Car Insurance Shopping 101 How to Compare and Save
Car insurance shopping is no small feat. It requires understanding the coverage levels, terms, conditions, and company options. Thankfully, theres no need to go it alone. Heres a guide to car insurance shopping 101 that will make the process easier and help you save money.
Start by identifying what type of coverage you need, what your needs are, and what your budget for payment is. Its important to understand the different components of your policy before committing to a monthly premium. Knowing your coverage limits, how much the deductible is, and what endorsements you need can save you money and take some stress out of the process.
Once you know what sort of coverage you need, start looking into different insurance companies. Online resources are a great way to shop around and compare rates. Dont forget that customer service is important too, and having a company you can trust who is knowledgeable and helpful will be invaluable.
Now that you have identified what coverage you need and what companies you want to use, its time to compare policies by actively shopping around. Request quotes from multiple companies to compare and contrast the rates and terms. Pay attention to the fine print, and see what kind of discounts are available to you.
When you have narrowed down your choices, consult your financial needs. Are the costs feasible in accordance with your budget? Check to see how much youll pay annually and look at the types of payments they offer. Seeing the total cost across the entire year based on payment type can tie into your overall financial organization.
Finally, it doesnt hurt to check higher-end policies and see if the cost of those extra features are worth it. Look into insurance add-ons like roadside assistance, special coverage for rental cars and travel, and extra liability protection. Making sure youre fully informed on the necessary vs. optional coverage and the true cost will help you make an educated decision.
Now youre ready to purchase car insurance! Read the policy agreement carefully to ensure theres nothing misleading and you understand all the coverage details. When youre satisfied and ready to buy, pay your premium in full if at all possible. Paying in full can save up to 20% of your cost, and if theres a cancellation fee youll save money in the long-run.
And dont forget to update your policy as your car and life change. If you come across a new discount or find a better rate elsewhere, dont hesitate to be proactive and look for offers.
Periodic reviews are important when it comes to car insurance. It’s good practice to periodically review the coverage you have to make sure you’re taking full advantage of the discounts you qualify for, and that the levels of coverage still reflect your needs. This can help ensure you’re only paying for what you absolutely need and getting the best value for your premium.
Let Technology Help You:
Those insurance companies that are savvy enough to use technology to their advantage can give you a strategic advantage. For example, tracking your driving behaviour and habits is a great way to save money – if you’re a safe driver, you’ll get discounts based on that.
Use Multiple Deductibles:
Many car owners can save money by using multiple deductibles. This means increasing your deductible for each part of the policy you have – for example, raising the collision and comprehensive deductibles. Just make sure you weigh the savings by having a higher deductible against the cost of having an accident that exceeds that higher deductible amount.
Check Your State’s Insurance Requirements:
Part of shopping wisely is ensuring you meet the legal requirements for car insurance in your state. Failing to meet those requirements can mean serious consequences, including high fines and even jail time.
Group discounts are a great way to save money on car insurance, if theyre available in your area. Credit unions, professional or trade organizations, alumni associations, and other groups often receive discounts from insurance companies, and those savings can be passed on to you.
Not all insurance companies are the same, so shopping around for the best rates and the best policy overall is another way to save money. Dont be afraid to check out different policies from different providers – often, theyll send you an itemized list of what you’ll be paying per month to help with cost comparison.
Look for Established Companies:
Make sure the company you choose is well-established and financially stable. A great way to do that is through their ratings. Any reputable insurer should have ratings – be it from A.M. Best, Standard & Poor’s, or Moody’s.
Talk to Your Agent:
Your insurance agent is there to help you with navigating the process and finding the best coverage for you. Talk to your agent about your specific needs and ask for their suggestions on how to best customize your policy for saving the most money.
Millions of people are turning to online shopping to find the best deals on car insurance. With a few clicks of your mouse, you can compare quotes and offers from multiple companies and make the best decision for your situation.
Understand Your Personalized Cost:
Everyone has different personal needs and different economic situations that can influence their car insurance costs. Take some time to understand the various key factors, such as your age, marital status, location, credit score, car type, driving history, and more, so you can customize your policy for the best cost-benefit ratio.
Know the Different Types of Coverage:
Car insurance can be broken down into various types of coverage that all come with different levels of protection. Collision coverage, for example, helps pay for repairing damages to your car caused by an accident. Comprehensive coverage is for those incidents such as theft or a tree falling on your car due to bad weather. Liability coverage will pay for someone else’s property if you are at fault in an accident. Knowing the different types of coverage is key to a successful car insurance shopping.
Bundle Your Policies:
Many insurance companies offer discounts to those who bundle their policies, such as auto insurance with their homeowner, renters, or life insurance policies. Check with your current insurer or shop around to get the best deal on both policies.
Being proactive is key when searching for car insurance. Be open to new policies and new companies, and compare rates and features. Research any questions you have to ensure you understand each policy you are obtaining.
One way to tailor your car insurance policy to your specific needs is to add endorsements. These are extra policy-stipulations that will expand the scope of your coverage and control what the insurer will pay for. Some of these endorsements include gap insurance, custom parts and equipment coverage, and rental car coverage.
Make Continual Payments:
Make sure to stick to a schedule for paying your premiums. Additionally, depending on the insurer you use, opting for automatic payment may work in your favor by collecting bonuses or obtaining discounted prices on your annual payments.
Review Your Policy Before You Sign:
Before you sign any policy agreement, double check to make sure you understand all of your coverage options and any other important details that could make or break the deal. You wont know the limits of the policy unless you read it thoroughly.
Take Advantage of End-of-Year Renewal Discounts:
At the end of the year, your car insurance provider may give you an opportunity to take advantage of renewal discounts. These may be in the form of percentage-based discounts or other incentive-based rewards. Do your research to explore what options are available to you.
Earlier in the shopping process, be sure youve done a credit check and made sure your report is accurate. Often, insurance companies may adjust tier rates based on credit scores, so get a head start and check before you start your policy.
Don’t Mix Your Policies:
Its generally best to avoid keeping your car insurance with the same company that holds your other policies, such as homeowners or life insurance. By shopping around, you may be able to obtain a better rate for your car insurance.
Look Into Pay-As-You-Go Insurance:
Pay-as-you-go or usage-based insurance, as it’s sometimes known, might provide you with an efficient way to save some money on car insurance. This type of coverage tracks your driving behaviour, so that the cost of your premiums is more reflective of your actual risk on the roads.
Choose Your Car Carefully:
When it comes to car insurance, the type of car you drive can make a surprisingly substantial difference. Many providers are now offering discounts for those that opt to drive vehicles that might be considered lower risk. Cars rated as low-risk often carry lower premiums that may be more in line with your budget.
Check Up on Competition:
Don’t forget to keep an eye out for offers from companies you haven’t considered before. Get quotes from a variety of forums, do your research, and make sure you’re getting the best possible rate for the level of coverage that you’d like.
Excess Protection Insurance or Waiver:
Excess protection insurance or liability waivers can be a great way to save if you’re willing to pay a bit more up front. While they cost more in the short-term, these types of plans keep your costs low in the event of an accident while ensuring you’re still covered under the policy.
Finally, being informed and organized in case of an accident is a great way to save money. Keeping all of the necessary documents and information in-hand can help you to avoid getting stuck in unnecessary financial ruts. Be prepared and know your options before engaging in a potentially costly car accident.