An auto insurance policy is a package of different kinds of coverage. You generally have some flexibility in terms of both the types and amounts of coverage you select. However, practically every state has enacted insurance laws that require drivers to carry at least liability auto insurance. Many states even require that you present proof of insurance before you register a car. So the short answer to the question is that you will need to insure your car, regardless of its value.
Drivers must carry liability insurance. The liability coverage section of an auto insurance policy provides financial protection from liability claims against you when you (or certain other people) cause an accident that results in bodily injuries to other people and/or damage to their property. Every state has mandatory minimum limits of liability coverage.
Comprehensive and collision insurance is optional in virtually every state. The collision and comprehensive section of your policy covers physical damage to your own vehicle resulting from collisions and a variety of other causes (e.g., fire, falling objects). It may also cover losses associated with theft. However, your car’s value plays a big part in assessing your need for this type of coverage. It may not be cost-effective if your vehicle is worth less than $1,000 because you’ll have to satisfy a deductible, and the most you’ll receive (even if your car is totaled) will be its actual value (i.e., after depreciation). That’s not much, especially taking into account the premiums you would have been paying for coverage. If your care is over 15 years old (and is not a collectible), you may only get liability insurance on it.
Insurance premiums depend on several factors, including your age, sex, place of residence, and driving record; the amount and type of coverage you select; and whether you drive your vehicle primarily for business or personal purposes. This explains why one driver might pay a different premium than another for the same make of vehicle.
But why might it cost more to insure one sport utility vehicle (SUV) than another? In addition to the factors listed above, insurance companies consider the likelihood that a particular brand of vehicle will be stolen, vandalized, or involved in an accident. They also track the cost of repairs. They gather their information from claim statistics. The Highway Loss Data Institute, for example, indexes the amount of money insurance companies have paid out (on average) for collision, injury, and theft claims for various types of motor vehicles. Therefore, the SUV that is most attractive to thieves across the country will probably be more expensive to insure than the one that is stolen least often.
Insurance companies also consider their own past claim payouts. For instance, if one company has paid numerous claims regarding a particular make of SUV, it may charge higher insurance rates for that type of SUV than another company would. This is why we shop for your insurance through 40 different companies – to find the right policy for you.