There are a lot of variables involved in the car buying process, but there is one factor that is etched in stone.

You need to purchase car insurance.

State laws mandate the purchase of auto insurance and as consumer analyst for Insure.com Patty Gusner says, “You need to shop for insurance before you ever step foot on the lot to negotiate buying a car,”. Sure, look at cars and narrow down what exact make and model you may buy, but keep your car insurance costs in mind during this time as well.  When you have your choice of car narrowed down to a few, it’s time to shop around for insurance.”

The question is not whether you need to buy auto insurance, but whether do you understand the eight insurance points to consider before buying a car.

#1 Length of Current Insurance Coverage

Most auto insurance policies extend to cover the purchase of a new car. Check with your insurer to determine if that is the case. There is no need to deal with the hassle of buying a new policy when the current policy covers a new vehicle.

#2 Assumptions Can Lead to Financial Issues

The first assumption some auto insurance buyers make is to assume things without reading the entire policy. Another bad assumption is to assume the dealership where you purchase your vehicle will take care of the auto insurance paperwork. “If they look at your insurance card and let you drive off, it’s because they are assuming you checked and know that there is coverage under your current policy,” Gusner emphasized.

#3 Know the Financial Metrics of a Policy

You probably know the cost of the car you want to purchase, but do you know the amount of coverage, limits, and deductibles you need to cover a car in that price range? Discuss the financial metrics with your auto insurance company.

#4 Liability Coverage is Minimum Coverage

Liability coverage is what most states mandate as the minimum amount of auto insurance coverage. This type of coverage covers the cost of paying for damages and injuries. Although liability coverage is the minimum amount of insurance to purchase, you should consider going with a comprehensive auto insurance policy.

#5 Personal Injury Protection

Adding personal injury protection (PIP) is a requirement for auto insurance buyers in no-fault states. The policy pays for medical expenses up to a defined limit, regardless of which party caused an auto accident.

#6 Gap Insurance Matters

“Gap insurance pays the difference between the value of the vehicle at the time of its total loss and what you still owe on it,” said Gusner. Remember that automobiles depreciate the moment they leave a dealership lot. Gap insurance pays the difference between what you owe on a car and what the car is worth.

#7 Collision Insurance Provides Peace of Mind

We already mentioned comprehensive auto insurance. If you decline that insurance option, at least get your vehicle covered with collision coverage. You never know when another car or an errant shopping cart will hit your vehicle.

#8 Protect Against Weather Damage

From large hailstones to branches dropping like flies from trees, a car is at the mercy of Mother Nature. Comprehensive auto insurance coverage is a savvy option, even if you live in an area that experiences relatively tranquil weather. With a comprehensive auto insurance policy, you also receive protection against fire, theft, and vandalism.

The amount of time you spend searching for the right car should never take away from the time you need to spend to buy an auto insurance policy. Follow these eight points to ensure you get the best coverage at the lowest possible price.

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