Motorists are bombarded with advice and advertisements urging us to compare quotes. They must know something to keep saying the same thing over and over again. So, do you know how to compare car insurance rates, various policy packages and tens of different companies in the market side by side? Do you look at price, coverage or how well-known the insurer is? Below this process is broken down step by step to help you figure out how to compare auto insurance quotes.
How to Compare Auto Insurance Rates Side by Side
As they say there is more to it than just the price. You should leave the premium on offer to a side for a moment and look at what you are being offered in the package. You should look at the coverage provisions, limits, deductibles and make sure that there are no overly strenuous conditions attached to the price.
Make sure that you are not losing out on valuable coverage. Sometimes, cheaper policies can come with no frills, just the backbone policy protection. For example, it could only cover you and listed drivers and specifically exclude any driver under the age of 25. If you are going to accept such conditions you should make sure that it is reflected on the premium.
When you can get the largest coverage at cheapest price you know how to compare auto insurance quotes. You should understand that a policy offering lower coverage would naturally be cheaper. In other words, if a policy is cheaper because it offers less you may actually get cheaper quotes from other companies for the same coverage as well. Companies are capable of offering you a custom quote if that is what you prefer.
Generally, standard policies come with a few extra benefits compared to designed to be cheap policies. You may not understand it on the outset but you will appreciate it if you ever have a claim. For example, a standard policy would automatically cover the new car you bought up to certain days, automatically include occasional drivers and provide grace period if you ever miss premium payments.
Know How to Compare Car Insurance Rates Side by Side
It is important to understand how premium quotes work. Here are a few basics you should know while comparing quotations. Higher deductibles generally bring down the premiums. The more coverage you have the more you are required to pay as well.
In other words, if a company with a cheap auto insurance quote is offering higher deductibles than the rest you understand how they could offer you better deal. In fact, they may be just being smart and hoping that you are not going to pass the price and see what they have done to achieve it. If you ask other companies to quote you based on higher deductibles, perhaps they too will be able to give you lower rates. Then you can choose the company you like after new quotations. Getting your quotes always on the same bases is the basics of understanding how to compare car insurance rates side by side.
Have a Look at Premium Payment Options
You may be quoted a low premium based on assumption that you will pay the premium in full at the start. If you want to pay in installments you may see that premium is going up as much as 5 – 10% to include charges due to providing you credit. If you can pay in full at the start, you should make the most of savings offered for upfront premiums. If you need installments, you should make sure that your quotes take this into effect to see who is really offering the cheapest deal.
You may like a particular insurer but it is important to see where they stand in price compared to the rest of them. You may find out that you don’t like them as much to pay several hundred dollars more than the rest. There is no point in considering a company with premiums you cannot afford.
Similarly, you don’t want to be insured with an unreliable company just because they are offering cheap premiums. Actually, you may not want to be insured with some companies no matter what. Set your standards and see how each company measures up. Knowing how to compare auto insurance rates is one thing and applying it correctly is another. If you know nothing about an insurer, the first thing you should check is that it is licensed to sell insurance policies in your state.
Then, you can check as much as you want. You can find out financial stability of the provider by looking at their ratings by companies like J.D. Power and Associates and A.M. Best. Also, most state insurance departments publish customer complaint records of companies doing business within the state.
There are many blogs, websites and forums to check customer ratings of auto insurers. Indeed, you can find information about almost anything online. Just type what you are looking for and see the results on your favorite search engine. Another way of finding out about customer service quality is to call the company and see how they handle your questions. If having knowledgeable agents available 24/7 is important to you, you should make sure they have efficient phone assistance.
If the company was offered to you by your broker, first thing you should check is the affiliation of the agent with the company. Independent automobile insurance brokers have the freedom to choose whichever company they like while captive agents can only recommend products from certain companies.
Don’t Hesitate to Go for Second Round of Quotes
Sometimes, it may be necessary to go for second round of automobile insurance quotes. For example, the coverage you required can be too expensive or you may realize that you can afford more coverage. Then, you can re-adjust your coverage and get another round of quotes. Again, you may find the quotes too high for your budget and like to see if you can bring them down when you increase deductibles.
The bottom line is that you shouldn’t settle for half measures and never be rushed into making decisions. Take your time, check and re-check until you find what you are looking for. Now that you know how to compare car insurance rates it shouldn’t take long.