While it may be tempting to choose the cheapest, most bare-bones policy, there is certain coverage that’s not worth cutting, no matter the savings. We consulted the experts — a mix of insurance agents and accident attorneys — to find six basic coverage types that every auto policy should have. As you look for an affordable policy, keeps these necessities in mind:

NerdWallet averaged rates for 40-year-old men and women for 20 ZIP codes in each state and Washington, D.C., from the largest insurers, up to 12 in each state. “Good drivers” had no moving violations on record and credit in the “good” tier as reported to each insurer. For the other two driver profiles, we changed the credit tier to “poor” or added one at-fault accident, keeping everything else the same. Sample drivers had the following coverage limits:

Car insurance will prove a benefit if you ever experience a wreck, vehicle theft or other unpreventable problem on the road. The policy can help pay for such concerns as your own vehicle damage, injuries and related costs. Coverage can also pay for the damage you cause others if you are deemed at-fault in a wreck. With your policy, you can reduce your chances of significant financial losses after an unfortunate accident.

The varied rate of IDV's reflects different rates of premiums. Insured Declared Value, abbreviated as IDV, is the current value of the car after being adjusted for appropriate reduction. The rate of depreciation depends on the age of your car. Older the car, higher would be the depreciation and lowered would be your IDV. And it affects the Sum Assured. Hence, compare the IDV quoted offered by different car insurance plans is a must.

While State Farm's shopping experience is well-reviewed, customers did not feel as strongly about it's claims handling process. The company scored about the same as the other four large companies, but was still mediocre. A large national company may be expected to not be very efficient because of the various departments involved in handling individual claims. If you want the assurances guaranteed to you by a large, "legacy" carrier, then State Farm is the best to go with.

Though Progressive may not have the highest number of discounts, it offers an impressive range. You’ll receive effortless deductions for things like opting for paperless billing, making monthly payments on time, and signing a new policy early. The company offers deductions we didn’t find with any other provider, including one for drivers under 18, who will likely face some of the highest rates of any demographic. Progressive also boasts a safe driver discount that averages 31% savings. Though this likely won’t benefit those riskier drivers, it’s incentive to improve.
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