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Insurance Buying Tips Every Car Owner Should Know

Buying car insurance can be confusing.  Sorting through different types of coverage, deductable amounts and the fine print in our policy is a chore that most of us enjoy about as much as a trip to the dentist.  The fact is that most of us never read the fine print on our insurance policy, instead settling on the fact that we’ve purchased our state’s minimum requirement for auto coverage. But taking the time to understand your auto insurance policy is an important part of making sure you’re adequately protected.  Here are some tips to make buying car insurance a bit less confusing:

Look beyond the price tag.  Of course you want to save money on your auto insurance – who doesn’t?  But as with all things, a cheap price tag doesn’t necessarily save you bucks in the long run. If you have an accident and your insurer doesn’t service your claim quickly and efficiently, it will cost you time and aggravation that isn’t worth the bargain price.  Check the insurer’s customer claims record before you buy.

All insurers are not alike.  Sure a fly-by-night company will offer you a great rate, but if their phone’s been disconnected when you call to file a claim, you’re up the creek without a paddle.  Don’t wait until you’ve had an accident to find out that your bargain basement insurer with the too-good-to-be-true deal has gone out of business. Check their financial strength rating to make sure they’re legit before you buy. You want a company with at least an A rating from Standard & Poor’s or an AA ranking from Moody’s Investor Service.

Don’t always settle for the minimum coverage.  Let your driving habits guide you as to what coverage you need. Most insurers recommend minimum liability coverage of $50,000 bodily injury liability for one person and $100,000 total injuries per accident.  $25,000 property damage coverage is recommended per accident. If you rarely drive and have a clean record, your state minimums are probably fine, but if you’re on the road a lot in dangerous driving conditions like heavy traffic or dangerous roads, you should probably get more coverage.

All car repairs aren’t alike.  Insurers often cut their costs by paying only for replacement car parts made by companies other than the car’s original equipment manufacturer (OEM). Oftentimes, these parts aren’t up to snuff.  Make sure your insurer covers OEM replacement parts for your vehicle.

Follow these tips and you’ll avoid potholes on the road to purchasing the right car insurance coverage.