Cheap auto insurance. Mississippi.

Auto insurance. Mississippi.

What the law currently requires
   Mississippi law, like nearly all states, requires drivers on its roads to carry proof that they can pay for the damages they cause in an accident. If you are involved in a driving accident causing bodily injury or property damage above $250, convicted of a serious driving offense or repeated minor offenses, or fail to pay final judgements arising from an earlier accident, you must show proof of financial responsibility.
   In Mississippi, the minimum financial responsibility requirements are $10,000 per person and $20,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $5,000 per accident for property damage (10/20/5). You, as a Mississippi driver, can legally satisfy these requirements by:
  • Showing proof of liability insurance with bodily injury and property damage limits at least equal to the minimum requirement.
  • Posting a bond for these same amounts.
  • Making a cash or security deposit equal to the minimum requirements.
   These financial responsibility laws create an incentive for people to buy automobile liability insurance, which is the most effective way to protect yourself financially in case of an automobile accident. But no one actually does these other things to meet the requirements of the financial responsibility law. Responsible people buy auto liability insurance. The problem comes with the irresponsible people who don’t buy auto liability insurance. That’s why there’s been this movement for many year to have a compulsory liability auto insurance law to require everybody to have auto liability insurance.
   Liability coverage pays for damage you cause to other people and their property. It protects your assets and wages from seizure and litigation. However, in today’s era of ever-rising medical costs and auto repair bills, the state- mandated minimum requirements of 10/20/5 may not be sufficient. It is a good idea to consider purchasing liability coverage with higher limits. Remember, if you are at fault in an accident, liability coverage will only pay up to your limits of insurance. You will be responsible for any damages over that amount. You will need to purchase other kinds of coverage if you want the insurance company to pay for your medical bills and vehicle repairs.

Shopping for auto insurance
   Ultimately, you will be making your decision on how much auto insurance to purchase based on what you can afford. Insurance companies write policies in many different ways:
  • directly to consumers via telephone or the Internet,
  • through independent agents who represent more than one company,
  • through captive agents who represent one company.
   In order to find the best possible rate, you need to contact many different agents and companies. You may want to make a worksheet to help you keep track of the auto insurance quotes you get from different companies.
   Also, it is a good idea to keep track of the discounts offered by each company. If your family owns two or more cars and have all your auto insurance with one company, you are often eligible for a discount under a “multi-car” plan. Some companies offer discounts to farmers, good students, and others. Often, a discount is offered for drivers over 55 who pass a special driving course.
   Additional discounts are given on equipment in your car such as anti-lock brakes, anti-theft devices, air bags, and automatic seatbelts. On average, a five percent discount is given on such equipment. Taking a defensive driving course can reduce your liability and collision premiums. Young drivers who take driver education also can get a similar discount.

   There are many things you can do to keep the cost of automobile insurance as low as possible. Here are a few tips:
  • Maintain a good driving record.
  • Ask about discounts.
  • Take the highest deductible you can afford if you opt to carry collision and comprehensive coverage.
  • Before buying a vehicle, determine the cost of insuring it. Highperformance vehicles mean higher insurance rates. If you are financing a vehicle, chances are the lender will require you to take out comprehensive and collision insurance, which will drive your insurance costs up.
  • If your car has a low market value, consider forgoing comprehensive and collision insurance. You may be paying more in premiums than you would receive if your car was damaged or stolen.
  • Generally, it is cheaper for young drivers to be included on their parents’ policy than to have one on their own. Young drivers also can get goodstudent discounts with some companies.
  • Pay your insurance in a timely manner. If you are cancelled for nonpayment of premium, it will be harder to find a company willing to cover you.
   Review your policy periodically and update coverage accordingly.

   While it is important to keep the cost of automobile insurance low, price should not be the only consideration when you are shopping for insurance. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. In addition to comparing prices, it is a good idea to compare the financial strength of a company, its reputation for service, and specific coverages, discounts and other benefits that they offer.

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