Anyone who has bought a car will agree that it can get expensive. Repairs or damages can cost you an arm and a leg; you have to keep the inflated costs of maintenance and elevated gas prices in mind when trying to plan ahead. By keeping your eyes peeled for opportunities to cut down on expenses, you may be able to limit these expenses. What better way to do that than to begin with car insurance? All cars and drivers must have insurance protection in order to legally operate a vehicle. People may pick any insurer that comes along after purchasing their first car to get the ball rolling. To find the best car insurance, take your time and do a bit of research.
There are dozens of car insurance companies vying for your business. Many have eye-catching policy options, making it even harder for a potential consumer to figure out what is the best for them. It can be a daunting task for any person to set priorities, check reputations and compare quotes all at once. Here is a simple process to allow you to go through all the steps for making an informed decision.
Determine what you want
Be sure of the coverage and amenities that you want. Do you just want the cheapest car insurance? Or do you have certain conditions in mind based on your driving style or location? Will your coverage be affected by choosing a cheap option? These are all good questions to ask yourself in order to get the best deal. The best car insurance agents should offer an affordable price and great customer service so you feel confident that you are in safe hands.
Look for a company with a good reputation and solid financial base
After identifying some great car insurance companies, the next thing to do is to carry out a thorough background check on the company’s’ financial position and reputation. Here is how you can carry out your own investigation:
- Check your state’s department of insurance to be sure that the company has been licensed by state authorities to sell car insurance policies where you are.
- Check for customer complaints, if possible with Yelp or other online review sites.
- Determine that the company is in a healthy financial position from websites such as A.M Best and J.D Power.
- Finally, find out the company’s standing with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). This has all the information about companies such as when they were started and the customer complaints and case resolutions. They also rank companies from A+ to F.
Compare car insurance quotes
Once you have a few companies in mind, it’s time to look at the quotes. Here are some tips you need when comparing car insurance quotes:
- Don’t settle easily when looking for a good insurance company; go through as many quotes as possible, a minimum of three quotes could help you make the best decision.
- Ask your friends and family members about their insurance providers
- How long have they been with their insurance company?
- Do they have any complaints about rates?
- How do they rate the customer service?
- How fast did they process premiums in case of at-fault accident or traffic violations?
- Check the company’s social media pages; this will help you to know how they respond to customer’s questions about things such as coverage and discounts.
- Look for good-driver rewards features and discounts; some companies reward drivers of a given age or those with anti-theft mechanisms. Some companies give good rates to drivers with stellar driving records too.
- Ask if they have multi-line coverage where companies provide discounts if you buy two or more insurance policies such as one for the home and life.
Get the services of an agent or broker
The difference between the car insurance agents and car insurance brokers is that while agents work with one insurer, brokers work with several insurance companies at the same time. An agent can help you get the best coverage from their supplier while a broker can look around and help you to get the best coverage from a number of companies. However, you should know that they may charge you a broker fee for their services. Unless you are ready to do the homework yourself, you should consider working with an agent or broker to find a good insurance company.
Assess your coverage periodically
It isn’t always easy to find a good auto insurance policy but when you do, don’t feel pressured to settle right away. Many companies can lower their premiums due to special circumstances or life events:
- Getting married: Auto insurance views married couples as more responsible and can offer them lower rates. You can also combine your insurance policies to save money.
- Getting older: Drivers above 25 tend to benefit more from low and cheap auto premiums because they are seen to be more responsible.
- Location: Insurance loves low-crime areas because of the limited chances of theft or damage.
- Buying a new car: With safety and anti-theft features your new car might get you lower premium rates.
- Buying a new home: This can get you lower car rates if you insure your car with the same company.
On the other hand, consult your agent if your rates go up because of certain life events or compare quotes with other providers to find a solution. Here is an example of such situations:
- Traffic violations: The more traffic violations you have on your record, the higher your premiums could go.
- Moving: Moving can have an adverse impact on your auto insurance rates especially if you move from a low-crime area to high-crime neighborhood.
- Filing claims: your rates will go up every time you file a claim
- Including a teenager on your insurance policy: It is inevitable that your rates will go up if you add your teenage son or relative to your coverage. But should the rates go too high, you can start shopping around for a better deal
To put it simply, start evaluating your coverage as soon you go through a life event that may interfere with your rates.
Pick a top-rated insurer
Don’t take the word of an insurance company at face value. Insurance is a competitive business and everyone would want to pitch for themselves as well as they can. That’s why you need a second opinion. Check reputable websites that rate insurance companies. You can also consult the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to know the state of the insurance company to find out if there are any complaints and how they have been resolved. You will also if the company is in stable financial position there. Good luck!