How to Buy Car Insurance in 5 Simple Steps

If you drive a car, you need car insurance — and not just because it’s the law in nearly every state.

Fortunately, these days, getting car insurance is usually a simple process. You can buy car insurance online, over the phone, or even in person — but the easiest way to do so is with a few mouse clicks.

5 Steps to Getting Car Insurance

Knowing how to get car insurance that suits the type of vehicle you have and your driving habits is easier when you know your way around the car insurance market. Here’s our step-by-step guide to buying automobile insurance.

1. Figure Out What Type Of Coverage You Need.

The first step in learning how to get insurance on a car? Understanding what car insurance is in the first place and how much coverage you really need.

There’s a veritable dictionary of different auto insurance terms to understand, but one of the most important distinctions is between liability insurance and full insurance coverage.

•   Liability insurance is coverage that pays out to another driver if you’re found to be at fault in an accident. Liability insurance is further split into property damage and bodily injury coverage, coverage for vehicular damages and medical expenses, respectively.

•   Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is another type of liability insurance that pays out in the event of an accident involving another driver who doesn’t have insurance (or much of it).

•   Full coverage includes liability insurance but also pays out for damage to your own vehicle, even if you’re at fault. This may include collision coverage, which pays out in the event of an accident involving another vehicle, and comprehensive coverage, which pays out in the event of non-collision damages, such as fire, falling objects, or glass damage.

•   You may also be able to purchase medical payments coverage, which can offset the cost of your medical bills in the event of an accident, or personal injury protection insurance, which can help with lost wages and other expenses. These types of coverage kick in regardless of who’s at fault.

Most state laws only require liability insurance. However, this varies, as do the minimum policy limits in each state, so be sure to get familiar with your state laws before you go shopping.

Requirements aside, full coverage might be worth considering. Even in a minor accident, you could face thousands of dollars in repair costs, not to mention random damages like a windshield crack due to a rock kicked up on the highway.

And keep in mind, too, that even full coverage doesn’t mean everything is covered, or coverages are unlimited. How much coverage you decide you want is up to you. It’s worth factoring in the age and value of your vehicle, other coverages you may have that can help, and how high a deductible you could afford to pay out of pocket in the event of an accident. Higher deductibles generally mean lower monthly car premiums — but, of course, you’re on the hook for a larger portion of the expenses if you do need to file a claim.

Recommended: What Does Car Insurance Cover?

Discover real-time vehicle values with Auto Tracker.¹

Now you can instantly monitor vehicle prices in this unprecedented market—to help you make smart money moves.

2. Gather Your Information.

Once you have an idea of the kind of coverage you need, it’s time to get serious about shopping. You’ll need certain information in order to buy an auto insurance policy, so in order to make the transaction go smoothly, it’s a good idea to gather the following ahead of time:

•   The name and birth date of every driver to be put on the policy

•   The driver’s license number and issuing state of every driver to be put on the policy

•   The driving history (both at-fault and not-at-fault accidents) of every driver to be put on the policy

•   The car’s make, model, and vehicle identification number

•   The car’s current mileage

•   The estimated mileage the car is driven each year, as well as its primary purpose (business or leisure)

•   Any car safety features, like car alarms

•   The address the car is kept at most of the time

•   The name and policy number of your current insurance plan, if you have one

Other information may also be required, but gathering the basic details ahead of time should help save you some time.

3. Choose Your Shopping Method.

There are three main ways to purchase car insurance: directly from an insurance company, through a captive agent, or through an independent broker.

•   Buying auto insurance directly (either online or over the phone) from an insurance company means you can do the research yourself. However, getting individual quotes from a variety of different companies can take time.

•   Buying auto insurance through a captive agent means you’re working with a representative from a single insurance company, which can be useful if you want a single point of contact who can help walk you through every step of the process. This might also be a good idea if you have more than one insurance policy through the same company because you may qualify for multi-policy discounts.

•   Buying auto insurance through an independent broker can create a bespoke insurance-buying experience where the broker does the footwork of shopping around for the best deal to suit your needs. However, your premiums may include a broker’s fee.

Each approach has its own drawbacks and benefits, and the best one when deciding how to get auto insurance for you will depend on your preferences.

