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Car Insurance for Low-Income Drivers

With the national economy in a prolonged slump and conditions across the country uncertain at best, the need for car insurance for low-income drivers has increased nationwide. Some states have discussed legislation to mandate low-income car insurance programs, with at least one state-sponsored program already in place. The need is apparent, with unemployment on the rise across the country and many having to take a hard look at their monthly budgets. Whether or not your state has an official low-income car insurance program, there are things you can do as a low-income driver to come up with a low-cost car insurance policy.

California's Low-Cost Car Insurance Program

State legislatures have talked about bringing out legislation mandating low-cost car insurance programs to benefit low-income drivers. These programs would provide the minimum state required levels of coverage to drive legally to individuals who met requirements for income and driving records. The state of California has taken the lead on such an initiative, passing it into law and creating the California Low-Cost Auto Insurance Program.

California's program provides low-income drivers with basic liability coverage mandated by state law at a regulated rate, allowing them to get their cars on the road legally for a reduced price. The program costs around $300 a year, with the exact cost varying by county, and includes $10,000 per person and $20,000 per accident for bodily injury coverage and $5,000 in property damage liability coverage. These amounts are less than the standard 15/30/5 state minimums, so they give low-income drivers a chance to get their cars out on the road with legal coverage for a greatly reduced price.

To qualify for this program, California drivers must meet age and income requirements, and their cars must be valued at under $20,000. The minimum age to qualify is 19, and the income limits are $36,425 for a family of two people or $55,125 for a family of four [1]. The current program is in place by law until 2011, and an extension was recently voted in by the legislature but vetoed by California Governor Schwarzenegger. Lawmakers are still working on new extension bills to present to the Governor before the current plan expires.

California's low-cost car insurance program is a national example, and some lawmakers in different states across the country are hoping to enact similar legislation in their home states. In the meantime, however, the challenge remains for low-income drivers: how do you come up with the money to pay for your car insurance? Many drivers have been forced to forego insurance altogether, increasing the percentage of uninsured motorists out in the road and costing those who have insurance more money on their uninsured motorist coverage premiums.

What Can Low-Income Drivers Do to Find Solutions for Their Insurance Needs?

Driving with no insurance is a risky solution at best, and surely not a long-term answer to the question of how to afford this expense. In today's economy, more drivers than ever are especially sensitive to the price of their auto coverage, but the biggest burden often falls of low-income drivers, whose financial obligations for car insurance are often higher as a percentage of their overall income. With that in mind, low-income drivers have to be more creative in thinking about their auto insurance coverage, and they have to come up with ways to cut their costs while still keeping their coverage up to date and up to the legal standards of the states in which they are living.

The first and maybe the best way to save money on car insurance for anyone, including low-income drivers, is to shop around for auto insurance coverage. There are many insurance providers, more than most of us probably realize, and just as many chances for ay of us to save money on our coverage. Do not be afraid to shop around and do some price comparisons to see if what you are spending is really in line with average market rates. Especially as renewal time approaches, it is always a good idea to get some competing bids together before you buy coverage.

The best place to start is probably the company you are already with. Find out what they are proposing to charge you for a renewal policy. See if their price includes a customer loyalty or multi-policy discount, if you qualify for one. Ask them about safe driver discounts if you have an excellent driving record free of accidents and citations. In short, start with your current provider and give them the chance to give you their best price before you go anywhere else. This price will become your basis for judging all other prices you gather as you go about your search for low-price car insurance coverage.

Get Online to Find Low-Cost Insurance Coverage

Once you have that renewal quote in hand, take the next step and begin looking around at other possible candidates for your next car insurance provider. As a low-income consumer, you do not have the luxury of remaining with a company for sentimental reasons or out of loyalty. And remember, loyalty is a two-way street. If an insurance company is not providing you the best deal on your car coverage, they are not really being loyal to you. If this is the case, you should have no qualms about moving on.

Getting online to investigate your options for low-cost car insurance is your best bet for finding affordable coverage from a reputable provider. The process is pretty straightforward and should not take a whole lot of time. With that said, of course, it must be pointed out that you ought to allow a little extra time to evaluate the offerings of each company for what they represent in proposed coverage, not just in price. Feel free to use this site to get going on your search and come up with some great local companies to choose from.

When you are looking into your coverage options, you can request quotes based on different levels of coverage and deductibles. If your state does not have an official low-income car insurance program, you can still do a lot to help yourself to a policy you can better afford no matter how much (or how little) money you make. Get quotes for minimal legal coverage if that is all you can afford, and ask about discounts as well. If you qualify, some discounts can knock a substantial percentage off the top of your premium cost. Even without the aid of a state-mandated program set into place by your legislature like the one in California, you can still do a lot to hold down the cost of your car insurance policy as a low-income car insurance customer.

Car insurance for low-income drivers is an often expensive and frustrating obligation that can make driving legally seem impossible to afford. But rather than merely drive illegally or decide not to drive at all, you do have another option. Even if your state has no official program to help low-income drivers get insured, you can find more affordable coverage if you are willing to put the time in. Start working today and get yourself covered.

[1] http://www.modbee.com/1618/story/942727.html?storylink=omni_popular Retrieved 2009-11-29.

 

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