Insurance premiums are rising each year in the US, and it is becoming a real hassle to find affordable rates for car insurance, life insurance, health insurance and home insurance. Do you get annoyed by pushy salespeople like I do? If so, I recommend that you do not rush into buying expensive insurance coverage from the first agent (pushy or not) or company who approaches you. Different insurance companies have different pricing, and so when you compare insurance rates, you could save hundreds of dollars a year on your different insurance policies. When you compare rates, make sure you look at policies that have similar coverage as the rates will vary depending on the amount of coverage. To get the best deal for yourself, I would say that it's a good idea to compare rates on your different insurance policies at least once a year, and for some types of insurance, you might want to do it every 6 months.
We at GET.com constantly compare the best rates and offers from major US insurers such as Prudential, Globe Life, Gerber, Geico, Progressive, Nationwide, and many others. You can compare rates of different insurance types such as car insurance rates, life insurance, health insurance and home insurance by selecting the type of insurance you're looking for, and the state you live in in the search box above!
Auto insurance, motorcycle insurance, boat insurance and classic car insurance are some of the more common types of vehicle insurance types available in the U.S., but RV insurance, aviation insurance and several others are also available.
Auto InsuranceAuto insurance is a blanket term for several different types of coverage, including liability auto insurance, collision auto insurance, comprehensive auto insurance and more. Liability auto insurance coverage is compulsory in nearly every U.S. state; only in New Hampshire is it optional. As a rule, in order to drive or register a vehicle, you must carry car insurance to protect others in an accident if you are at fault. Even if you're not at fault, the driver who is may be an uninsured driver.
Basic liability coverage has three components: bodily injury liability per person, bodily injury liability per accident and property damage liability per accident. All of these benefits apply only to other people harmed by your accident. You'll need collision insurance to cover your own vehicle in an accident and comprehensive insurance for incidental damages like windshield stars. While comprehensive claims usually have no deductible, liability and collision claims usually do.
Classic Car Insurance
Classic car insurance is useful if you want to cover an older car that you don't use much, like a collectible or hobby automobile. If your automobile is 25 years old or has "special historical interest because of exceptionally fine workmanship or limited production," you can insure it as a classic or antique. While base premiums are usually lower than standard auto insurance, new purchase coverage, auto show medical reimbursement, spare parts coverage or other riders can turn pricey.
Classic or antique car insurance comes with some limitations. Vehicle use is usually restricted to car exhibitions, parades, car club activities or other classic car-associated events. You must maintain, preserve or restore your car yourself, and annual mileage limits apply.
Motorcycle insurance is more expensive than regular auto insurance even though bikes are generally less expensive than cars, but there are reasons for this. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration figures for 2013 indicate that mile for mile, motorcyclist deaths were 26 times those of car drivers and passengers.
Like auto insurance, motorcycle insurance has state-mandated requirements for minimum bodily injury and property damage liability to pay for damages you may cause others. You also have options to carry collision and comprehensive insurance to cover your bike. If your motorcycle has high-end customization, you may want accessory coverage. Motorcyclists also have options for medical payment or personal injury protection to cover motorcycle accident-related medical bills within policy limits.
Boat insurance is usually required for motorized boats to satisfy state laws, marina requirements and your bank if you're paying on a boat loan. Like an automobile or motorcycle, boat liability insurance protects you if you harm someone else or damage their property while boating.
Premiums and recommended liability coverages correlate to your motor's size and power. Liability insurance usually covers passengers and the boat owner in an accident, but it may not protect towed individuals, such as water-skiers or tubers. You may also want to carry comprehensive options to cover theft and damage to the boat. Examine policy riders to ensure you're covered for hurricane, engine or rock damage as well as loss of personal property.
Health insurance has pretty much become obligatory in the U.S. since the implementation of The Affordable Care Act. Uninsured individuals are assessed an annual penalty on their federal tax returns. For 2016, the fee is $695 per adult, $2,085 per family or 2.5 percent of your annual income, whichever is greater; in future years, the penalty will rise with inflation.
