You seem to see an advertisement for vehicle insurance every time you turn on the television, asking if you’re overpaying. It’s likely that your insurance won’t be eager to provide you with the information, so it’s up to you to do your research. But you can complete it during your lunch break if you have access to the Internet and some forward planning.
Going online provides a gateway to a world of auto insurance quotes and information on the firms that issue them, whether you’re looking for your first policy or a lower cost. You’ll find that affordability is only one aspect to take into account. Let’s look at five suggestions to bear in mind when purchasing auto insurance online.
5: There Are Other Options Besides Online Searching
There are only truly two ways to purchase auto insurance, despite the fact that there are a seemingly unlimited number of businesses offering plans these days: A licensed professional who sells insurance policies on behalf of one or more insurance firms is known as an agent. You can also purchase a policy directly from an insurer by phone or online.
Online insurance purchases still make up a relatively modest fraction of all auto insurance sales, but they are becoming more and more common. Just 20% of new auto insurance plans were bought online in 2011, against 43% from agents, according to a poll conducted by the Internet marketing research firm ComScore. However, compared to just two years ago, the number of online purchases has increased by 5%, while the number of purchases made through agents has decreased by 6%. Additionally, according to a 2011 survey by J.D. Power and Associates, 54 percent of newly insured vehicle insurance policyholders requested a rate quote online, marking the first time that the majority of respondents had done so.
Bodily injury liability, property damage liability, collision, medical payments/personal injury protection, comprehensive, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage are the six categories of coverage that can be found on a conventional auto insurance policy. To find out which forms of coverage are legally needed to have by drivers and which types are optional, contact the insurance department in your state.
4: Get Ready Before You Look
Whether you choose to browse for auto insurance offline or online, be sure to have all the information you require to receive a precise quotation. List the make, model, year, VIN, the zip code where you park the car at night, and any aftermarket safety or anti-theft features that have been installed on the vehicle. Get a copy of your driving record, the license numbers and the date of first license of each driver who will be covered by the policy. Get a new credit score as well; some insurers suggest that those with lower credit scores are more prone to make claims, which might increase the cost of your auto insurance [source: Roberts-Grey].
You can also take a few actions to receive lower insurance premiums. Compare the distance you traveled this year to that of last year to determine whether a major drop in mileage will result in a reduced price. Consider taking an online defensive driving course, getting your home and other vehicles insured by the same insurance provider, or choosing a plan with a greater deductible. Even some forms of insurance that are not required by state law could be dropped; for example, very old cars could be driven without collision and comprehensive coverage.
3. Compare prices
Every year, you should review your auto insurance policy to see how much you’re paying in premiums and how much coverage you’re receiving. Based on elements including the amount of money spent on advertising, fees given to the agent, and the riskiness of the company’s pool of insured drivers, the cost of the same insurance might differ significantly between firms.
Try visiting an auto insurance aggregator website, such as NetQuote.com, Insure.com, or InsWeb.com, where users can enter details about their vehicle and driving record to receive a variety of estimates from several insurance providers, to start comparing prices. The majority of the quotations often come from insurance agents’ follow-up emails and phone calls. You might also try searching the websites of businesses that sell insurance directly to customers and offer quick estimates, such Progressive and Geico.
Look for a security policy to guarantee that any communications are reassuringly protected from third parties before submitting any sensitive information through a website, and configure your web browser to alert you when you leave a secure connection.
Get at least three pricing quotations from different insurers; in addition to internet research, you might also think about contacting the insurance provider or scheduling a meeting.
2: Go to the website of your state’s insurance department.
State-by-state laws govern auto insurance, thus the consumer information section of your state’s insurance department’s website is likely to have a ton of information that is pertinent to your search. To locate a link to your state’s insurance department, use the National Association of Insurance Commissioners State Web Map.
Although the depth of material varies, these websites frequently offer consumer auto insurance recommendations, example pricing comparisons offered by rival agencies for covering typical automobiles, and profiles of the many insurance companies licensed in the state. Many insurance departments also offer complaint indices, which compare the number of policies issued by a given business to the number of consumer complaints that have been upheld against it. Having this knowledge can help you choose which business to sign with.
Ask an agent if you’re unsure whether a potential insurer has a license in your state. Report the business if it makes a misleading claim about having a license in your state.
1: Don’t Base Decisions Only on Price
You shouldn’t allow a firm insure your car just because it provides you with a low-cost quote. Examine your policy’s terms carefully to make sure they correspond to those of your previous vehicle insurance policy and that you are receiving an identical level of coverage (or at least the minimum amount required by law in your state). Check the contract’s terms to see if the company mandates the use of less expensive aftermarket components for repairs rather than the original factory parts, which can present safety risks.
Additionally, you can consult customer satisfaction databases on websites like ConsumerReports.org and JDPower.com in addition to the complaint indexes kept up by state agencies. [Ref: Reed] Prior to acquiring your policy, you should confirm the financial stability of your insurance provider. A.M. Best and Standard and Poor’s are reputable sites to find out a company’s financial health in addition to consulting your state’s insurance department. Additionally, ask for references from your friends and family.