Personal injury protection (PIP) is required in the 12 no-fault states, optional in 10 states and the District of Columbia, and not available in 28 states, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Your PIP limits set the maximum amount that will be paid per person for any combination of covered expenses. PIP limits vary by state but are usually in the range of $1,000 to $10,000. Some states allow you to choose your PIP limits and others set it to a certain amount. You can always choose to buy additional PIP coverage beyond your state required amount.
Liability auto insurance protects you from that worst case scenario by providing a cushion between your assets and the amount you’re on the hook for. For this reason, choosing the right auto liability limits is the most important part of your car insurance quote comparison. NerdWallet typically recommends having at least as much liability coverage as your net worth.
You’ll notice that none of that liability coverage pays for your car or injuries, nor for any injuries your passengers sustain if you cause a wreck. This is why many people — particularly those whose car isn’t yet paid off — want “full coverage” car insurance. This isn’t actually a type of coverage, but instead typically refers to policies that include liability coverage, plus comprehensive and collision coverages.
For this review, we focused on national providers and left out any companies that only insure RVs locally. Odds are, national insurers are able to provide coverage no matter where you are in the U.S., and they are more likely to have the financial strength to support you. If you’re trusting a provider to come through when you’re most in need, it’s reassuring to have a company with years of experience and a history of financial success at your back.
Naturally, insurance companies use your driving past as an indicator of how you will drive in the future. It can be difficult to find affordable car insurance if you have a checkered driving history. While it’s very unlikely you will find an insurance company that won’t increase your premium after an at-fault accident or other violation, the degree of the rate increase will vary by company. Let’s compare rate increases for some common violations across major insurance companies.
While competition certainly helps keep premiums in check, it’s not the only factor. “In addition, under Virginia’s laws for seeking recovery, the person at fault for causing a car accident is held responsible for any resulting harm,” says Schrad. “Virginia also requires uninsured motorist coverage as part of a driver’s own auto insurance plan in case they are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver,” he continues. Not all states require drivers to carry uninsured motorist coverage.
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Your auto insurance rate depends on who you are as a driver, as well as your age, your credit, your vehicle, and your location. How insurance companies weigh these attributes is reflected in your premium. For example, having a limited driving history or a poor credit score can raise your rates dramatically. Our analysis of major rating factors shows how premiums shift from company to company.
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