In contrast, if you or someone on your health insurance policy becomes ill, needs treatment or surgery, requires medication or is eligible for preventive procedures, your healthcare insurer will pay for those items detailed in your benefits plan. When choosing among plans, evaluate monthly premiums, deductibles, copays, patient percentages for covered benefits and in-network provider availability.
Life insurance is a big topic, and refers to several different types of coverage, all of which are meant to provide a benefit when you or another insured person dies.
Whole Life Insurance
Whole life insurance is a permanent insurance policy that pays a death benefit but also accrues cash value that you may be able to use while you're still living. Premiums are set at enrollment and remain the same throughout the life of the policy, regardless of your age or health.
Cash values grow through premiums and dividends and are tax-deferred until the policy reaches face value. Funds are then available to provide supplemental retirement income, for example, through withdrawal options. Whole life insurance is often also called straight life, traditional whole life or continuous premium whole life insurance.
Term Life Insurance
If children or other individuals depend on your earnings, term life insurance is a way of providing those resources through a death benefit. Often part of employee benefits packages, this temporary insurance is in effect for set periods of time. Premiums rise in proportion to your age, with most companies setting upper enrollment limits.
Financial experts recommend coverage of seven to 10 times your annual salary. To determine dollar amounts, consider the costs of funeral expenses, income for a surviving spouse, secured debts like your mortgage and educational provisions for any surviving children versus additional income from other investments.
Universal Life Insurance
Adding flexibility to whole life policies, universal life insurance offers a death benefit face value that you can change, cash value while you're still living, loans from savings beyond the policy's face value and opportunity to reinvest dividends and savings.
Universal life insurance allows you to use dividends or the policy's savings portion to pay monthly premiums. You can change strategies between the policy's insurance and savings options. You can also establish death benefits as a fixed amount or supplement it with savings dividends. These policies are permanent, however, and often have early-surrender fees.
Variable Life Insurance
Also considered permanent, variable life insurance offers still greater flexibility in death benefit values and investment options. Similar to universal life policies, variable life insurance has a death benefit, but it also allows you to invest a portion of your premium into diversified accounts (mutual funds) in the insurance company's portfolio.
Earnings are tax-free until you surrender the policy, but dividends accrue based on the mutual fund's yield; variable life policies usually promise greater return in exchange for greater risk; however, these accounts may have higher investment management fees as well as early-surrender penalties.
Property insurance protects your property, whether it's a house or your personal possessions, from damages, theft, fire and other perils. Whether you want to rent a condo, or are trying to get a mortgage to buy a home, you will usually be required to have insurance.
Homeowners insurance gives you a way to protect your valuable property investment against fire, vandalism, storm damage and many other perils. Some homeowner's insurance policies also cover earthquakes. Although you may be able to add flood insurance, this coverage will normally be provided by the National Flood Insurance Program with your insurance company simply brokering the policy.
As well as protecting your home itself, homeowner's insurance usually includes liability insurance coverage for you and your family, insurance for your personal possessions which may extend as far as covering a phone or boat against damage both at home or away, and general theft insurance.
Renter's insurance is normally a good idea, if not a requirement, because landlords' insurance rarely covers renters' belongings. If you're renting a house or apartment, you'll need renter's insurance to protect your personal property against theft, fire, vandalism and other covered losses.
Renter's insurance protects your clothes and all your other belongings, including furniture, appliances, computers, television, electronics and even food. It also protects you against liability if something you do or own damages someone else's person or belongings where you live. When choosing a policy, note deductibles, exact coverages and conditions, and cash values versus replacement values.
Flood insurance does not come standard with homeowner's and renter's insurance policies. However, hurricanes, tropical storms, weather trends and geological topography make flood insurance a mandatory requirement for many mortgages, property owners and businesses. If you need flood insurance, you'll need to enroll in the Federal Emergency Management Agency's National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
NFIP flood insurance covers buildings and their foundations as well as the systems, furnishings and personal contents within them. It also covers detached buildings and debris removal. It does not, however, pay for damages involving mold or mildew, precious metals or financial papers, outdoor amenities like swimming pools, temporary housing or living expenses, financial business losses or vehicles. In addition, coverage for low areas like basements may be limited.
