Not sure which car insurance company is right for you?
Comparing the car insurance options available to you is something that you should ideally do when it’s time to renew your policy — either once or twice a year. Comparing insurance companies is important because things can change — You may have moved to a new age bracket, tied the knot or retired. Car insurance companies regularly change their rates and plans — you don’t want to miss a great deal.
When you’re comparing car insurance there are are few key factors you should keep in mind. After you’ve determined what coverage you need, compare the kind of coverage that’s offered and how much they cost. You also want to know what stands out about a company — do they offer great customer service or offer a bonus for no claims? Most insurance companies try, in one way or another, to stand out from the crowd. Find the one that works for you.
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Remember that car insurance companies are looking to insure drivers who present the least risk. The less you file claims, the less you’ll pay for insurance. But there are other ways to save on car insurance:
- The car you drive. Choosing a car that is more expensive to cover, like a modified or high-performance car, makes you more of a risk to cover. Besides the cost of parts and labor to fix it, statistically these cars are in more accidents or stolen more frequently. Driving a car with safety features and less horse power will reduce your premiums.
- Restricting drivers. Restricting who you allow to drive your car will help reduce your premium. The more people who drive you car, the more chance there is of filing a claim.
- Low milage. Some insurers offer discounts for driving less. Look for insurers that offers pay-as-you-go or laid-up plans if you don’t drive often.
- Security. Having a security system in your car will help you salvage your car if it’s ever stolen, and will help lower your insurance.
- Bundling. Many insurers provide a loyalty discount if you have more than one type of insurance or insure more than one car with them.
- No claims bonus. Most insurers offer a discount for having at solid driving record, with no insurance claims. Be sure to check to see what each company offers.
- Agreed value. This is how much you and your insurer agree the car is worth. This number is locked in at the time of purchase, and can only be changed at certain times. This is especially useful for heavily modified or classic cars. It generally costs more but offers a higher payout.
- Market Value. A market value policy pays the car’s current market value, subject to depreciation, at the time of a claim. The replacement value of the car fluctuates with market conditions. If you are purely trying to reduce your premium, insure for market value.
- Gender. In general men pay more for car insurance then women. So, if you’re a couple, take your insurance out in the female’s name, with the male as a nominated driver.
- Buy online. Most insurers offer discounts if you buy your car insurance online.
Car insurance companies may not differ much in the coverage they provide, but can be worlds away on the quality of their service. While both you and the company hope to never make a claim, if you are in an accident, you want to be sure they pay your claim. Things to look for when researching car insurance companies include:
- The company’s reputation. Check out the company’s ratings and reviews to see what users have said about them.
- Transparency. The company’s willingness to provide hard copies of contracts and terms can indicate their level of trustworthiness.
- How they handle claims. Make sure you find an insurer that will walk you through its claims process. Check online for customer reviews, you will find a wealth of information about how happy people have been with their claims and also how they were treated.
How are car insurers regulated?
Each state has their own set of laws and regulations to govern car insurance companies. They determine what the minimum coverage is for every driver, competition, consumer rights and the solvency of the insurance companies. Regulations are there to make sure there is plenty of competition to drive prices down, and also to ensure that these companies have enough money to pay out claims.Back to top
If you have to make a claim to your insurance company, you expect to be compensated. But in the event that you’re not, you can dispute a claim to try to get what you deserve. Always document all communication you’ve made with the insurance company and pay attention to timelines. Being prepared is key to getting what you need. It’s also important to become familiar with the state laws and get an independent appraisal. To dispute your claim, do the following:
- Contact the insurer. Talk to the insurer about your concerns and try to work out a solution you’re both happy with. If an agent doesn’t solve your issue, speak with a supervisor. It’s also a good idea to follow up with a letter, restating your concerns.
- Make a complaint to the state. When you’re unhappy with the way an insurance company has handled a situation, you can go over their heads by contacting the Department of Insurance. The process varies by state, but you should always respond quickly when they ask you to provide information.
- Mediation. Before you decide on taking the insurance company to court, they may want to try getting a mediator — a third party who will help both of you decide on a fair solution.
- Get a lawyer. It may be a good idea to talk to a lawyer about your claim to get some legal advice. They can help you bring the case to small-claims court and bring a “bad faith” claim against an insurance company.
You never want to us it, but it’s something everyone needs. Car insurance in necessary for you to hit the road, but finding good car insurance can be tricky. Be armed with the facts and knowledge to make the best decisions for you and your family, and compare companies before you make your final decision.