Under Louisiana law, you must carry at least liability coverage on any automobile you own. Single male drivers under 25 and female drivers under 21 have much higher insurance costs than other drivers but if you drive without insurance, there are fines and your vehicle could be confiscated.
An insurance premium is the cost of an insurance policy. Tickets, accidents, and the type of car you drive can affect your premium. An insurance premium is usually paid monthly but there are discounts if it is paid in a lump sum.
A deductible is the amount of money you pay personally toward repairs before your insurance kicks in. If you choose a high deductible, your premium will be lower. For example, if you choose a policy with a $500 deductible it will cost less, but you have to pay more out of pocket if you have an incident.
RESEARCH YOUR CAR INSURANCE OPTIONS
Get two to three insurance quotes. You can research rates at http://www.ldi.la.gov/online-services/shop-your-rates. Call the Louisiana Department of Insurance at (225) 342-5900 to make sure low rate companies are not scammers. If you suspect this, ask about a company’s license status. Consider these common insurance types in your research.
COMMON TYPES OF INSURANCE
- Liability Coverage covers bodily injury or property damage caused by you, your family members, and others driving your vehicle with your permission. This is the most basic and cheapest plan, but it doesn’t cover a lot.
- Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage pays benefits to you if your car is hit by a driver who has no insurance or too little insurance to pay for the full amount of your injuries or property damage. Hit-and-run drivers may fall under this category.
- Comprehensive Coverage** pays for damage related to falling objects, flood, fire, explosion, vandalism, theft and more. Read this policy carefully. There are not-so-obvious exclusions such as collision.
- Collision Coverage** pays for accident-related damages. This includes hitting a stationary object like a bridge or a tree. It does not cover medical bills.
- Medical Payments Coverage – Regardless of blame, this insurance will cover medical and funeral bills of the driver, family members, and other passengers in a vehicle accident. Read the fine print for exclusions and limitations.
*NOTE: It is helpful to have auto insurance that covers the cost of a tow. Check to make sure your policy provides this.
**NOTE: When you buy a car, the lender often requires both comprehensive and collision insurance while you are making payments. This can make buying a car more expensive than anticipated.
PURCHASING CAR INSURANCE ONLINE
It’s relatively easy and painless to get car insurance online. Big brands such as Progressive, Geico, Allstate, State Farm, Nationwide, Esurance are just a few of the companies you can buy car insurance from. Generally, you should get a quote from several different options and see which one fits best with your budget.
In general, you’ll need the following to get a quote or purchase car insurance online:
- Driver’s License
- A piece of mail if your ID address is different from your license
- Social Security Number
- Bank Information
- Vehicle Information
- VIN number (long vehicle identification number printed on the inside the driver’s side windshield or inside door)
- Vehicle make and model
- Odometer reading that shows how many miles used in a used vehicle
NOTE: Always keep a copy of your insurance in your car. The hotline printed on the insurance card can be valuable when you need a tow.
NOTE: If you move to another state for college, you may not need to update your insurance/license if you remain a permanent residence in your home state. Check to make sure.
- Post Accident Checklist: http://www.dmv.org/insurance/post-accident-checklist.php
- Louisiana Department of Insurance: http://www.ldi.la.gov/ (225) 342-5900