Do You Need Comprehensive Auto Insurance?

Should You Buy Comprehensive Auto Insurance?

Do you need comprehensive auto insurance?

Do you need comprehensive auto insurance?

When you buy insurance, you will notice that you can choose between different types of car insurance. Of course, almost every vehicle owner needs to purchase liability auto insurance to conform with financial responsibility laws in their state. However, state laws do not require the purchase of comprehensive or collision insurance. If you need a loan to buy a new or used vehicle, your lender will require comprehensive and collision coverage, but what should you do if your vehicle is already paid for and you get to choose.

Definition of Comprehensive Auto Insurance

Most types of auto insurance cover your vehicle in case of an accident. Comprehensive insurance covers your vehicle against non-accident damage. Some examples are hail, floods, vandalism, and other covered situations that could damage your car that do not involve an actual car wreck.

Do You Need Comprehensive Car Insurance?

You might ask yourself some of the same questions that you would ask yourself when you decide if you need collision auto insurance. If your vehicle suffers damage, can you pay to repair or replace it if you need to. For example, if you drive an old beater, you might not care to repair a few scratches or dents from a hail storm. But if a bad storm renders your vehicle unusable, what would you do? You need to balance the extra cost of comprehensive car insurance against the pain you would suffer if you needed to repair a vehicle that was damaged or lost because of non-accident damage.

In some cases, you should assess your risk. If you live in an area that floods a lot, you might risk having flood damage. If not, the risk may be low. On the other hand, most drivers can buy very affordable comprehensive auto insurance, so this extra protection might be worth a few bucks a month.

Save Money on Comprehensive With a Higher Deductible:

  • If you would like the extra security, but want cheap comprehensive car insurance, you can always raise the deductible. That is sort of compromise between having no comprehensive at all and having really robust protection.
  • Raising the deductible is probably a good idea if you decide that you probably will not even bother to get minor dings and scratches fixed, but you just want coverage in case something really damaging happens.

Also, if you need rental car insurance frequently, your own policy will cover the same way that your car is covered. So, having non-accident auto insurance may be more important on a new rental car than your old old car.

Shop Around for the Best Comprehensive Car Insurance Rates

In any case, you can save money on all types of car insurance, comprehensive, collision, and liability insurance, by shopping around for a company who will offer you the best car insurance rates.

Average Car Insurance Rates: State by State

Who Cares About Average Car Insurance Rates, Anyway?

Average rates: State by State

Average rates: State by State

According to a recent survey conducted in 2014, the national average rate for full coverage car insurance is about $1,500. Why does anybody care if average car insurance rates in Michigan are the highest in the nation and Ohio comes in at #51? By the way, there are 51 entries because DC is included. Note that in this case, coming in last is a good thing for driver’s pocketbooks.  Auto insurance companies use a number of different factors to calculate any family’s actual premium. These include, of course, driving history, age, type of car, the way the car gets driven, and credit history.

However, if you have, for example, a very good driving history, you might wonder why you can’t find cheap Dallas car insurance while your buddy in Cleveland has had two wrecks in the last two years, and he still has cheaper rates than you do. This is really just more for information and to help consumers understand how laws and the local environment influence car insurance rates.

Average Car Insurance Rates in States: Highs and Lows

One thing that drives up prices in Michigan is the state law that requires generous PIP, or personal injury protection. PIP is no-fault coverage for bodily injuries, and it isn’t required by minimum liability insurance laws in every state, and it might not be as generous in some states where it is mandatory. For example, the Michigan plan allows lifetime limits, but New York caps benefits at $40,000.

The top most expensive average auto policy prices:

1 Michigan  $   2,551
2 West Virginia  $   2,518
3 Georgia  $   2,201
4 Washington, D.C.  $   2,127
5 Rhode Island  $   2,020
6 Montana  $   2,013
7 Louisiana  $   1,971
8 California  $   1,962
9 New Jersey  $   1,905
10 Florida  $   1,830

Other things that can drive up the price of auto insurance include the average cost of repairing cars, the rate of thefts, and the risk of claims. Even within a state, prices are usually higher in densely populated cities and metropolitan areas than they are in small towns and rural areas. It is likely that Detroit residents pay more than residents of small towns or out in the country.

That might make you wonder how W. Virginia made it to 2nd. It is a combination of natural factors, like the likelihood of hitting a deer or construction debris damaging windshields, and a high number of uninsured drivers. Bad weather is another factor, and the likelihood of disasters like hail or severe flooding that damage vehicles can drive up a state’s overall rates too.


