You may be buying insurance for your vehicles for years but there is no harm in refreshing your knowledge. Knowing a few small details about how your premium is calculated and what you need to be covered properly can help you make a good decision. Here are 10 tips for buying auto insurance that can save you money when you look for a policy next time.
- How Are Car Insurance Premiums Determined?
First of all underwriters will have to decide if they accept the risk or not and if they do which category they place the risk. Once the level of risk is determined and applicant placed into a group, the rates for such group would be applied to level of coverage requested. The process determines the likelihood of a person making a claim and price to be charged for insuring the applicant.
- What Factors Affect Risk Rating
Claim history and driving records are two of the most influential factors. Furthermore, residential address, gender, age, marital status, mileage and make and model of insured vehicles are common factors that can affect premiums.
- How Do Someone Qualify for Discounts
The best way of saving money on car insurance is to qualify for as many discounts as possible. Discounts are offered because auto insurance companies see the chances of claims to be low. Here are some discounts you should look for: multiple vehicles, driver education courses, good student, safety devices, anti-theft devices, low mileage, good drivers, and combined purchase of auto/home packages. Not all companies offer all discounts and they may not be available in some states. So check with your broker to see if you qualify.
- Tort System vs. No-Fault System
The choice your state made between these two regulations will affect the type of minimum coverage required and premium costs. Each state chooses to implement a tort, a no-fault or a combination of both systems. The three basic coverage sold under the tort system are bodily injury liability insurance, property damage liability insurance and uninsured motorists coverage. In a no-fault state, coverage will vary, but under a no-fault system your insurance company pays you directly for your losses as a result of injuries sustained in an accident, regardless of who is at fault. Check with your broker or state insurance department for questions in relations to tort or no-fault state insurance laws.
- Consider Optional Vehicle Insurance Coverage
Collision and Comprehensive coverage are the most commonly bought additional protections. Collision coverage pays for physical damage to your car in case of auto crashes with an object such as a tree or another vehicle. Comprehensive coverage pays for damage to your auto from almost all other causes, including fire, severe weather, vandalism, floods and theft. This coverage will also cover broken glass and windshield damage.
Comprehensive coverage is less expensive than collision and both are optional. You shouldn’t think that you don’t need it because it is optional. You don’t buy insurance because you have to. You buy because you want to be protected against unexpected automobile related losses. If you have just bought a new car you cannot probably afford not to insure it. Other optional covers include Personal Injury Protection, rental reimbursement coverage and towing and labor coverage. Also, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage can either be enforced by your state or optional. Whichever way, it is a good idea to buy it as well.
- What If You Need Further Information
Best source of reliable and unbiased information is independent auto insurance brokers. However, they would naturally expect to sell you a policy if you contact them. Information is also available to motorists from a number of sources. These sources include the internet, state insurance departments, consumer groups and consumer publications. Most state insurance departments have insightful publications or websites. They also answer questions regarding auto insurance coverage by phone or personal visit. Quite a few publish premium comparisons to make choosing a policy easier.
- Importance of Shopping Around Before Buying a Policy
One of the most commonly given tips for buying car insurance is to shop around. When shopping for vehicle insurance, it is highly advisable to get several quotes. They are great when you come to compare different companies. How else you would know you have cheap auto insurance and good coverage? It is essential that you provide the same information to each agent or company when asking for quotations. The agent will usually request the following information: description of your vehicle, its use, number of drivers in your household and their driving history, the coverage and limits you want.
- Where Can You Find the Best Vehicle Insurance Policies?
Large numbers of motorists either use brokers and agents or they used to use one. Ask around for a recommendation especially if you think you need help in choosing. In addition, ask your neighbors, relatives and friends for recommendations on insurance companies. You can find plenty information on the subject online from forums and blogs. You can also get online automobile insurance quotes from most companies. You can start with a comparison website and get a few quotes form companies you choose online within a few minutes each time. Like buying anything else, shop around to get the best price and cover.
- Checking A Few More Details to Make Sure
There are steps you can take to make sure you get a good deal once you have selected the insurance coverage you need and an insurance agent or company. First of all you need to double check the policy and personal details for correctness. If you are unsure about a particular agent or company you can call you state insurance department and verify their licensing details. It is illegal to underwrite or sell insurance products in any state without a license and they are registered in the insurance departments. If you buy from an unlicensed insurer, you have no guarantee that the coverage you pay for will ever be honored.
- Read Your Policy Carefully before Putting It Away
A policy document details your rights and responsibilities, as well as those of the insurance company. This contract will be the bases of your future dealings with the insurer. You should either download a copy or ask to be posted to you if you buy online. You may not understand everything written in there as good as a lawyer or a broker would but you would have a good clue about your coverage if you read it through. If you have questions about your insurance policy, contact your insurance agent for clarification. If there are some changes to be done at the early stages or later, don’t hesitate to contact your agent or insurer. This may not be one of the hottest tips for buying auto insurance but it is very important nonetheless.