What You Must Know about Car Insurance

Hints for a smart shopping

The ideal time to shop

The best time to shop is 30 to 45 days before the expiration date of your previous policy. You will have enough time to check every company in your state and to learn everything about the coverage options. Nobody will hurry you to make the decision.

The best frequency to shop is every two years, but depending from your rate or the family situation you can do this more frequently. You have to remember that companies have different rates and it is in your interest to spend some time comparing them. This will help you to find savings or to become satisfied with your current rate.

High priority information:

You have to report everything about the drivers: their dates of birth, driver's licenses, the quantity and the dates of all their accidents and violations during the last 3 years (some companies ask for 5 years). Don't forget anything, before selling the policy company usually checks the information by ordering a motor vehicle report — your rate could change if you didn’t mention the last winter speeding ticket.

Concerning cars, the number one information is their year, make and model. It is necessary to include the value of the additional equipment (such as wheels, alarms, trim packages or custom paint) installed after the car was manufactured, if you want to cover it as well.

Your insurance history is important too. You need to report the name of your current insurance company (do not confuse with the name of your agent) and the date of your renewal. After getting the quote make sure to avoid the "coverage gap" between your current policy and the new one.

You have to define your coverage limits. They can stay the same, become higher or lower (for example, Bodily Injury, Property Damage Liability and if you're in a no-fault state, the Personal Injury Protection coverage); and you can choose additional coverage in order to have a better protection.

Deductible rates influence a lot. Usually people choose a $250 or $500 deductible for Comprehensive and Collision coverages. For equal comparison it is wise to know your present rate.

Some companies provide discounts for some options (for example, low mileage, hybrid, safe driver, good student and others). Find out what discounts you have today and check if you are qualified for the others. They can help you to save. You have to look for companies that match your profile, if you're not getting a discount from your current company.

Tips for quotes comparing

Contrast your current limits and deductibles with new ones. If you know what you pay now, you have to make sure that you're getting the same amount of coverage with the same deductibles with the new quote. You must know about every minor differences between them.

You can play with your limits and deductibles to monitor the rate’s change. Ask an agent to give you a quote with a higher and a lower rate to see how the cost of your insurance will differ. Check the deductibles too. Some companies give you a chance to save a lot by choosing a $500 or $1,000 deductible, but the savings which are less than 10 or 15% will not be necessary.

Estimates are not for you. Some companies use quick quotes and ballpark estimates at first. But you can't buy an estimate, they are not your real quote. You can be sure that when you’ll be ready to buy, the rate will change.

Shopping online is a clue for saving. Maybe it sounds unfamiliar to you to shop online, but if leading companies let you shop and compare online it is perfect! They also have an option to shop over the phone. It is very easy, so why would you waste your time if you have a lot of other important things to do?

Are you prepared to start shopping?

The first thing to do is to research few companies and to get quotes online. You have to be sure that your new quotes will cover your current limits and deductibles. If you have questions, you can try to chat online or look through the FAQs.

Ask your friends and family. People you trust will share the information with you about their insurance companies. It is important to ask about how they were treated in the case of the claim. You’ll see that it is even more significant than saving money.

Limit the companies and their options to contrast the details. First of all compare rates, coverage and payment plans, and then continue with the information about the public image and financial stability of the chosen companies. In case of having problems with company identification, you can explore and analyze them online — every state has a lot of auto insurers.

Shop within the most trusted companies. After spending time in self-education, company comparison and discovering the way to save your money, you'll be positive about your choice. Wish you luck!

In the event of having questions or comments, please let us know.

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