By the way, these figures come from a study of average car insurance rates by state published by They commissioned Quadrant Information Service to survey the largest insurers to come up with the figures.  They used Allstate, Farmers, GEICO, Nationwide, Progressive and State Farm, and they only did the study in 10 ZIP codes for each state, so these figures are open to interpretation.


Lowest Average Car Insurance Rates by State

41 Utah  $   1,192
42 New York  $   1,173
43 Vermont  $   1,149
44 Virginia  $   1,114
45 Wisconin  $   1,087
46 North Carolina  $   1,060
47 Iowa  $   1,058
48 Idaho  $   1,053
49 New Hampshire  $      983
50 Maine  $      964
51 Ohio  $      926

Main has the luxury of being one state with a lot of sparsely populated areas that can be traveled without resorting to crowded freeways.Additionally, juries in Maine are not likely to award huge verdicts in personal injury cases involving cars. Finally, the crime rate in the state of Maine is low, and that means cars are not likely to be stolen or vandalized. Maine does get some winter storms, but they don’t tend to suffer a great number of calamities that damage cars in other states. Maine seems like a great place to live and drive!

Ohio does contain some large cities, but experts believe that the sheer number of different car insurance companies in the state help breed an atmosphere of competition that help keep prices low for consumers. Local insurance professionals also say that the way the state regulates companies and policies helps keep rates modest.



How Were Average Rates Calculated?

You already know that the premiums for any one person can vary a lot depending upon different factors.

For this study, rates are based upon buying full coverage for an unmarried male who is 40, commuted 12 miles a day, and has policy limits of 100/300/50. Note that these may not reflect mandatory liability insurance in each state. The policies had a $500 deductible for the collision and comprehensive part of the policy. This example driver also enjoys decent credit and a good driving record. Rates also include uninsured motorist.


Auto Liabilty Insurance Explained

Buy Auto Liability Insurance or Face the Consequences

Did you get caught without liability insurance?

Did you get caught without liability insurance?

Every U.S. state has financial responsibility laws on the books, and these require almost all vehicle owners to purchase liability insurance in order to drive legally. These laws have been on the books for awhile, but some states are stepping up enforcement measures.

For example, Texas has the TexasSure program to make sure that drivers have proper car insurance even if they are not caught driving without it. This is a computerized system that matches vehicle owners to policies. In Texas, the usual punishment for driving without insurance consists of fines, but Dallas takes car insurance enforcement it a step further, and Dallas impounds uninsured cars when the local police find them operating without required minimum Texas liability insurance.

Penalties For Driving Without Insurance

These penalties also vary for each state. Typically, they include fines. Some states even impose jail time, suspended licenses and registrations, and required hours of community service. Most of the time, penalties get worse for subsequent infractions than they are for first timers.

State by State Minimum Liability Insurance Rules

Minimum required liability laws differ in every state. They always include coverage for property damage and bodily injury. But remember that liability insurance covers the “other guy,” and it is not purchased to protect your car. You need comprehensive and collision coverage for that. Some states also require other coverage like PIP (personal injury protection) and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

Here’s how to understand liability coverage:

  • Here is an example of Alaska’s rule: 50/100/25.
  • This means that the policy has to include at least $100,000 or total injury coverage per accident, $50,000 for injury for each person, and $25,000 of property damage.
  • Disclaimer: These laws are subject to change, so you need to contact your state insurance department or a locally license agents for the right numbers. This is for informational use only.

Also note that some required policies do not come with very high limits. For example, this is California: 15/30/5. It is certainly easy to imagine an accident doing more than $5,000 worth of damages to a fairly new car. It is also easy to imagine hospital bills exceeding $15,000 or $30K for the entire accident. People with assets to protect may want to consider purchasing a policy with higher limits or buying umbrella insurance to protect assets.