4. Compare Quotes.

Car insurance is one of those areas of life where you can save a lot of money by shopping around. Of course, getting multiple quotes can be time consuming, but given that car insurance premiums can cost more than $148 per month, it might just be worth your time.

Fortunately, these days, there are some great auto insurance comparison websites and apps that can help you see your potential savings by filling out just a single form. (Be aware that you may start getting phone calls, emails, and letters from insurers eager to acquire your business, however.)

Recommended: Car Insurance Guide for New Drivers and 3 Ways to Save

5. Drive Happy — But Check In Regularly.

We’ve all heard the commercials, but it really is true: You may stand to save money by switching your car insurance to a different carrier, so it’s worth checking in at least once a year to make sure you’re happy with your coverage and its cost.

That said, many carriers also offer loyalty discounts to longtime customers, and if you get a lower offer elsewhere, your insurer may be able to match it. Your car insurance premium may get lower over time if you improve your driving record or your credit history, and you may also be able to score discounts by bundling different types of insurance from the same provider (like renters insurance, homeowners insurance, etc).

Of course, it’s not just monthly costs that are worth considering. You may decide you want more or less coverage over time or as your life situation changes, which is another good reason to check in from time to time. Additionally, if you do decide to switch carriers, make sure you’re purchasing a policy of equivalent coverage — otherwise, you’re not saving money on an equivalent product, you’re just buying something cheaper from elsewhere.

The Takeaway

Knowing how to buy car insurance might not be exciting, but car insurance is an important financial product that could relieve a financial burden in the case of an accident. As you start exploring your options, you’ll want to decide the type and amount of coverage you’ll need based on the age and value of your vehicle, your budget, and other coverage that you may have.

Taking the opportunity to compare car insurance companies before committing to a policy can be a smart move that might save you money on your insurance rate. When you’re ready to shop for auto insurance, SoFi can help. Our online auto insurance comparison tool lets you see quotes from a network of top insurance providers within minutes, saving you time and hassle.

Compare quotes from top car insurance carriers.

Photo credit: iStock/LumiNola

¹SoFi Relay offers users the ability to connect both SoFi accounts and external accounts using Plaid, Inc’s service. Vehicle Identification Number is confirmed by LexisNexis and car values are provided by J.D. Power. Auto Tracker is provided on an “as-is, as-available” basis with all faults and defects, with no warranty, express or implied. The values shown on this page are a rough estimate based on your car’s year, make, and model, but don’t take into account things such as your mileage, accident history, or car condition.

Insurance not available in all states.
Gabi is a registered service mark of Gabi Personal Insurance Agency, Inc.
SoFi is compensated by Gabi for each customer who completes an application through the SoFi-Gabi partnership.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.


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How Much Does Insurance Go Up After an Accident?

How Much Does Insurance Go Up After an Accident?

Those moments right after a car accident deliver some of the worst stress imaginable. You’re figuring out if anyone is hurt and how bad your car’s been damaged. And before too long you’re asking yourself this stomach-churning question: “How much will my insurance go up after an accident?”

There are many factors at play, including who was at fault, how serious the injuries and damage, your driving record, what state you live in, and the policies of your chosen insurance company.

Understanding these factors and digging into the forces controlling car insurance rates can help you pursue the best options possible.

Why Do Rates Go Up After an Accident?

Auto insurance is a highly competitive business, and that competition plays a role in keeping rates low. But it also means that when an accident happens, there can be quite a jump in what you pay for coverage.

When you’ve had a car accident and you are at fault, your insurer now assumes you drive in a way that could cause an accident. That may sound unfair, but that’s part of how car insurance works. They are assuming a higher risk, and that is passed on to you in the form of a higher rate.

If you are found not at fault in the accident, your insurance rate may go up by a small percentage. California and Oklahoma are two states, however, that mandate insurance companies cannot raise insurance rates after an accident where the driver was not at fault.

This is yet another reason why it’s important to go over policies carefully when making your choice. It’s smart to compare the rates among top insurers and even look at how much insurance increases after an accident with various insurers.

There is one bright spot in the insurance landscape when dealing with an accident. If your insurer offers and you elect to pay for accident forgiveness, your insurance rate will not go up after your first at-fault accident. Driving record and driving experience requirements must be met before this benefit is available.

