Comparing insurance rates side-by-side online can be a challenge, but we’re here to help!
Insurance isn’t just another fee required by the government or an extra cost associated with owning things. When you have appropriate insurance in place, you also have added protection from financial losses, help to get back on your feet after an accident or other mishap and, perhaps most importantly, peace of mind that you, your family, and your business are protected when life throws you a curveball.
On the following pages, you’ll find information on insurance protection, along with how to find the best policy type for you. Individual factors you’ll want to consider when choosing insurance options include information on how to compare insurance plans and quotes, the best insurance companies for each type of policy, and tips on how you can get lower cost insurance without sacrificing the coverage you need.
Below is a quick review of the issues you’ll need to be familiar with when comparing insurance rates.
Protecting yourself, your family and your income
Insurance provides more than just financial reimbursement for objects that are lost or damaged. The types of insurance below help you protect not only your assets, but also your earning power, and can help take care of you or your loved ones if you are incapacitated or killed.
Purchasing an individual health plan is confusing. And expensive. But once you have the right knowledge and spend a little time comparing insurance plans, it’s an investment in your future and can wind up saving you a lot of money in the long run.
If you don’t have access to an employer-sponsored health plan (or opt not to enroll in it for some reason) you have the option to purchase a private medical plan either from a government-run exchange or directly from an insurance company. Purchasing from an exchange means that you can take advantage of any government subsidies for which you qualify. You can also acquire vision or dental coverage either separately, or as part of a comprehensive medical plan.
Comparing health insurance quotes? Be sure to know the basics. Health insurance plans come in four major tiers of coverage: Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze. Each level offers similar essential services including preventative care. What varies is the cost structure of each plan.
Platinum plans have a higher monthly premium but include more medical services at no additional out of pocket cost. They’re a good choice for people who anticipate using a lot of medical services or who just want to have something close to a fixed price for their medical expenses each year with no “surprise” large medical bills if they get sick or have an accident.
Bronze plans have a lower monthly premium but tend to have higher deductibles and copays, meaning you will pay more out of pocket over the course of the year. They are a good choice for someone in relatively good health who doesn’t expect to use many medical services in the next year. Gold and Silver plans fall somewhere on the spectrum between Platinum and Bronze.
Life insurance is an important financial tool if you have loved ones, such as a spouse or children, who rely on you for part of their financial support – or even if you just want to make sure your family will have funds available to cover expenses if you should pass away unexpectedly. Some kinds of life insurance can also be used as a part of your long-term savings. Knowing the basics helps when you’re comparing life insurance quotes.
When you purchase life insurance, you need to understand the differences between the types of policies, including whole life, term life, universal life, variable life, and annuities to choose the right policy for your specific needs.
You’ll also want to consider several personal factors in choosing the type of policy and the amount of coverage you need. Those factors include how long of a period you want protection for, how much you want to leave to your heirs or estate, and how much risk/flexibility you want in your policy.
Many renters think that they don’t need insurance for their personal belongings because of a mistaken belief that their landlord’s policy will cover it – or because they think they own so little that it’s not worth insuring. But even a modest apartment likely contains tens of thousands of dollars worth of clothes, electronics, collectibles, and more. Is it worth comparing renter’s insurance rates? Absolutely!
Renters insurance can also provide more coverage than just reimbursing you for damaged or lost property. If your rental home or apartment becomes uninhabitable due to a fire, flood or another mishap, many policies will provide additional funds to help you pay for a temporary place to stay, restaurant meals when you can’t use your kitchen, and other similar expenses.
Besides your personal belongings, rental insurance can also provide you with other coverage that helps protect your financial assets. For example, if someone is injured in your rental home due to your negligence or mistake, many renters insurance policies will provide you with liability coverage to help pay for legal or medical fees related to the incident. Some policies even provide limited coverage for damages caused by pets.
If you run even a small business or are self-employed, you likely need at least some business insurance. Not only does it help protect you personally as well as your business and its assets, in certain cases, but it’s also required by the government. Our resources can help when it comes to comparing business insurance quotes.
Business insurance comes in many forms, and not every company will need every type. The most commonly used types of business insurance are:
- Commercial property insurance, which covers any buildings or land you own, as well as other physical assets such as equipment, computers, etc.
- Commercial vehicle insurance, which covers both the cars and trucks owned by your business. It also offers liability protection if those vehicles are involved in an accident that damages other people’s property or injures a third party
- Liability insurance, which covers financial losses or costs you incur due to accidents, injuries or negligence claims involving your business. You can also buy more specialized versions of liability insurance that cover claims you created or sold a defective product or professional errors including negligence while providing a service to customers
- Workers compensation is required in most states once you have a certain number of employees (often as few as three employees). This policy provides coverage for payments related to any work-related injuries workers may suffer, regardless of who was at fault.
Protecting your vehicles and the people in them
When you purchase insurance for any kind of vehicle, part of what you’re getting is protection for the actual machine. You’re also getting protection for your loved ones who may be traveling in them, as well as protecting your financial assets from any liability claims you may face if someone else (or their property) is damaged due to an accident involving your vehicle.
