Car Insurance: Auto insurance is a contract between you and the insurance company that protects you against financial loss in the event of an accident or theft of your car.
Whatever the reason, when you get an online insurance quote, you can tailor and purchase a car insurance policy instantly, and even print out your proof of insurance card.
Understanding auto insurance
Auto insurance is a contract between you and the insurance company that protects you against financial loss in the event of an accident or theft. In exchange for your paying a premium, the insurance company agrees to pay your losses as outlined in your policy.
Auto insurance provides coverage for:
- Property – such as damage to or theft of your car
- Liability – your legal responsibility to others for bodily injury or property damage
- Medical – the cost of treating injuries, rehabilitation and sometimes lost wages and funeral expenses
Basic personal auto insurance is mandated by most U.S. states, and laws vary. Auto insurance coverages are priced individually (a la carte) to let you customize coverage amounts to suit your exact needs and budget.
Policies are generally issued for six-month or one-year timeframes and are renewable. The insurance company sends a notice when it’s time to renew the policy and pay your premium.
Who is covered by Auto Insurance and under what circumstances?
Your auto policy will cover you and other family members on your policy, whether driving your car or someone else’s car (with their permission). Your policy also provides coverage if someone who is not on your policy is driving your car with your consent.
Your personal auto policy only covers personal driving, whether you’re commuting to work, running errands or taking a trip. It will not provide coverage if you use your car for commercial purposes—for instance, if you deliver pizzas.
Personal auto insurance will also not provide coverage if you use your car to provide transportation to others through a ride-sharing service such as Uber or Lyft. Some auto insurers, however, are now offering supplemental insurance products (at additional cost) that extend coverage for vehicle owners providing ride-sharing services.
Is Car Insurance Coverage Mandatory?
Auto insurance requirements vary from state to state. If you’re financing a car, your lender may also have its own requirements. Nearly every state requires car owners to carry:
- Bodily injury liability – which covers costs associated with injuries or death that you or another driver causes while driving your car.
- Property damage liability – which reimburses others for damage that you or another driver operating your car causes to another vehicle or other property, such as a fence, building or utility pole.
In addition, many states require that you carry:
- Medical payments or personal injury protection (PIP), which provides reimbursement for medical expenses for injuries to you or your passengers. It will also cover lost wages and other related expenses.
- Uninsured motorist coverage reimburses you when an accident is caused by a driver who does not have auto insurance—or in the case of a hit-and-run. You can also purchase under insured motorist coverage, which will cover costs when another driver lacks adequate coverage to pay the costs of a serious accident.
Even if PIP and uninsured motorist coverage are optional in your state, consider adding them to your policy for greater financial protection.
What other types of Car Insurance Coverage are typical?
- Collision reimburses you for damage to your car that occurs as a result of a collision with another vehicle or other object—e.g., a tree or guardrail—when you’re at fault. While collision coverage will not reimburse you for mechanical failure or normal wear-and-tear on your car, it will cover damage from potholes or from rolling your car.
- Comprehensive provides coverage against theft and damage caused by an incident other than a collision, such as fire, flood, vandalism, hail, falling rocks or trees and other hazards—even getting hit by an asteroid!
- Glass Coverage provides coverage from windshield damage, which is common. Some auto policies include no-deductible glass coverage, which also includes side windows, rear windows and glass sunroofs. Or you can buy supplemental glass coverage.
What is Gap Insurance and Do I need a Car Gap Insurance?
Collision and comprehensive insurance coverage only cover the market value of your car, not what you paid for itand new cars depreciate quickly.
If your car is totalled or stolen, there may be a “gap” between what you owe on the vehicle and your insurance coverage. To cover this, you may want to look into purchasing gap insurance to pay the difference. Note that for leased vehicles, gap coverage is usually rolled into your lease payments.
How to Get/Buy a Car Insurance Quote Online
Gather the information you will need about your cars and drivers
To speed up purchasing instant auto insurance online, have this basic information ready for each driver on your policy:
- Social Security number (optional)
- Driver’s license number
- Driving distance to work
- Driving violations, accidents or claims in the last five years (approximate dates and details)
- Make, model and year of your vehicle(s)
If you own a collectible car, you can also use the above information to get classic car insurance. Find out if you qualify today.
Get an insurance quote online
Nationwide’s auto insurance quote tool is your fastest path to a quick car insurance quote. Enter your ZIP Code and click Get a Quote. Then answer some questions about yourself, the car you want to insure and the people who will be driving the vehicle.
How to compare car insurance
Once you have your car insurance quote, you may want to shop around to see who has the best options available for what kind of coverage or policy you need. When comparing, you’ll want to keep in mind:
- Coverages that are offered
- Discounts available
- Deductibles and liability limits
- Additional customizable features
Find Nationwide car insurance discounts
As you get your instant auto insurance quote, Nationwide will help identify discounts on car insurance that might apply to your policy to and save you money by lowering your premium in a big way.
- Multi-policy discounts: Depending on where you live, you may qualify for lower rates when you have multiple Nationwide insurance policies.
- Safe driver discount: You may also be able to lower your car insurance rate by avoiding speeding tickets, reckless driving, or having an accident-free record.
- Anti-theft discount: If your vehicle is equipped with an anti-theft device or passenger restraint system, you may save even more.
- Nationwide SmartRide: You may also earn a discount through the SmartRide program which is a usage-based program that gives members feedback to help encourage safe driving.1
Understand your coverage options
With Nationwide, you have a number of car insurance coverage options to choose from that can help fit your needs. Common coverage options include:
- Gap coverage
- Uninsured motorist
- Bodily injury liability
- Roadside Assistance
Find out more about Nationwide’s auto insurance coverage options.
Liability car insurance
Liability insurance is considered the most basic, minimum auto insurance you can buy – and it’s required in most states. Essentially, if you want to get behind the wheel, you need to have it.
If you’re thinking about requesting a quote for just liability auto insurance, make sure you know what the quoted policies do and do not cover. The most basic policy may keep you legal, but fall short of the coverage you need if you’re in a serious accident or your car is damaged in some other way. For a slightly higher price, you may avoid big expenses down the road.
Customize your policy with additional options:
Our most popular, affordable upgrades include:
- Roadside Assistance: which can help you if you need a tow, jump-start or tire change
- Vanishing Deductible: which lets you to take $100 off your deductible for every year of safe driving2
- Accident Forgiveness:, which means we won’t raise your auto insurance rates following your first at-fault accident
Select the auto insurance policy that’s right for you
When you receive your instant car insurance quote from Nationwide, you will get several options to choose from, making it easy to select a policy that’s right for you and your budget. You can also change coverages to create a more personalized policy.
Choose a payment method and buy your insurance instantly
Once you’ve picked a policy, simply choose a payment option to complete the transaction. After that, you can download your proof of insurance card and print it out.
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