Recommended: Auto Insurance Terms, Explained

Average Rate Increases by State

After an at-fault accident, yes, your car insurance is likely to go up. Rates can increase by about 50% a year on average after an accident, according to 2023 WalletHub research. But as the Forbes Advisor analysis below shows, just how much your rate jumps can depend on the state in which you’re insured and whether the accident caused injuries and/or property damage.

Average Car Insurance Rate Increase After an At-Fault Accident

State Average Rate Increase (%) After At-Fault Accident With Property Damage Average Rate Increase (%) After At-Fault Accident With Injuries
Alabama 44 43
Alaska 46 53
Arizona 47 48
Arkansas 47 48
California 72 97
Colorado 35 33
Connecticut 51 52
Delaware 34 34
Florida 38 39
Georgia 47 47
Hawaii 37 37
Idaho 37 37
Illinois 49 49
Indiana 48 48
Iowa 45 47
Kansas 41 41
Kentucky 53 53
Louisiana 48 48
Maine 40 41
Maryland 52 52
Massachusetts 67 67
Michigan 45 45
Minnesota 41 42
Mississippi 46 47
Missouri 36 37
Montana 41 41
Nebraska 48 48
Nevada 43 44
New Hampshire 55 55
New Jersey 42 43
New Mexico 37 37
New York 40 40
North Carolina 79 90
North Dakota 39 39
Ohio 45 45
Oklahoma 44 44
Oregon 42 43
Pennsylvania 47 51
Rhode Island 55 45
South Carolina 39 39
South Dakota 42 42
Tennessee 44 45
Texas 54 54
Utah 44 44
Vermont 47 47
Virginia 45 45
Washington 36 37
West Virginia 41 41
Wisconsin 50 50
Wyoming 31 31

Source: Forbes Advisor

How Do I Keep My Rates Low After an Accident?

If you’ve had a car accident, there are some things you may be able to do to keep your car insurance rates from rising.

First, explore discounts that you may have overlooked. Check with your insurer to make sure you’re receiving discounts you’re eligible for.

•   If you haven’t already signed up for paperless billing, now might be a good time to take advantage of the discount you may receive with this option.

•   The number of miles you drive annually is one factor that goes into calculating your insurance rate. Check with your insurer to make sure your rate correctly reflects your annual mileage.

•   Consider a usage-based insurance that tracks different elements of your driving habits and sets your rate accordingly. Better driving habits equate to lower rates.

•   Ask about multi-policy discounts if you have all your policies with one insurer.

•   Check into military and government employee discounts.

Another tactic that might be worth pursuing if you’ve had an accident but are looking for ways to decrease your car insurance rate is to increase your deductible. The higher your deductible, the lower your premium.

Look into how much insurance you’re carrying on the car. It’s worth your time to determine how much coverage you need. If your car is worth less than the deductible plus your annual total for car insurance, it could be time to rethink your coverage.

And another thing to scrutinize is what kind of car you drive. Some cars are cheaper to insure than others.

When Does Car Insurance Go Down After an Accident?

Generally speaking, it takes three to five years for car insurance to go down following most at-fault accidents. The insurers are going by the statistical wisdom that if you’re in one accident, the chances are higher that you will be in another. Some insurers also take into account the seriousness of the accident and whether impaired driving was a factor in the accident.

One tactic people employ to lower their rates is to shop around for a new insurer. While the record of the accident and claim will be visible to a second insurer, you may still be able to get better deals.

Your insurance rates will also be affected by your credit. Merely being involved in an accident will not damage your credit, but an improvement in your credit score can be used as leverage in getting a lower premium.

Don’t rule out getting a brushup on your driving to improve those skills. Some insurance companies will discount your rates if you complete a defensive driving or driver education course.

Recommended: Cost of Car Insurance for Young Drivers

The Takeaway

The question of how much does car insurance go up after an accident has an answer that can seem hard to figure out. Rates can go up by about 50% a year on average after an accident. But that figure may fluctuate depending on a variety of factors including who was at fault, the seriousness of the accident, your driving record, and to a surprising degree, the state in which you live.

