You should look for quality, value and service when getting personal auto insurance. This insurance is designed to protect your assets and you should choose the proper coverage to meet your individual needs. You and your family members should be covered whether the car you are driving is your own, a rental car, or one that you’ve borrowed.

An Automobile policy offers these basic coverages:

  • Liability coverage – that covers you and your family against claims for bodily injury or property damage caused by an auto accident in which you or your covered family members are considered legally responsible.

  • Personal Injury Protection – “no fault” coverage to provide medical, surgical, hospital, work loss and other related expenses.

  • Uninsured Motorist – pays you for damages caused by uninsured motorists or hit-and-run accidents.

  • Comprehensive coverage – that pays for damage to your car from fire, theft, vandalism, or many other events.

  • Collision coverage – that pays for damage to your car if you’re in an accident.

There are also many optional coverages available such as rental car reimbursement, full glass coverage, towing and labor. An agent can review your needs with you and recommend a complete automobile insurance policy designed to properly protect you.

In addition to coverage, the limits and deductibles you choose can have a great effect on the protection and price of your insurance. Many companies quote just the NY State minimum requirements of $25,000 / $50,000 / $10,000 for the lowest price. I would not recommend such low limits if you want the proper protection. Many people get limits of $300,000 or $500,000 and are able to get higher limits with an Umbrella Liability Policy of $1,000,000 or more.

To be competitively priced, most companies offer a wide range of discounts such as:

  • Insuring both your home and auto with the same insurance carrier

  • Multiple car discounts

  • Good driver discount

  • Driver training credit

  • Good student discount

  • Defensive Driving Course (six hour class)

  • Credits for air bags, anti-lock brakes, running lights, ant-theft devices and more.

Today, insurance carriers use many factors to determine your rate. They use very sophisticated computer programs including the discounts above and also many other factors such as:

  • Your credit score – a high score (good credit) can get you a better price

  • Your driving record – accidents and tickets in the past 3 years

  • The use of your car (business or personal) and your annual mileage

  • Previous insurance information – if you have prior coverage, it’s usually a better price

  • The type of car – high priced performance sports cars are more expensive to insure

  • Drivers in your household – They consider all drivers, even occasional drivers

Because of the complexity of coverages, limits, and rates I recommend having someone working for you to offer advice and find the best policy to fit your needs. There are many policies offered direct by insurance companies on-line or by telephone, but this does not give you the advice of an agent working for you. An independent professional insurance agent works for you and believes that your satisfaction with your car insurance is of the utmost importance. In an increasingly self-service world, it can be a welcome relief to turn over a question or problem to someone else who will handle matters quickly and professional for you.

For more information talk to your insurance professional, or the author of this article.

Your Professional Insurance Agent…
We want you to know about the insurance you’re buying.

Alan Plafker is President of Member Brokerage Service LLC, a Melrose Credit Union Service Organization. He is a licensed Insurance Broker and serves as Treasurer on the Board of Directors the PIANY (Professional Insurance Agents Association of NY), serves on the Board of CIBGNY (Council of Insurance Brokers of Greater NY), and was appointed to the New York Independent Livery Driver Benefit Fund Board of Directors. His Agency insures thousands of polices for TLC Insurance as well as many policies for all types of insurance. You can reach him in his Briarwood, Queens office at (718) 523-1300 ext. 1082, or visit the website at:

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