What do you need to know when comparing auto insurance rates? If you own a car, you need car insurance – not just for your protection, but because it’s a requirement in every state. It varies a bit in each state, but in general, you’ll need to carry a certain amount of liability insurance to ensure you can cover any damages caused to third parties in an accident for which you are at fault. Some states also require uninsured driver policies.
If you used a loan to buy your car, your lender would probably require you to carry a specific amount of collision coverage so that you can still pay off the loan if the car is totaled or stolen.
Besides those mandated forms of insurance, there are other auto insurance policies you may want to consider adding:
- collision coverage protects you if you are involved in an accident with another vehicle
- comprehensive coverage kicks in for other kinds of damage, including vandalism, theft, fire and flood
- personal injury protection, also known as medical payments insurance, covers your medical expenses and related expenses such as loss of income if you are in an accident for which you were at fault.
Which, if any, of these policies you may need depends to some extent on the age and condition of your car and how much/where you drive it.
Note that if you use your car for business purposes (aside from commuting to your job), you may need to buy a commercial auto policy. Most personal car insurance policies will not cover any damage that occurs while the vehicle is used for business.
Other types of car insurance you may want to consider include a collectible policy if you have a rare, high-value or vintage car or gap insurance, which will cover the difference between the value of your car and the remaining balance if you financed the vehicle.
If you’ve compared motorcycle insurance quotes online, you’ll know that, similar to car insurance, most states require you to carry a certain amount of liability insurance in case you cause an accident that hurts someone else or damages their property.
Beyond that required insurance, the types of motorcycle insurance are very similar to auto insurance mentioned above: collision, comprehensive and personal injury protection.
Whether or not you need that additional coverage will depend largely on the age and condition of your bike – including if it is highly customized — and when/how you use it. Unlike car insurance, there are a few additional options motorcycle owners have. You can opt for policies that include trailer coverage if you tow your bike behind another vehicle, roadside assistance, and/or trip interruption coverage if you plan to take your bike on long-distance trips.
There is another option that can make your motorcycle policy cheaper: Some polices allow for so-called lay-up periods when your policy is essentially suspended because your bike is in storage for the off-season. Because it provides less-than-year-round protection, your annual premium is significantly lower. Just be aware that any damage or accidents that occur during a lay-up period are not covered by the policy.
You’ve invested hard-earned money in your new boat. Now it’s time to compare boater’s insurance rates online. Some boat owners think their watercraft is covered under their home or auto policies, but that is rarely the case. (And even when those policies do offer some boat coverage, it’s usually limited to very specific circumstances; for example, your auto policy covers your boat while it is being towed.)
There are three instances where you will be required to carry certain types of boat insurance. First, many states will require you to carry at least minimal liability insurance when you buy a boat. Second, if you use a loan to purchase it, your lender will likely require you to carry a specific amount of coverage to ensure it gets its money back if the boat is destroyed or lost. Third, if you dock your boat at a marina, the marina may require you to carry up to $1 million in liability coverage in case your boat becomes unmoored and causes damage to the marina facilities, employees or guests, or other boats.
Beyond those three instances, there are many other reasons you may opt to carry additional coverage. Boats are complex vehicles to insure because they face a wider array of mishaps – they can be damaged on land or water – and the type and use of a boat can range from a small, family boat used on the local lake for fishing to large, ocean-going vessels with employed crew members.
There are three major types of boat insurance. Hull insurance which covers damage to, or the loss of your boat; liability insurance, which covers expenses caused by an accident for which you are fault; and comprehensive insurance which covers non-accident-related damages, such as loss of your personal items kept on the boat, vandalism, fire, and related expenses such as emergency tow services.
The kind of marine insurance you need for your boat will depend on many factors. Some of which are the size, type, and age of the boat you own; where you travel and whether it’s in a hurricane-prone area; whether you use it year-round or only during certain seasons; whether you keep it at a marina or your home, and how often you tow it on a trailer.
RVs can be a big investment, and it pays to shop around and compare RV insurance quotes online. Insuring RVs and motorhomes can be both complicated and confusing. They have some of the aspects of a house and some of a car but neither an auto nor a home insurance policy will cover them appropriately. You’ll need an insurance policy specifically designed for the wide array of risks an RV could potentially encounter.
Like cars, RV policies fall into three main categories: collision, comprehensive and personal injury. They also offer contents coverage, similar to a renters insurance policy – this protects your personal belongings that may be kept in the motorhome.
Other options that are commonly included in RV insurance policies (or added as a rider) are the following:
- Pet coverage, which covers expenses related to injuries your pet may suffer if involved in an accident in your RV.
- Roadside assistance, which provides you with reimbursement and helps if your motorhome breaks down while on a trip away from home.
- Trailer coverage, which provides protection for damages or related expenses if your RV is involved in an accident while towing something like a boat, motorcycle or similar item.
- Trip interruption insurance covers you if your motorhome is involved in an accident and you need to spend more money on food, lodging, etc.