By: Sarah E. Sanuth, an insider in the automotive industry with many years of experience in the car dealership and repair business
Auto Insurance is a necessity to every person who owns a vehicle, but it doesn’t have to be a costly mistake. There are many parts to having the proper coverage that are often overlooked or under-examined.
Know your Driving Record
Your driving record is a key factor in determining the cost of your insurance. If you know your driving record is going to improve, wait until it does before you purchase insurance, it can save you a lot of money. But if you have insurance and you know your driving record will improve before renewal, make an effort to get quotes before renewing with your current insurance company.
Your first step is to know what your states minimum requirements are on coverage. Next assess what kind of coverage you really need, or feel the safest with having. Limits are the most important. While you may have coverage for bodily harm set at $25,000; this might not be enough in the event that you are in an accident and someone gets hurt.
In the event the damage exceeds the limits that you have set in your policy, or are sued beyond those limits, the remainder is your responsibility to pay. This means that any assets that you happen to have can be attached until the balance is paid. However, if you don’t have assets, excessive coverage isn’t necessary.
The average car on the road is worth more than $20,000. So that should the lowest you go on property damage.
Make sure you choose the proper deductible. Many times consumers choose a policy based on price but get a deductible that is too high, therefore hindering their ability to have their vehicle repaired. Make sure that you can afford to pay the deductible in the event that you need to use the insurance.
With all coverage limits the same, compare the pricing difference between many different companies. Usually the smaller the company, the higher the price for the insurance, but the better service you will receive. But regardless, make sure you choose a company that will provide you with the most comprehensive coverage and the best service.
Do a full assessment of the company you are planning on using before you purchase the auto insurance. Service is a big part of having insurance and if many customers have been left in the dark, you probably will be too. You don’t want to be paying an insurance company if they won’t cover a claim.
You can check a few different sources to get information about an insurance company. You can check your states Department of Insurance. This site should give you a wealth of information on their customer satisfaction ratings. Another website with this information is J.D. Power and Associates at www.jdpower.com.
Another area to check, especially during hard economic times, is the companies Standard and Poor’s rating at www.standardandpoors.com. This rating will give you information on the company’s ability to pay a claim.
Retain your Rights
In the event something happens and you are not at fault in the accident, make sure you retain your rights to sue. Some insurance companies will require you to give up this right to be covered. However, if there is an event that isn’t covered properly by the other persons insurance, you may need to sue them to recoup those costs. You don’t want to be left without that ability.
Before you sign, make sure that you have covered all your options and researched them as much as possible so you are making an informed decision and receiving the best coverage and service.