Auto Insurance: Does Your Carrier Care?
Would you drop a big chunk of change on an expensive vehicle and then hope you never have to drive it? Not likely. Auto insurance on the other hand is also expensive and it’s something that you end up crossing your fingers that you never have to use.
Insurance is not exactly an exciting expenditure, which is why it’s common to choose a carrier for random reasons (that gecko with the British accent is pretty cute) or simply because coverage is mandated by law and/or needed by a certain date. The problem is, once it’s in place, most of us just continue paying the insurance premiums without considering whether we’re really getting the best deal, both cost and coverage-wise.
Here are some important things to consider, whether you’re a first-time shopper or looking to ensure you’ve got the best policy possible:
Even if you’re fairly happy with your insurer, you should still be checking out the competition on a yearly basis. And when you do, make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. Cost alone doesn’t tell the whole story when it comes to making sure you’re properly covered.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, animal strike claims rise dramatically in the fall, with November showing twice the average number of claims (mostly due to deer mating season). So, depending upon where you live, it’s important to make sure your policy provides for things beyond the average fender bender.
Some of the larger carriers have a huge market presence thanks to ad budgets that run into the billions. But it’s still worth checking out some of the smaller brokers in your area. They may have access to smaller, boutique carriers that offer better rates and more customized coverage.
One of the best ways to help guarantee that you’re with the right carrier is to consult with your fellow drivers. Check out organizations like JD Power or ConsumerReports.org to get rankings of carriers based on consumer surveys.
If you lead a fairly low-risk lifestyle, there are a plethora of modest yet significant discounts available to you. Ask your insurer about any breaks you might get for things like taking a defensive driving class (or having your teenager take one), adding anti-theft or safety equipment to your vehicle or reducing the number of miles you drive.
Insurers are increasingly taking credit scores into consideration when setting rates, so do the best you can to keep your scores on the favorable side.
Ads for insurance companies pop up everywhere you turn in all types of media. Competition is fierce and companies invest heavily in capturing your attention. Consider investing a little time in reviewing your coverage and make the company you pay your premiums to earn your business – initially and on an ongoing basis. Your efforts could result in real dollars.