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How to Find the Right Auto Insurance Provider
February 11, 2012
When shopping for auto insurance, it can be tempting to quickly choose a provider based on a TV commercial or website pop-up ad. But if you take the time to shop around, you’ll find that auto insurance providers aren’t all the same. Here are the primary ways in which they differ, and what to look for when choosing an auto insurance provider.
Coverage: Insurance policies and coverage will vary by provider. Be sure to speak with an agent about your specific insurance needs, including how many family members will be using a vehicle, how often you drive and whether there are any gaps in coverage. You’ll need to become familiar with the basic insurance policies and what they typically cover so you’ll be more knowledgeable when you speak with an agent.
Monthly premium: The monthly cost of your car insurance policy is called your premium. Remember that the lowest premium isn’t always the best one; try to find the right balance between coverages for affordable auto insurance. When shopping for an insurance policy, get quotes from three to five auto insurance providers, and compare cost and coverage before making a decision.
Deductible: Car insurance policies often involve a balancing act between the premium and deductible. As the deductible increases, the monthly premium decreases, and vice versa. A deductible is the required out-of-pocket expense that must be paid before the insurance company contributes to a claim. For example, if the damage resulting from an accident costs $2,000 to repair and your deductible is $500, the insurance company will pay $1,500 and you will pay $500. It’s important to note that the deductible is paid first; so, if the damages totaled $600, the insurance company would pay $100. Speak to your insurance agent about whether a higher deductible or premium is best for your situation.
The other stuff: There are other factors to consider when choosing an auto insurance provider that aren’t easily documented and measured. Qualities such as customer service, call-center hours, agent availability and website usability may have a bearing on your decision. To get a sense of what it will be like to deal with an auto insurance provider, check out online auto insurance ratings. By reviewing other customers’ experiences, you’ll be better equipped to choose between two closely matched companies.
Whatever your decision, make sure you’ve weighed the options carefully. Car insurance may seem like a minor expense, but choosing the right auto insurance provider can save you money every month and give you peace of mind if you’re involved in an accident.
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