State by State Limits

  • Alaska 50/100/25
  • Alabama 25/50/25
  • Arkansas 25/50/25
  • Arizona 15/30/10
  • California 15/30/5
  • Colorado 25/50/15
  • Connecticut 20/40/10
  • Delaware 15/30/10
  • Florida 10/20/10
  • Georgia 25/50/25
  • Hawaii 20/40/10
  • Idaho 20/50/15
  • Illinois 20/40/15
  • Indiana 25/50/10
  • Iowa 20/40/15
  • Kansas 25/50/10
  • Kentucky 25/50/10
  • Louisiana 15/30/25
  • Maine 50/100/25
  • Maryland 30/60/15
  • Massachusetts 20/40/5
  • Michigan 20/40/10
  • Minnesota 30/60/10
  • Mississippi 25/50/25
  • Missouri 25/50/10
  • Montana 25/50/10
  • Nebraska 25/50/25
  • New Hampshire 25/50/25
  • New Jersey 15/30/5
  • New Mexico 25/50/10
  • Nevada 15/30/10
  • New York 25/50/10
  • North Carolina 30/60/25
  • North Dakota 25/50/25
  • Ohio 12.5/25/7.5
  • Oklahoma 25/50/25
  • Oregon 25/50/20
  • Pennsylvania 15/30/5
  • Rhode Island 25/50/25
  • South Carolina 25/50/25
  • South Dakota 25/50/25
  • Tennessee 25/50/15
  • Texas 30/60/25
  • Utah 25/65/15
  • Virginia 25/50/20
  • Vermont 25/50/10
  • Washington 25/50/10
  • Wisconsin 50/100/55
  • West Virginia 20/40/10
  • Wyoming 25/100/15

List of State Penalties for Driving Without Insurance

Again, state laws may change, and this is just for information and comparison purposes.


First offense: 45-day license suspension and/or up to a $500 fine; subsequent offense: up to $1,000 and/or suspension of license up to six months.

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First offense: 90-day driver’s license suspension; second offense: one-year driver’s license suspension.


First offense: $250 fine, suspension of license up to three months; second offense within 36 months: mandatory fine of at least $500 and up to six-month suspension of license and registration; third offense within 36 months: mandatory fine of at least $750 and mandatory one-year suspension of license and registration.


First offense: $50 to $250 fine; second offense: $250 to $500 fine; subsequent offense: $500 to $1,000 fine and/or one year in jail.


First offense: $100 to $200 fine; subsequent offense within three years: $200 to $500 fine. Judge must impose greater fines if defendant fails to provide proof of insurance in court.


First offense: $500 fine; subsequent offenses: $1,000 fine; sentence of up to 40 hours of community service also possible.


First offense: $35 fine; subsequent offenses: $50 fine.


First offense: mandatory fine of $1,500 to $2,000 and license suspension for six months; subsequent offenses: $3,000 to $4,000 fine and six-month suspension of license and registration.

District of Columbia

First offense: $300 to $500 fine; subsequent offenses: $500 to $2,000 fine and/or up to 90 days in jail.


Suspension of registration and driver’s license if you fail to provide proof of insurance in court.


$200 to $1,000 fine and/or up to one year in jail; suspension of registration until proof of insurance is provided and fees are paid.


First offense: $500 fine; subsequent offense: $2,500 fine; judge may suspend first offense fine and order community service at request of defendant.


First offense: $75 fine; subsequent offenses: up to $1,000 fine and/or up to six months in jail.


$500 to $1,000 fine and three-month driver’s license suspension.


First offense: Court may suspend driver’s license or vehicle registration for one year; subsequent offenses within five years: suspension of driver’s license for one year.


Citation and removal of license plates and registration receipt, possible impoundment of vehicle.


First offense: $300 to $1,000 fine and/or up to six months in jail; subsequent convictions within three years: $800 to $2,500 fine; penalties may include driver’s license suspension and revocation of vehicle registration.


First offense: $500 to $1,000 fine and/or 90 days in jail; subsequent offenses within five years: $1,000 to $2,500 fine and/or 180 days in jail.


First offense: license plate impoundment and $50 reinstatement fee; second offense: $150 fine; subsequent convictions: $500 fine.


$100 to $500 fine and 30-day license and registration suspension.


Registration suspension and $150 fine per vehicle without insurance for one to 30 days; after that, fine increases by $7 per day; maximum penalty of $2,500 for 12-month period.


Up to $500 fine if no previous conviction or finding; otherwise $500 to $5,000 fine and/or up to one year in jail.


$200 to $500 fine and/or up to one year in jail.


First offense: $200 to $1,000 fine and/or up to 90 days in jail; subsequent conviction within 10 years: $200 to $3,000 fine and/or up to one year in jail.


$500 fine and up to one-year license suspension.


Suspension of driver’s license or assessment of four points on driver’s license.


First offense: $250 to $500 fine and/or 10 days in jail; second offense in five years: $350 fine and/or 10 days in jail, surrender and suspension of registration and license plates until proof of compliance is furnished; third or subsequent offense within five years: $500 fine and/or up to six months in jail, surrender and suspension of registration of license plates until proof is furnished; fourth offense: surrender and suspension of driver’s license.


Driver’s license suspension.


Up to $1,000 fine; civil penalties of $600 to $1,000, suspension of license and registration.