Taking the opportunity to compare car insurance companies before committing to a policy can be a smart move that might save you money on your insurance rate. When you’re ready to shop for auto insurance, SoFi can help. Our online auto insurance comparison tool lets you see quotes from a network of top insurance providers within minutes, saving you time and hassle.

Compare quotes from top car insurance carriers.

Photo credit: iStock/simpson33

Insurance not available in all states.
Gabi is a registered service mark of Gabi Personal Insurance Agency, Inc.
SoFi is compensated by Gabi for each customer who completes an application through the SoFi-Gabi partnership.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.


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Is Homeowners Insurance Required to Buy a Home?

When you buy a home, you’re likely paying more than just the down payment and closing costs. You’ill probably also need to purchase homeowner’s insurance. While this coverage is not mandated by law, many mortgage lenders require it before they agree to finance the purchase of your home.

Here’s what first-time homebuyers need to know before shopping for homeowners insurance.

What Does Homeowners Insurance Cover?

Homeowners insurance coverage provides protection for both a home and its contents against damage, theft, and up to 16 named perils, including fire, hail, windstorms, smoke, vandalism, and theft. It also typically includes personal liability coverage for accidents that may happen on the property (think of people slipping and falling down your stairs, or your dog biting a neighbor on the property).

On the flip side, basic homeowners insurance likely won’t cover damage from disasters such as floods and earthquakes, and even war (seriously). Homebuyers who live in an area prone to certain events or natural disasters may want to consider supplemental coverage. In some cases, their lender may even require it.

It’s a good idea to learn what’s generally covered by each homeowners insurance policy type — and what isn’t — to ensure you have the right protection in place.

When You Need to Buy Homeowners Insurance

If buyers plan to get a mortgage to purchase their home, their lender will likely require they obtain homeowners insurance coverage before signing off at closing.

In reality, this is a sound business tactic, as the lender will want to protect its investment, which is the property, not the person it’s lending to (harsh, we know). Let’s say the home is damaged in a windstorm or burns to the ground. Insurance will cover the cost, after a deductible, without burdening the homeowner. The homeowner can then continue to pay their mortgage on time, much to the delight of the lender.

Again, if you live in an area prone to certain disasters like floods or earthquakes, your lender may require additional coverage. Check with your lender on what’s necessary before signing.

If a person’s first home happens to be a condo or co-op, the board may also require specific coverage, thanks to a shared responsibility for the entire complex.

Recommended: House or Condo: Which Is Right For You? Take the Quiz

Can You Forgo Homeowners Insurance?

Technically, there are no laws requiring a person to obtain homeowners insurance, but it’s a rule put in place by many lenders.

If you’re paying cash for a new home, you can forgo purchasing homeowners insurance, though that may be a risky proposition.

Think you can somehow snake the system? Think again. If a lender doesn’t feel that the homebuyer is working hard or fast enough to find homeowners insurance before closing, the lender may go ahead and purchase insurance in that person’s name with what’s called “lender-placed insurance.”

This isn’t as cool as it sounds. Not only will it increase the mortgage payment, lender-placed insurance is typically more expensive than traditional homeowners insurance. And it may not even provide all the protection a homeowner needs or wants.

To give yourself enough time to find the right policy for you, aim to start shopping around a good 30 days before closing.

How Much Coverage a Person Needs

How much homeowners insurance a new homeowner needs will depend on the value of their home and the possessions in it. As a first step, would-be homeowners can ask their agent for a recommended amount of coverage.

After determining that number, it’s also a good idea to take stock of belongings and see if any items may require additional coverage (think expensive antiques, paintings, or other irreplaceable items). It could also be smart to photograph and digitally catalog major items in a home for proof needed on any claims.

Replacement Cost vs. Actual Cash Value

When shopping for homeowners insurance, there’s replacement cost coverage and actual cash value coverage.

Replacement cost coverage pays the amount needed to replace items with the same or similar item, while actual cash value coverage only covers the current, depreciated value of a home or possessions.

This means that if you have actual cash value coverage and disaster hits, you’ll only be able to get enough cash for the depreciated value of the home and items, not the cost of what it may take to replace them.

Most standard homeowners insurance policies cover the replacement cost of a physical home and the actual cash value of the insured’s personal property, but some policies and endorsements also cover the replacement cost of personal property.

