How to Choose Car Insurance
It’s not often the first thing that comes to mind with the excitement of the purchase of your vehicle, but the right insurance can mean the difference between ultimate peace of mind or a potentially horrible event that will affect you and your family for years to come. We always hope we’ll never need to actually use it, but when looking for insurance, there are a few things to remember so that you get the right coverage in the event of a worst case scenario.
1. Talk to your insurance broker and if you’re not sure, ask the questions you need to, so that you fully understand your policy. Have a notepad and pen at the ready so that you can record anything that you may not remember, and file your notes with your policy. You could also email your insurance broker so that you have a copy of the answers to print off and file. Policies can use language that most of us outside of the industry would find hard to comprehend. Although you’ll get a copy of your insurance policy to keep at home so that you can reference it, the best bet is to go over it in detail with your insurance broker.
2. Have you been accident free for a number of years? Ask your insurance broker about claims free discounts. Often companies will offer better rates for great drivers, so take advantage of that perfect driving record and save dollars off of the price of your policy.
3. Do you have a home or contents that you need to insure? See about combining your auto and home policies for a discount that will save you money for both. Even if you don’t own your home, you should have any contents that you own insured (sometimes these are called tenants policies) and this can often bring a discount in the same way a homeowners policy would when combined with your car insurance policy.
4. Even if you have no complaints about your rate, have your insurance broker check for better rates on an annual basis. You can even do a quick online check for the best insurances rates in your area and then ask your agent if they underwrite for that particular company.
5. Don’t always rely on price. Although of course none of us want to pay more than we absolutely have to for insurance, make sure that you’re comparing apples to apples when determining which policy works best for you. Some insurance providers won’t offer as comprehensive a coverage as others, or there may be details that are initially overlooked but are important to understand.
6. Take note of your deductible. This is the amount that comes out of your pocket in the event of a claim before your insurance kicks in. If you decide to take on a higher deductible this often reduces your rate, and sometimes the savings are significant.
7. Make sure you let your insurance broker know of any life changes that might affect your policy and/or your coverage. If your vehicle was once used only for pleasure but now it takes you back and forth to work, or you once commuted to a business but now have decided to open up your own company, this has a big effect on your insurance. (Claims can be denied based on the use of your vehicle if you haven’t kept your provider up to date.) By the same token, a reduced use in your vehicle can also affect your insurance coverage needs, and can save you money.
8. If you’re worried about insurance, choosing the right vehicle in the first place can often save you a bundle. Check out the vehicle model that you’re looking at and compare it to collision data for other vehicle models online. You can often find information on vehicle models and their related losses online, as well as collision insurance cost information. Some vehicles are easier than others when it comes to ordering parts and doing repairs. Your mechanic can also be a good source for this type of information before you commit to that dream car.
9. Your friends and family are great resources for finding a great insurance broker and provider. Ask around and find out who has had great experiences versus those who haven’t had a smooth ride when it comes to bumps in the road. Their personal experiences won’t be the end all be all for choosing the right provider for you, but they can be a good starting point.