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Your Guide to Cracking the Code on Insurance

Before you decide to purchase that new (or new to you) car, you have to think about insurance. If you’re a new driver or have never considered the “ins and outs” of an auto insurance policy, this article will detail some important things to keep in mind. Just like when purchasing a car, there are multiple variables involved in purchasing insurance, including the age and experience of the driver(s), model and year of the car, geographic location where the car is stored, and more.

You may wonder why you need to get a few different quotes from insurance companies when the information you provide to each is exactly the same. All of these companies have large actuarial departments charged with calculating risk—and no two departments are alike. That means that even though you are presenting the same information to multiple carriers, they will still offer different insurance products that carry higher or lower rates and premiums.

With all of the media advertising for car insurance these days, it’s pretty simple to pick up the phone and get started calling around to see what various companies have to offer. But first, you should do your homework to better understand your unique situation, or talk to a knowledgeable independent agent, who can help solicit competitive quotes based on your particular needs and preferences. Here are a few things to consider as part of this process:

  • What are the insurance requirements for your state?
  • Who else will be driving your car?
  • What can you afford to pay for monthly premiums?
  • Should you purchase any type of supplemental insurance in addition to liability, such as:
    • GAP to cover loan costs in the event your car is totaled
    • Collision coverage for damage to your vehicle
    • Comprehensive coverage for costs unrelated to an accident
    • Uninsured driver coverage
    • Rental reimbursement coverage
    • Roadside assistance coverage
  • How much is “too much” insurance for the particular car you are driving?
  • What is a reasonable deductible?

If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of insurance options available, you’re going in the right direction! The more you talk to people and research these factors online, the more prepared you will be to get the best possible insurance deal.

Be sure to research any possible discounts that may apply to you also. For example, if you are classified as a “good driver,” with no claims, accidents or moving-violation tickets in recent years, you may qualify for lower rates. The same goes for young drivers with good academic records and owners of cars with advanced safety equipment. Discounts also can be had for customers who purchase another type of coverage—such as homeowner’s or rental policies—along with their automobile policy.

One Final Caveat
Keep in mind that there is more to choosing an insurance policy that low rates and premiums. You want to deal with a reputable company that has been in business for a long time and is known for offering dependable, fast, and high-quality service. Checking each company’s online customer ratings and asking friends and families about their policies and coverages are great ways to get started.