The upshot: It’s best to go for replacement cost coverage whenever possible.

Recommended: How Much Is Homeowners Insurance?

The Takeaway

Is homeowners insurance required to buy a home? If you’re taking out a mortgage, that’s almost always a “yes.” It’s worth looking at your options — and understanding what will and will not be covered — so you can feel at ease in your new home for years to come.

Of course, shopping for homeowners insurance often requires considering several options, from the amount of coverage to the kind of policy to the cost of the premium. To help simplify the process, SoFi has partnered with Experian to bring customizable and affordable homeowners insurance to our members.

Experian allows you to match your current coverage to new policy offers with little to no data entry. And you can easily bundle your home and auto insurance to save money. All with no fees and no paperwork.

Check out homeowners insurance options offered through SoFi Protect.

Insurance not available in all states.
Experian is a registered service mark of Experian Personal Insurance Agency, Inc.
Social Finance, Inc. ("SoFi") is compensated by Experian for each customer who purchases a policy through Experian from the site.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.


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What Does Liability Auto Insurance Typically Cover?

What Does Liability Auto Insurance Typically Cover?

Most states require licensed drivers to carry auto liability insurance — and for good reason. Liability coverage helps pay for the damages to other people involved in a car accident if it’s determined you were responsible.

State law may leave it up to the individual to decide if they want to carry the kind of insurance that will help pay to repair their own wrecked car or injured body. But in most cases, drivers won’t have an option when it comes to liability coverage.

Since your automobile could cause physical or material harm to others, you’ll generally be expected to carry enough insurance to cover those potential costs or, in some states, provide proof of financial responsibility.

What Is Liability Car Insurance?

If you’re found at fault — or “liable” — for an accident, liability insurance helps pay the other driver’s expenses.

There are several other types of car insurance coverage available to drivers, so it’s easy to get them confused. Collision coverage, for example, pays to repair damage to your own car after an accident. And comprehensive coverage helps pay for damage to your car that’s caused by other factors, such as hail, a fire, or theft.

Auto liability insurance is all about the other guy. It’s not there to cover your costs or the costs of anyone who was riding in your car when the accident occurred.

Recommended: How Much Auto Insurance Do I Really Need?

What Costs Does Liability Insurance Cover?

In general, there are two types of liability insurance offered on most standard policies:

Bodily Injury

This type of liability coverage protects the at-fault driver by paying for the other person’s emergency and continuing medical expenses related to the accident. It also might cover loss of income or funeral costs, or legal fees if there’s a lawsuit.

Property Damage

Property damage liability coverage helps pay for repairs to the other person’s car or other property (their home, a business, a fence, a bicycle, etc.) when the policyholder causes an accident.

Are There Limits on What an Insurer Will Pay?

Yes. The amount an insurer will pay for a claim depends on the coverage limits a policyholder chooses. Note that the amount of coverage you’re required to carry varies from state to state, and you might choose to purchase a higher level of coverage than your state mandates.

Coverage caps are usually broken down into three categories:

Bodily Injury Liability Limit Per Person

This is the maximum amount an insurer will pay out for each individual who is injured in a car accident (other than the at-fault driver who is the policyholder).

Bodily Injury Liability Limit Per Accident

This is the maximum amount an insurer will pay overall for medical expenses if multiple people are hurt in an accident. Again, it does not include medical costs for the at-fault policyholder.

Property Damage Liability Limit

This is the maximum amount an insurer will pay to repair any damage a policyholder caused to another person’s property. Any amount over that limit will likely be the responsibility of the policyholder.

How Much Liability Insurance Should a Driver Have?

You cannot buy less than the minimum amount of liability insurance your state legally requires. But some states require significantly less coverage than others.

For example, the minimum liability insurance requirements in California are $15,000 for injury/death to one person, $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person, and $5,000 for damage to property.

But the minimum requirements in Maine are more than twice those amounts: $50,000 per person for bodily injury, $100,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $25,000 for property damage. (A combined single limit of $125,000 will also satisfy the minimum limit requirement in Maine.)

General recommendations from the insurance industry suggest consumers purchase at least $100,000 of bodily injury liability per person and $300,000 per accident.

