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When you’re shopping around for car insurance, there are probably two things that are top-of-mind: what kind of car insurance do I need, and how much will it cost? While finding cheap car insurance is important, it’s equally important to make sure you have the necessary coverage that will keep you prepared for whatever comes your way.

Let’s check out the differences between what is required, and what costs you can really afford to cut when it comes to staying covered.

What You Really Need: State-Required Car Insurance

Technically, the only car insurance coverage you need in order to stay legal is the insurance required by your state. Each state specifies a minimum level of coverage you need to have. Having this minimum is the state’s way of making sure everyone on the road is protected from damage, loss, and liability. (For example, many states require drivers to have both Bodily Injury Liability coverage and Property Damage Liability coverage.) Your state’s DMV website or local office should be able to tell you what that minimum level is. (For the minimums of states that Direct Auto covers, find your state on the map.)

What About Other Types of Insurance?

When it comes to getting more than just your state-required car insurance, you have significantly more options. Additional insurance types cover a variety of different scenarios, designed to help the driver cover high accident costs, get back on the road quickly, or even obtain long-term medical treatment, if needed, after an auto accident.

Other types of insurance could help if:

The takeaway? Being prepared ahead of time by having the right insurance coverage is actually one of the best ways to cut costs on car-related expenses overall. Making a knowledgeable decision about the coverage you need before an accident can do a lot of good later on down the road.

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