How To Shop For Car Insurance
So itís time to get yourself in gear and start shopping for car insurance. Maybe youíre new to the experience, or maybe youíre ready to start looking around for a better rate. In any case, whether youíre a new buyer or an old hand, the fact is most people give the same thought to purchasing car insurance that they do to brushing their teeth. Itís a task - necessary but not fun, and one thatís usually rushed through.
But wait, this is important stuff! You want to be adequately covered if you get in an accident. And you definitely donít want to pay more for car insurance than you should. So maybe rushing through the process isnít the best way to go.
Remember, thereís money to be saved. How much? The difference can be hundreds of dollars. I typed in all of my insurance information into a comparative insurance service. The quotes ranged from $1,006 to $1,807, a difference of $801 a year. Therefore, taking a little extra time to shop around may be worth the effort.
Before you can shop for auto insurance, you have to decide what you need. Minimum coverage requirements vary from state to state, so take a moment to find out what coverage is required where you live. Once you know that, you can start shopping around.
Online comparative quote services such as NetQuote can make the auto insurance shopping more efficient. You can type in your information and get a list of comparative quotes within 10 to 15 minutes. However, when buying auto insurance itís important to consider not only the price, but also the carrier and the coverage. As with any product or service, the value of a low price is quickly forgotten if you arenít getting the coverage or service you need from your carrier.
What to look for in insurance companies
Beyond price and amount of coverage, other factors determining your selection should include:
- The reliability of the insurance company based on customer satisfaction reports, such as J.D. Powers.
- The financial strength ratings of the insurance companies that interest you.
- The insurance companyís payment policy (When are payments due? What happens if youíre late in making a payment?)
- Discounts offered by the insurance company that pertain to you.
- A toll-free customer service number to call for questions that canít get answered online.
Factors influencing auto insurance rates
If your current rates seem particularly high (or low), you might want to know why. While there are some factors influencing the rates you pay that you canít change, altering your lifestyle or vehicle choice can make a difference. Factors influencing auto insurance rates include:
Age - Generally those under 25 and over 65 tend to have more accidents.
Gender - Sorry guys, but women statistically make safer drivers.
Marital Status - Itís unfair, sure, but married people tend to pay less.
Geography - Where you live matters. People living in urban areas or in parts of the country prone to natural disasters tend to pay higher premiums.
Driving Violations - Speeding tickets and moving violations all count toward how much youíll pay.
Accident Claims - A history of fender benders adds more dollars to your payment.
Type of Vehicle - Want a Corvette, Mustang or Porsche? Be prepared to pay high-octane premiums.
Credit Rating - Many insurance companies view having a poor, or even no credit history as suggestive of higher risk.
Vehicle Use - Statistically, if you use your vehicle for work or drive a lot of miles, the greater chance you have of being involved in an accident. Youíll pay more for that.
In addition, if you have theft prevention devices or are insuring multiple cars and drivers, you may be eligible for discounts.
In the end, it pays to shop multiple companies when looking to buy auto insurance. In many case, in addition to the variable rates offered by different carriers, some carriers may be trying to break into your market and offer substantial discounts in order to attract clients. It could have you driving a better bargain in the end.