Keep in mind that when you’re shopping, you may not be able to choose standalone limits for each category of liability coverage. Most insurers set their coverage limits as part of a package, and you may have to make your purchase from those pre-established plans.

For example, a 25/50/10 policy would set the bodily injury limit per person at $25,000, the bodily injury limit per accident at $50,000, and the property damage limit at $10,000. Any costs that exceed those set amounts would be the responsibility of the policyholder.

Some people also consider purchasing an “umbrella” policy that would cover any excess costs if liability limits are exhausted. This type of policy can help protect you from large liability claims or judgments if you’re sued. And your umbrella policy may cover you as well as other members of your family or household.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average cost of a claim after a private passenger car accident in 2020 was $20,235 for bodily injury and $4,711 in property damage. But a claim could go much higher, if there are multiple victims, for example, or if there are serious injuries or someone is killed.

Recommended: What Is the Average Monthly Cost of Car Insurance by Age in the U.S.?

What’s the Difference Between Full Coverage and Liability Only?

An auto insurance policy that includes liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage is sometimes called “full coverage,” because it covers both your costs and the costs of others involved in an accident.

Most states require liability coverage. But if your car is paid off, your state may not require collision (which helps to repair or replace a car that’s damaged in an accident) or comprehensive (which pays if the car is stolen or damaged by fire, vandalism or some other non-collision scenario).

And if your car isn’t worth much, you might decide to forgo one or both when purchasing car insurance. If your car is financed, however, the lender could require full coverage even if the state doesn’t.

Some states also may require other types of coverage:

•   Uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist coverage can help cover your medical expenses if you’re in an accident with a driver who has little or no insurance.
•   Uninsured motorist property damage coverage can help repair damage to your car if you are hit by an uninsured motorist.
•   Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and/or Medical Payments (MedPay) can offer protection if you or your passengers are hurt or killed in an accident.

Do You Need Liability Coverage If You Live in a No-Fault State?

A dozen states have instituted “no-fault” laws for drivers. Coverage rules and limits may vary from state to state, so you should be clear on the specifics of what your state requires.

Generally, when you live in a no-fault state and you’re in a car accident, everyone involved files a bodily injury claim with their own insurance company, regardless of who was at fault. Still, every no-fault state requires some level of liability coverage.

Drivers in no-fault states also typically must have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance included in their car insurance policy to cover their own potential medical bills and expenses. PIP plans cover medical expenses for the car’s driver and passengers, which can include hospital bills, medication, rehabilitation, and other injury-related costs.

PIP insurance doesn’t replace bodily liability coverage in every state, and it doesn’t cover property damages. Your insurance company pays for repairs to your car if you have collision coverage. Or you may have to make a property damage claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance.

What If You Have an Accident in Another State?

Ready for a road trip? If you have an accident, your liability insurance may increase to match the minimum limits in whatever state you’re in, and in Canada. But you may want to check with your insurance company if you like to travel, especially if you have a bare-bones policy.

What’s Covered If Someone Else Is Driving Your Car?

The short answer is that the auto insurance covering the vehicle, not the person driving, is usually considered the primary insurance. So if you let someone else drive your car and that person causes an accident, your insurance company probably would be responsible for paying the claim.

Your liability coverage wouldn’t pay the medical bills of the person driving your car or the repairs to your car, although those costs may be covered by other parts of your policy. But it likely would be your liability insurance that pays for the driver of the other car’s medical bills and property damage.

Again, state laws may affect who is responsible in this situation, so it can help to know the rules before letting someone else drive your car.

How Much Does Liability Coverage Cost?

The price you’ll pay for liability coverage could be based on several factors, including how much you buy and where you live. Your age may also play a factor — younger drivers may pay more for coverage, for instance. You can do a little online shopping to search the best rates for your area.

But a better question might be “How much will it cost to bump up my liability insurance beyond the state-mandated minimums?” Getting twice as much coverage won’t necessarily cost twice as much. If the price fits your budget, you may want to consider carrying more coverage than the law requires.

Upping coverage might increase your comfort level, considering the expenses that might be involved in a major accident, even if you have insurance. The extra coverage may cost more, but if you’re a safe driver you may qualify for better rates. You can research car insurance online and compare quotes to find one that fits your budget.