New Jersey

First offense: $300 to $1,000 fine, community service and forfeiture of the right to operate a motor vehicle for one year; subsequent convictions: 14 days in jail and forfeiture to operator motor vehicle for two years, up to $5,000 fine and 30 days community service.

New Mexico

Up to $300 fine and registration suspension.

New York

$150 to $1,500 fine and/or up to 15 days in jail, plus $750 civil penalty.

North Carolina

First offense: $50 fine and revocation of vehicle registration of 30 days; second offense within three years: $100; third offense: $150.

North Dakota

First offense: minimum $150 fine and revocation or suspension of registration until proof of insurance is provided; subsequent offense within 18 months: minimum $300 fine.


First offense: revocation of registration, $75 fine and three-month driver license suspension; second offense in five years: one-year license suspension; subsequent violations: two-year license suspension.


Up to $250 fine and/or up to 30 days in jail; suspension of driving privileges until reinstatement fee is paid and proof of insurance furnished.


License suspension or registration revocation.


$300 fine, three-month suspension of driver’s license and registration.

Rhode Island

First offense: $100 to $500 fine and up to three-month license and registration suspension; second offense: $500 fine and up to six-month suspension; third and subsequent offense: $1,000 fine and up to one year suspension.

South Carolina

First offense: $100 to $200 fine or up to 30 days in jail; second offense within five years: $200 fine and/or 30 days in jail; third or subsequent offense within five years: 45 days to six months in jail.

South Dakota

30-day to one-year driver’s license suspension.


Up to $100 fine.


First offense: $175 to $350 fine; subsequent offenses: $350 to $2,000 fine.


First offense: $400 fine; subsequent offense within three years: $1,000 fine and driver’s license suspension until proof of insurance furnished.


$100 fine and driver’s license suspension until supplying proof of insurance.


Driver license and vehicle registration suspension.


Up to $250 fine or community restitution.

West Virginia

First offense: $200 to $5,000 fine, 30-day driver’s license suspension, revocation of vehicle registration until proof of insurance provided; subsequent offense: $200 to $5,000 fine and/or 15 days to one year in jail.


Up to $5,000 fine.




Do You Need to Buy Rental Car Insurance at the Counter?

Is Your Rental Car Covered?

Who is going to pay for this mess?

Who is going to pay for this mess?

This has got to be the question that causes travelers at the counter than any other. You get to the rental car counter, and the smiling attendant offers you insurance for your rental car, and you have no idea if you should buy it or not. For one thing, it tends to add a lot to your car rental price. For another thing, you think you vaguely remember something about being covered by your existing auto policy or a credit card.

What you shouldn’t do is guess. You may be adequately covered, but you may not be. It is better to find out before you rent a car than afterwards.

Car Owner Insurance on Rental Cars

If you already own a car, you are probably covered as well as you are for vehicles you own. For instance, if you have liability insurance on your own car, you probably have it on the rental. But your old car might be 10 years old, and you are planning to rent a late-model vehicle. If you are worried about damage to that vehicle in case you cause an accident or suddenly drive into a hail storm, you also need comprehensive and collision.

Tip: Before you rent, call your agent and find out how you are covered when you rent a car.

It might be helpful to review the basic kinds of auto insurance that may be included in a policy:

  • Liability covers damage to the other guy in case you cause a wreck, and it is usually required to be a legal driver in each state.
  • Collision covers damages to your car, or your rented car, in case you cause an accident.
  • Comprehensive covers the car if it gets damaged for some reason besides an accident. Vandalism, theft, or storms might be included.

What About Credit Card Car Insurance?

Now your credit card may cover damage to the rental car. What they may not cover is liability. If you call your credit card company to make sure, you might be fine with a combination of your own liability and your credit card’s coverage.

What if You Don’t Own a Car and Want to Rent?

Lots of people rent cars who do not choose to own one. If you are in a hurry and waiting at the counter, your best option might be to pick up the counter policy. You need to make sure you get liability at the least, but you probably should consider comprehensive and collision to keep you off the hook for repairs.

If you plan ahead, you could shop for non-owner car insurance. This is typically cheaper that insurance for people who own a car, but it might only provide liability. So, if it doesn’t cover everything, consider the ways you can cover damage to the car you intend to rent.

Don’t Take the Keys Before You’re Covered

Nobody plans to have an accident but plenty of people only realized that they weren’t covered until after they had an auto accident. If you already know you are going to rent a car, figure out how you are going to handle rental car insurance. Even if you’re standing at the rental counter, you can always use your cell phone to call your agent and credit card company.