverage to avoid any out-of-pocket expenses.

What is a deductible?

This term comes up a lot when talking about insurance. A deductible is the amount of money you will have to pay in the event of a claim. For example, if your deductible is $500 and an accident you caused resulted in $800 worth of damage to your car, you will only get $300 from your insurance company.

You can opt for a lower deductible, but this will probably result in larger premiums. It should be noted that you will only have to worry about a deductible for a collision or comprehensive policy; there are no deductibles when it comes to liability coverage.

Will my premiums go up if I’m involved in an accident?

If you get into an accident that was your fault, your rates will probably go up. Your insurance company will view you as someone more likely to cause an accident in the future, so you are now at a greater risk to insure. Your premiums may also increase if you get cited for speeding or other moving violations.

Is it possible to lower my rates?

Car insurance can be expensive, especially in New York. Fortunately, there are things you can do to cut your costs. As mentioned, raising your deductible can help. Certain safety features in your car could also get you a discount. These may include airbags, anti-lock brakes, and anti-theft devices as well as taking a defensive driving class.

Insuring multiple cars or bundling your coverage – with your home, for example – could also lower your premiums. Showing your insurer that you’re trying to be a safer driver by taking a defensive driving course might also result in a discount. Different companies have different stipulations, so don’t be afraid to ask to see what you may qualify for.

My teen will be driving soon, what should I expect?

In addition to butterflies every time you hand over the keys, you need to prepare for a significant change in your premiums. Hopefully, you’ll be able to claim some of the discounts above because when you add your teen to your car insurance, your rates will rise. This is due to the fact that teens age 16 to 19 are more likely to get into a car accident than any other age group. But again, you should inquire about ways to cut costs. For instance, some insurance companies offer discounts to students that maintain good grades.

How do I know if I’m paying too much?

The only way to find out if there are better deals out there is to shop around. Car insurance rates across companies may seem pretty standard, but often there are substantial differences for the same type of coverage. Want to see if NICRIS can offer you better rates? You can contact us now for a free quote.