The extra coverage may cost more, but if you’re a safe driver you may qualify for better rates.

The Takeaway

If you’re held responsible for a car accident, liability insurance will help pay the expenses of the others involved. Most states mandate this coverage, including “no-fault” states. But the amount of coverage you must carry may vary from state to state, so when you’re researching automobile insurance, it can be useful to know your state’s rules.

Shopping around for insurance in your area can help you figure out how much coverage you really need and what your premium might be. SoFi’s online auto insurance comparison tool lets you see quotes from a network of insurance providers within minutes, saving you time and hassle.

Compare quotes from top car insurance carriers.

Insurance not available in all states.
Gabi is a registered service mark of Gabi Personal Insurance Agency, Inc.
SoFi is compensated by Gabi for each customer who completes an application through the SoFi-Gabi partnership.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.


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Are Your Benefits Helping Women — Especially Moms — Achieve Financial Wellness?

Despite progress, women, especially mothers, are still fighting hard to achieve equality in the workforce. According to a 2022 Financial Health Network study, 70% of women with children under the age of 18 say they have made significant career changes due to parenting responsibilities, compared to just 55% of men. Those changes include reducing hours, taking a leave of absence, switching to a less demanding job, and quitting a job.

This career instability can have a significant impact on women’s short-term financial wellness, as well as their long-term net worth and future security. At the same time, women leaving the workforce because of work/life balance issues has been a contributing factor in the persistent labor shortage.

One way employers can help women regain ground —- and help solve hiring and retention issues — is to tailor benefits to better fit their needs, priorities, and concerns. Companies that offer benefits packages that help address the gender gaps in financial wellness not only help women stay and advance in the workplace, but also promote a more equitable and productive workforce.

The Great “She-Cession”

Women were struggling with work/life balance and workplace inequities well before the COVID-19 pandemic. But the crisis brought these issues into stark relief. According to a report by the National Women’s Law Center, more than 2.3 million women left work during the 12 months ending in February 2021 compared with 1.8 million men.

Indeed, the pandemic-generated recession was quickly dubbed a “she-cession,” as more women than men left or lost their jobs compared to previous recessions.

Why were women so disproportionately affected? One reason is that many women work in hospitality, education, healthcare, retail, and other industries that were severely impacted by the pandemic. Another is that, as schools shut down, women were often the ones who pulled back from working in order to focus on the care and “Zoom schooling” of their children.

While many women have since returned to the workforce, the recovery has been uneven. Issues like resume gaps, the fact that women typically earn less than men, coupled with the persistent lack of affordable childcare continue to take a toll on the financial well-being of female workers.

What Employers Can Do

HR pros have been working on evening gender disparity for decades, and much progress has been made. But the pandemic shed new light on the stubborn underlying inequities that continue to burden employers and female employees alike.

Employers may find that making adjustments and additions to their benefits packages can help promote more gender equity at work while also allowing them to attract and retain top female talent. Here are some strategies you may want to consider.

Recommended: Measuring the Financial Well-Being of Your Workforce

Rethink Maternity Leave

paid parental leave your firm can offer, generally the better. Some companies are expanding leave for birthing parents beyond 12 weeks, offering as much as 26 weeks. Others are providing additional weeks of paid leave to parents of newborns who spend time in the neonatal intensive care unit.

A generous paid parental leave program not only helps attract female workers but also increases the likelihood that your existing women employees will return to their jobs after having or adopting a child, as opposed to dropping out of the workforce —- and leaving you with a new opening to fill.

Another question to consider is whether your parental leave policies apply to all types of families and parents, such as non-birth mothers, foster parents, and parents who use surrogates. Parental benefits provide an opportunity for building your inclusive benefits strategy.

Create Real Opportunities for Advancement

For every 100 entry-level men promoted to management, only 87 women are promoted, according to McKinsey & Company’s Women in the Workforce 2022 report. With little room for advancement and undervalued work, many women are leaving their employers for better opportunities elsewhere.

One way to counter this trend is to offer female employees a path to advancement through education and up-skilling/re-skilling opportunities. You might do this by offering tuition assistance programs and/or access to free (or discounted) training and certification programs. This can help female employees get ahead in their careers, earn more and, in turn, achieve greater financial stability. It can also propel women into the roles of the future where they are currently underrepresented, like data science, software development, and engineering.

