If you’re a car owner, chances are that you want to be adequately covered if your car is hit with an accident but you don’t want to pay more than you have to. Unfortunately, many people do overpay because they don’t want to spend time shopping for car insurance.
Below are 10 steps on how to buy an insurance policy for your car.
1. Figure Out How Much Your Coverage Should Be
Requirements vary from state to state, so take a moment to find out what coverage is required where you live. One you’ve figured out how much your coverage should be, you can decide what you need.
Experts advise that if you have a lot of assets, you should get enough liability coverage to protect them. For instance, you have $60,000 of bodily injury liability coverage but $120,000 in personal assets. If you’re at fault in an accident, attorneys for the other party could go after you for the $60,000 in medical bills that aren’t covered by your policy.
2. Learn to Review Your Insurance
You’ll have to peruse your policy or request all necessary information from your insurance company. Then take a note of the followings: the amount of coverage you have now and how much you are paying for it; the yearly and monthly cost of your insurance since you’ll get quotes both ways.
3. Know Your Driving Records
If a ticket or points you earned are about to disappear, thereby improving your driving record, wait until that happens before you get quotes. Note that a bad driving record increases the price of insurance.
Ensure you know how many tickets you have had recently. Check with your state’s department of motor vehicles if you need to be reminded how long that speeding ticket has been on your record.
4. Get Quotes from Companies
This is the part where you start to shop for the best insurance quote. Set aside at least an hour for this task. Have at hand your current insurance policy, your driver’s license number, and your vehicle registration. You can begin with online services.
If you go to an online site to get a quote for an insurance rate, you can type in your information and begin to build a list of car insurance companies for comparative quotes.
For some companies you will need to go directly to their website or call their toll-free numbers to get quotes. You will need not less than an hour to get competing quotes from insurance.
5. Collate Information about the Companies
While you’re researching companies, take careful notes so you can easily make price and coverage collations. Note the followings:
– Annual and monthly rates for the different types of coverage. Make sure to keep the coverage limits the same so you can make perfect comparisons for cost and coverage.
– The insurance company’s 800 telephone number so you can get answers to questions that aren’t online.
– The insurance company’s payment policy. What kinds of payment plans are available does the insurance company use? When is the payment due? What happens if you’re late making a payment for your insurance coverage?
6. Call the Companies
Once you have gathered the necessary information online, make some calls. Contact those companies from which you haven’t been able to get an online quote. When you get a quote over the phone, confirm the price by asking the representative to email the quote to you.
Doing the research by phone can actually be easier and faster than on the internet, provided you have your driver’s license and vehicle registration close at hand.
7. Go for Discounts
Do a full exploration of all options when it comes to discounts. Insurance companies are known to give them for things as a good driving record, your car’s safety or security equipment, and certain occupations or professional affiliations. Some companies now offer lower rates of discounts if you enroll in “pay as you drive” plans.
Some will give substantial discounts for young drivers in the family who have high-grade point averages. If you want to get a better car insurance price, consider using the same insurance company for home and auto policies.
8. Evaluate the Company’s Reliability
Know that cost isn’t the only thing to consider in buying an auto insurance policy. Evaluate the reliability of the insurance companies you’re considering by visiting your state’s insurance department website, reviewing consumer surveys and talking to family and friends.
Try find out if the company doing well financially and also find out if they treat clients well.
9. Review the Coverage
When you’ve done your research and zeroed in on a company, read over the main points of the policy.
In addition to verifying that it contains the coverage you’ve requested and priced, it’s a good idea to find out if the policy states that “new factory,” “like kind and quality” or “aftermarket parts” may be used for body shop repairs, according to the Insurance Consumer Advocate Network.
If the policy has such a requirement, think hard about whether this is the company for you, particularly if you own a relatively new car that you plan to keep for a while.
In this case, it’s best to know at the outset that the insurer will pay for original manufacturer parts rather than try to fight over the issue later when you have a claim.
10. Cancel Your Previous Coverage
After you have the auto insurance policy you want, cancel the previous policy with your existing insurance company.
Make sure you put the card in your wallet or the glove compartment of your car if your state requires you to carry proof of insurance.