Auto Insurance Shopping Tips
To some people, car insurance is like the weather. It can be good or it can be bad, but there's not much you can do about it. While that is true about the weather, though, it doesn't have to be true about your car insurance. Now, we admit that buying car insurance will never be as fun as buying a car or taking an exotic vacation.
Still, there are ways to ease the expense that comes with car insurance. By following these insurance shopping tips, you'll be on your way to starting a better relationship with your car insurance and saving money in the process.
Consider Insurance Before You Buy
When you are about to buy a car, it is easy to ignore some practical aspects of the purchase. Among them is how the car will affect your car insurance costs. But it is worth doing a quick check on the insurance rates for cars you're considering before you purchase one of them.
You might find that one model is much more costly to insure than another, and that added expense might change your mind on what to buy. An online search for insurance is all you need to do at this stage.
Don't Limit Your Choices
You might have what you consider to be a good relationship with your current insurance company. Maybe your agent sends you a calendar every Christmas and takes your phone calls right away. But that is no reason you shouldn't shop around for your car insurance.
It is very easy to do some investigation online supplemented by a few phone calls to local agents. And don't go simply by the insurance company's reputation. A car insurance company that's cheapest for one person might be an expensive choice for a driver in a different state.
Consider Smaller Insurance Companies
When it comes to car insurance, Geico, Allstate, Progressive, and State Farm have about 50 percent of the nation's car insurance business. Certainly, it is advantageous to check out their rates. But it also makes sense to consider other insurers that might only compete in certain states.
Auto-Owners Insurance, Erie Insurance, and Mercury Insurance are among many regional carriers who have good reputations and are worthy of consideration. It costs you nothing but a few minutes of your time to look.
Seek Out Discounts
When you are shopping, don't simply look at the insurers' basic rates. Also pay attention to the discounts they offer, since these discounts could save you considerable amounts of money over time. One logical discount to consider is related to bundling, which is using one carrier for your homeowner's and auto insurance.
You might also get a discount based on a good driving record or if you are a member of an "affinity group." Some insurers offer discounts if you conduct business paperlessly online or if you pay the premium annually or semi-annually rather than monthly.
Investigate Pay-by-Mile Programs
Several insurance companies now offer pay-by-mile or usage-based coverage. It's not for everyone, and it is not available everywhere, but if you are a driver with a good record, you might find it advantageous. In many of these programs, you authorize the insurance company to monitor your driving with an in-car tracking device.
The insurer can then determine not only how many miles you drive but also where, when, and how well you drive. Other programs simply require you to drive fewer than a set mileage — say 10,000 miles — per year.
Carry Appropriate Coverage
Some people try to save money by skimping on their insurance coverage, but this can be an expensive "fail" if you end up in an accident whose costs and judgments stretch beyond your coverage. This is especially true of liability coverage for those with significant personal assets.
Those assets could be in jeopardy if a judgment against you goes beyond your coverage. People who own a home and/or a business should be especially concerned about this aspect of auto insurance.
It might be tempting to treat car insurance like the utility bills, as something that you simply have to pay. But the good news is there are a wide variety of insurance companies that want your business and will compete for it.
The same holds true for local insurance agents. A small amount of comparison shopping could easily save you hundreds of dollars each year. And who wouldn't like to have a few extra hundred dollars?