Wendy Connick is the founder and owner of Connick Financial Solutions, a provider of tax and bookkeeping services and a QuickBooks Online Certified ProAdvisor. A long-time freelance writer, she specializes in business and finance articles on subjects including taxes, investing, and retirement. Wendy is an Enrolled Agent (EA), the only federally-licensed tax practitioners who specialize in taxation and have unlimited rights to represent taxpayers before the IRS. She is a member of the National Association of Enrolled Agents and a certified volunteer for VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance), an IRS-sponsored program to provide free tax help for low-income individuals and families.
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Auto insurance is financial protection, and not just for the investment you made when you bought your car. After a really serious accident, bills for damage and injuries can easily reach into hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you happen to cause such a wreck, the victims could sue you. In the worst case scenario, assets such as your savings and home could be seized.
Once you’ve chosen a top-rated insurance provider and selected the right policy limits, your work isn’t quite done. No matter how much you love your current policy, it’s still important to shop around every year to find more affordable or even cheap car insurance quotes from other providers. If you get a much lower quote for the same type of policy from another carrier, you might take the quote to your current insurer and ask them to match it. There’s an excellent chance that your current insurer will unearth another discount or two and reduce your premiums just to keep your business. That way, you’ll get the best of both worlds: superior car insurance coverage and a competitive price.
J.D. Power ranks Farmers Auto Insurance better than most for claims satisfaction — an important endorsement, considering that on-time and fairly-sized claim payouts are the ultimate goal of insurance. Besides that, Farmers has a great coverage selection. A few options, like new car replacement and custom parts coverage, we didn’t see among all our top picks. We also like the company’s accident forgiveness program, which “will forgive one at-fault accident for every three years you drive without one.”
If you only drive for part of the year, you may want to consider a plan that is designed for those who drive fewer than 10,000 miles per year. Plans from Metromile are often much cheaper than a standard policy because they are broken into a base fee per month and a per-mile rate that only kicks in if you drive your vehicle. Do not worry, you won’t have to calculate your mileage – the policy comes with a plug-in device. That same device can also help you find your parked car and calculate your gas mileage, and the app that it comes with can give you alerts on no parking times so that you can avoid getting unnecessary tickets!
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But according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, newly licensed drivers are about eight times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes in their first six months than more experienced drivers. The takeaway? Experience counts. The Center for Disease Control suggests that increased education programs and parental involvement in instruction are associated with reductions of as many as 40% of fatal and injury crashes among 16-year-olds.
Owners of brand-new vehicles might consider getting gap coverage to protect themselves in case of an accident early on in their car ownership. New vehicles lose a huge amount of their value the moment you drive them off the dealership lot, but you still owe your lender however much you purchased the vehicle for in the first place. However, if you get into a major accident a week after buying your new car and the vehicle is totaled, standard auto insurance policies will only pay you up to the car’s current value—which will likely be much less than you owe on it. In such a situation, gap coverage will “fill in the gap” between the car’s current value and how much you still owe on it.