Vehicle Preparedness

Vehicle Preparedness

Use the index below to go directly to a particular section on this page:


Buying a New Car

10 Insurance-Smart Things to do When Buying a New Car

  • In addition to sale or lease price, be sure to factor insurance premiums as you estimate your monthly car payment. Rates vary, so shop around to make sure you’re getting the best price. This is also a good time to check your credit history, as insurance companies may use that when determining your premiums.
  • Before deciding on your dream car, compare insurance rates. SUVs, convertibles and performance vehicles typically cost more to insure.
  • If reliable transportation for a new driver is all you need, consider buying used. Used cars can be more affordable, and if a car’s replacement cost is greater than a typical major repair, it may make sense to only purchase liability coverage, or if required, no fault (PIP) coverage.
  • Consider safety features, such as anti-lock brakes, side air bags, automatic seat belts, anti-theft devices and GPS as you negotiate your auto purchase or lease price. Safety-related add-ons can mean lower insurance premiums.
  • If you or your spouse/partner already have auto insurance, consider adding your new car to an existing policy to take advantage of multi-car discounts. If you own a home, you also may qualify for a multi-policy discount.
  • To avoid accidents due to mechanical failure and keep insurance rates low, schedule regular vehicle maintenance. Check your owner’s manual or visit the manufacturer’s website for a recommended schedule to check windshield wiper fluid, oil and tire pressure.
  • Pay attention to where you park. If you store your car in a garage or locked parking lot, you may qualify for lower premiums.
  • For minor fender benders, think twice before filing a claim. The number of claims you file can impact your insurance costs.
  • Download the free WreckCheck mobile app from NAIC. This useful tool outlines what to do immediately following an accident and walks you through a step-by-step process to create your own accident report.
  • Check to see if your insurer offers reduced rates for agreeing to use a telematic device.

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Accidents

In Case of an Auto Accident

Call your agent or insurance company about the accident while details are still fresh in your mind.

When you call:

  • Have available the police report, your insurance card and declarations page and any accident information collected at the scene.
  • Understand whose coverage pays for which damages.
  • If it was a multi-car accident, the insurance companies involved may investigate the circumstances of the crash. A claims adjuster will likely want to examine the damage to the care and talk with you about the accident. Your insurance company will use the adjuster’s findings as the basis of their settlement.
  • If it was a minor accident and the car is still drivable, the company may offer you several auto repair shops to choose from that can also act as the adjuster for the claim. However, you are not obligated to use their shops.
  • No matter how you decide to get your car fixed, keep notes of all conversations you have with various company representatives. Also keep all written material regarding the claim.
  • Don’t feel rushed or pushed to agree with something you aren’t comfortable with; your insurer doesn’t have the last word. Ask questions and ask the adjuster to provide a written explanation of his decisions.

To take the stress out of filing a claim after an accident, the NAIC created WRECKCHECK, a free smartphone app that walks you through the process of gathering information following an accident. You can then email the report directly to your insurance agent. WRECKCHECK is available on iOS and Android devices. There is also a PDF version available for download.

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Teen Drivers

Insuring a teen driver is often an additional cost for many parents. Many companies consider drivers under the age of 25 a higher risk, and this often translates into higher premiums.

Teen Driver Facts - According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, one-third of deaths of people ages 16 to 20 are due to motor-vehicle accidents. That’s more than 5,000 teens a year. Faced with those statistics, it’s important to view teen driving as a privilege, not a right.

Lay the Ground Rules - Insuring a teen driver will result in additional costs for you, no matter which insurance policy you choose. However, how well your teen respects the privilege of driving is a factor you can control.

Lay some ground rules for safe driving before your teen ever gets in the driver’s seat. Set up driving rules, including:

  • Hours during which the teen can and cannot drive
  • Number of friends allowed in the car at one time
  • Number of miles teen is allowed to drive per day or week

You may also want to consider setting up a driving contract with your teen. The contract should clearly list the teen’s duties and responsibilities when driving and caring for the vehicle and should be signed by both of you.

Purchase A Vehicle or Add a Driver?

  • You may not want to purchase a car specifically for your teenager, but adding another driver to your policy can be costly. For example, if you drive a newer, expensive sports car, adding a teen driver may considerably raise your premiums.
  • A modestly priced economy car with liability coverage may be more appropriate for your teen. Make sure you discuss options with your insurance agent.

Give Complete, Correct Information

  • When you call for a quote or fill out an application, give complete and correct information, such as make, model and year of the car the teen will be driving.
  • Since your premium quote will be based on this information, it is very important that your information be as accurate and complete as possible.

Shop Around

It pays to shop around before buying insurance. Different companies can offer noticeably different premiums. For example, if your child is an honor roll student, passed a driver’s education course or has a job, some companies may offer a reduced premium. Some discounts include:

  • Two or more cars on a policy
  • Participation in driver education courses
  • Good student driver under age 25
  • Airbags or other safety equipment
  • Anti-theft devices
  • Auto/home insurance on same policy or with same company

Consider Revising Coverage, Deductibles

  • You may reduce your auto insurance costs by raising the deductibles on physical damage (collision and comprehensive) coverages.
  • Be sure to review your current deductibles to determine whether you can afford to absorb a larger portion of your loss in the event of an accident.
  • Also, consider lowering or eliminating physical damage coverages on older vehicles - unless a lienholder, such as a bank, requires it.

Regularly Review Your Policy; Update Accordingly

Regularly review your policy to make sure the basis for your premium is as accurate as possible. Here are some things that can affect your premium:

  • Adding or removing a vehicle from your policy
  • Teen graduates from high school or reaches the age 18

Get More Information

For more information, contact MID CONSUMER SERVICES - 1-800-562-2957


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Avoiding Deer

During deer season, which generally runs from October through December, there is a dramatic increase in the movement of the deer population. Many of these deer find their way onto highways and into suburban neighborhoods. As a result, more deer-vehicle collisions occur in this period than at any other time of year, so drivers need to be especially cautious.

Tips Helpful in Avoiding Deer-related Collisions:

  • Deer aren't just found on rural roads near wooded areas, many deer crashes occur on busy highways near cities.
  • Deer are unpredictable, especially when faced with glaring headlights, blowing horns and fast-moving vehicles. They often dart into traffic.
  • Deer often move in groups. If you see one, there are likely more in the vicinity.

When Driving, take the Following Precautions:

  • Drive with caution when moving through deer-crossing zones, in areas known to have a large deer population and in areas where roads divide agricultural fields from forestland.
  • Always wear your seat belt and stay awake, alert and sober.
  • When driving at night, use high beam headlights when there is no oncoming traffic. The high beams will better illuminate the eyes of deer on or near the roadway.
  • Be especially attentive from sunset to midnight and during the hours shortly before and after sunrise. These are the highest risk times for deer-vehicle collisions.
  • Brake firmly when you notice a deer in or near your path, but stay in your lane. Many serious crashes occur when drivers swerve to avoid a deer and hit another vehicle or lose control of their cars.
  • Do not rely on devices such as deer whistles, deer fences and reflectors to deter deer. These devices have not proven effective.

In the event your vehicle strikes a deer, try to avoid going near or touching the animal. A frightened and wounded deer can hurt you or further injure itself, warned the I.I.I. If the deer is blocking the roadway and poses a danger to other motorists, you should call the police immediately.

Contact your insurance agent or company representative as quickly as possible to report any damage to your car. Collision with a deer or other animals is covered under the comprehensive portion of your automobile policy.


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Getting Assistance From The Mississippi Insurance Department (MID)

If we can be of assistance, please see the Request Assistance Page for information on how to contact us.


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