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All You Ever Wanted to Know About Insurance

The Basics of Auto Insurance for First-Time Buyers

If you’re shopping for auto insurance, especially for the first time, you may be overwhelmed by all the choices available to you. Here’s what you need to know about the basics, so you get the coverage you need and know you’re protected in case the unexpected happens.

Liability Coverage in Case You Are at Fault in an Accident

West Virginia requires all motorists registered within the state to carry liability coverage. This protects other drivers in case you are the responsible party in an accident. It pays for their emergency care, medical bills, and other related expenses, as well as property damage to their vehicle or items like mailboxes, fences, and landscaping.

Liability insurance also protects you. Without this coverage, you would have to cover all these expenses yourself, which could be very costly — out of the range of most people’s savings.

Full Coverage Insurance for More Protection

For most of our clients, we also recommend full coverage auto insurance. If you finance your car or truck, your lender no doubt requires this protection.

Full coverage insurance has two components:

  • Collision insurance to pay for repairs if you are at fault in an accident (if someone else is at fault, their insurance pays for your vehicle)
  • Comprehensive insurance in case your vehicle is stolen, vandalized or damaged by fire, severe weather, and many natural disasters

If you rely on your vehicle to get to work, go to school, or take care of family errands, full coverage insurance is essential to get you back on the road quickly. Like with liability insurance, you would otherwise have to foot the bill for repairs or replacement out of your wallet.

How Auto Insurance Deductibles Work

When you purchase auto insurance, you agree to pay a deductible in the event you have to file a claim. This is a small amount out of your pocket that was originally designed to prevent frivolous and fraudulent insurance claims.

Most folks select a deductible in the $500 to $1,000 range. Choosing a higher deductible usually gives you lower premiums (the cost of your policy) and vice versa. So if you’re a careful driver with a good record who doesn’t drive much, you might want to try a higher deductible, figuring you’re not likely to get in an accident and have to actually pay it.

But if you put in high miles or have a history of fender benders, you should probably go for a lower deductible, based on the likelihood that you’ll have to cover it sooner rather than later.

What Factors Affect the Cost of Auto Insurance?

In addition to the deductible/premium balance, there are other elements that influence what you’ll pay for auto coverage:

  • Your age
  • Your driving record
  • Your history of auto insurance claims
  • Where you live
  • Where your car is kept (e.g., on the street vs. in a locked garage)
  • The make, model, and year of your vehicle (its value)
  • Your credit history
  • Having taken defensive driving classes or driver's education
  • Whether you pay your premiums monthly, biannually, or annually (the more you pay upfront, the bigger your discount)
  • Bundling your insurance with one agent (putting your home, auto, and other insurance under one roof, so to speak)

Independent Agents Offer the Best Selection of Auto Insurance Products

Did you know that independent insurance agents have a much larger selection of auto insurance options than big companies? At Wickline Insurance, our independent agents partner with all the familiar carriers, plus many more you may not be familiar with. That gives us a huge menu to choose from, so we can better customize your auto coverage to your unique needs.

We also offer personalized service from people in your own community who see you as friends and family, not an anonymous number. To inquire about auto insurance or start a policy, call us at 304-252-1483 or get in touch online.