Personal Property Insurance
Personal property insurance can ensure that you're compensated for the full value of their loss or damage. In most cases, standard homeowner's or renter's insurance may set limits around $1,000. This is usually not enough coverage to protect your valuable assets.
Articles warranting a personal property policy may include art, jewelry, coins, guns, other collectibles or expensive equipment. Evaluate replacement value versus cash value carefully; replacement value will purchase an item of equal quality, but cash value equates to the item's selling value at the time of its loss. Deductibles may be significant, and your insurance issuer will request appraisals and documentation.
Travel insurance can cover financial losses or medical expenses you incur while traveling domestically or overseas. Policies cover such a range of issues, however, that you may need specific riders to address particular concerns. Make sure you also know what your health insurance, and the insurance benefits offered by credit cards used for payment, already cover. That way you won't pay for duplicate benefits.
Policies can include options to pay for just about anything: trip cancellations, medical and dental care needed while abroad, emergency medical evacuation for specialized care unavailable at your location and survivor death benefits. Additional, specialized travel riders can address loss of luggage, loss or damage of personal property or even financial protection if your booked travel provider goes bankrupt.
Umbrella insurance can protect you to dollar amounts typically unavailable in standard policies. Basically, it's supplemental coverage with liability protection against large claims or lawsuits. If you exhaust dollar limits on your standard policy, in-force umbrella insurance can provide the additional needed coverage.
Umbrella policies can be particularly useful if you're sued, as it can cover legal fees as well as any damages you may have to pay. Although umbrella policies don't cover intentional or illegal misdeeds, they do protect you in cases of false arrest, libel and slander up to your policy limit.
If you want to get a mortgage you will usually be required to have at least some mortgage insurance. But seeing that a mortgage brings with it a huge financial responsibility, getting enough coverage is usually a good idea.
Mortgage Payment Protection Insurance
This insurance covers your mortgage payments for a certain amount of time if you ever become disabled or unemployed. Some policies will also cover your entire mortgage if you pass away, although your life insurance (if you have it) may offer this same benefit.
The main advantage of mortgage payment protection insurance is that as a policy holder, you don't have to worry about how you will meet your mortgage payments if you lose your job. If for some reason (age, health), you aren't able to get life insurance which covers your mortgage, then mortgage payment protection insurance could be a good alternative and is usually much easier to get.
Private Mortgage Insurance
Privat mortgage insurance (PMI) is quite different from homeowner's insurance. While homeowner's insurance protects the homeowner, mortgage insurance protects your mortgage lender. If you're taking out a loan to buy property, your bank may require mortgage insurance, depending on your equity versus the borrowed amount.
If your equity is less than 20 percent of the property's appraised value, your lender will add private mortgage insurance (PMI) premiums to your mortgage payments. Once you reach 20-percent equity, your lender will discontinue the PMI, reducing your monthly mortgage payment.
Business insurance is a general term used to describe a number of insurance types, including professional liability insurance and commercial property insurance. These insurance coverages protect you from claims of liability, damage or loss from customers, employees, maintenance and repair people, and any other individuals who enter the property under normal business conditions. Most states mandate coverage for worker's compensation, unemployment and disability. In addition, investors or lenders may require additional levels of liability coverage as well as options for business interruption, fire, other concerns specific to your industry or flood; the NFIP issues commercial flood insurance.
Whether you have a commercial site or operate your business from home, you'll need business insurance. Even if you already have a homeowner's or renter's policy, those policies normally won't cover perils associated with running a business on the property. Only a business insurance policy offers liability coverage for commercial purposes.
Professional liability coverage protects you against liability claims if something goes wrong, and getting it is a good idea if your business involves any element of risk.