You may be thinking about switching your auto insurance to save some money. Considering the economy, that’s not a bad idea. Just be sure you get it right!
Car insurance rates can vary by hundreds of dollars from company to company. But choosing a plan based solely on price, not standard features and quality of service, can cost you more than you’ll ever save on your premiums.
Auto insurance is more than low rates and getting your car repaired quickly. It’s serious financial protection in case you’re ever in an accident. And it’s estimated that there were more than 33 million automobile accidents in this country last year — that’s more than one accident for every second of every day! So your chances of filing a claim at some point are pretty good.
That’s why it pays to follow these simple rules when shopping for auto insurance.
Rule #1: Make sure you have what you need.
If you want to compare auto insurance quotes, you need accurate information. So before you start, take a few minutes to make sure you have the following auto insurance information available.
Your Current Insurance Declarations Page: By matching your current deductibles and coverage limits you can be sure you’re getting the same protection.
— Year, make, model, and VIN
— Annual miles and distance to work
— Value of any custom or after-market equipment
— Type of alarm or theft-recovery device
Driver Information (for each household member old enough to drive)
— Driver’s name, occupation, gender, number of years licensed, and Driver’s License number.
— Any accidents or violation in the past 3 years including dates, who was at fault, if someone was injured and the claim amount.
Rule #2: Don’t stop at one.
If you’re only getting one quote to compare with your current policy, you’re probably going to end up spending too much. There are a lot of car insurance companies out there and each one has its own way of determining rates. Multiple quotes will give you a better opportunity to make the right choice. Some website aggregates will give you an opportunity to get several quotes from a limited number of companies. But to get a better understanding of the features and service a company offers, you should contact them yourself. The service you get while shopping around is a good indicator of what you can expect if you purchase a policy.
Rule #3: Look under the hood.
When shopping for car insurance, you need to consider more than price. Find out what you’re getting for your money. Know what’s covered and what isn’t. It’s not hard — just remember these final tips:
— Get your quote in writing and confirm the accuracy of each vehicle and driver you are insuring.
— Make sure your deductibles and coverage limits match your current policy.
— Ask about special features, such as Emergency Roadside Assistance.
— Find out if there are additional membership or broker fees.
— Are repairs guaranteed for as long as you own your car?
— What kind of payment options are available?