Other initiatives that can improve female career mobility include: formal mentorships, sponsorships, women’s employee resource groups (ERGs), leadership circles, and career coaching workshops. If your company offers these programs, you’ll want to make sure women employees know about and have easy access to them.

Address the Childcare Crisis

When child-care centers shut down during the pandemic, nearly one-third of workers left the industry. Despite the post-pandemic reopening of offices, schools, and other businesses, employment in the childcare sector has not fully bounced back. That translates into many parents, especially moms at lower income levels, staying out of or exiting the workforce simply because they cannot find affordable childcare.

Employers can help fill the gap in several ways. On-site childcare is the most accommodating benefit. But on-site care is a big investment of infrastructure and resources that realistically only a small group of major employers can provide.

One alternative is to offer some type of emergency or backup child care support. Some companies do this by partnering with local daycare facilities and providing access to free or discounted childcare when a regular provider falls through. Other firms are offering employees stipends for online services, such as and, that provide access to sitters at short notice.

Being open to and evaluating childcare support as you encourage your employees to come back to the office can be just the prompt reluctant employees need to embrace reentry.

Consider Returnships

Many employers are dealing with labor shortages. At the same time, there is a large pool of untapped talent among women who have fully or partially left the workforce. Many of those women want to return to work but find the gaps in their resumes and lack of current skills are holding them back.

To address both problems at once, some companies are offering “returnships.” Pioneered by finance leaders Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, these are internship programs that give returning caregivers the opportunity to brush up their skills or learn new ones. Returnships typically run for a few months, offering training, experience, and networking opportunities to workers – often mothers – who’ve been out of the workforce for an extended period of time.

Returnship programs not only give women who dropped out of the workforce a viable onramp, they also give employers a way to vet talent before making an official hire.


Address Student Debt

Student loan debt impacts nearly 43 million Americans and a disproportionate number are female. According to, women hold nearly 60% of all outstanding student debt and, despite making higher payments than men, take an average of two years longer to pay off their student loans. Female borrowers are also more likely than their male peers to have student loan debt from graduate school.

Student debt can have a negative impact on any employee’s financial (and overall) well-being. And right now, borrowers are feeling particularly uneasy, thanks to unknowns surrounding the return to repayment for federal loans and potential loan forgiveness. What is certain, though, is that student loan repayment benefits continue to grow in popularity and effectiveness. And, they may be particularly beneficial to female employees.

HR leaders will also want to keep in mind that employers can offer up to $5,250 in tax-exempt student loan repayment benefits through 2025, thanks to the CAREs Act of 2020. What’s more, the recent passage of the SECURE Act 2.0 allows companies to provide employees with a match on their retirement plans for making student loan payments starting in 2024. This can be a stand-alone offering, or part of a broader employee benefits program.

Offer Flexible, Women-Friendly Financial Wellness Benefits

Only one in five working-aged women are considered financially healthy versus nearly one in three working-aged men, according to the Financial Health Network’s 2022 report. The study also showed that women lag behind men in emergency and retirement savings. Only 42% of working-age women said they were confident they will have enough money to live off of in retirement, versus more than half of working-age men (53%).

High levels of debt, trouble making ends meet, worries about saving enough for the future (particularly with gaps in employment), all add a disproportionate amount of stress on women. Financial stress can impact every aspect of women’s lives, including productivity and happiness at work.

HR pros can make a huge impact on women employees by offering personalized, adaptive wellness benefits, such as debt management, emergency savings, tuition savings, retirement planning programs, and financial education. These benefits can help female employees plan and save for the future, feel less stressed about their finances, increase their focus and productivity on the job, and, importantly, change their financial lives for the better.

Recommended: The Future of Financial Well-Being in the Workplace

The Takeaway

Women are a vital part of any employer’s workforce. Benefits packages designed to address women’s specific needs can help employers attract and retain talented female employees. They can also help guarantee women, especially moms, have access to an equal playing field and a secure financial future.

SoFi at Work offers employers the benefits platform, education resources, and financial counseling that can help you assemble packages that help you increase employee productivity, loyalty, and overall well-being.

Photo credit: iStock/jacoblund

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