There are so many things to consider when you are in the market for auto insurance. Many of these things might not even occur to you as something you need to think about in relation to buying insurance coverage for your car. However, the more you know about the subject, the better your chances will be at finding the best coverage for the best price accompanied by the best service.
Let’s look at some of the things you will need to learn about in order to find the best of the best. First, let’s look into choosing an insurance company. There are hundreds of them out there. How in the world do you know which one to choose? Well, first you should determine your needs as to how much coverage you should have and what you want to pay as a deductible. Once you have decided on these things, you can start shopping for insurance and compare different companies, what they have to offer, and their best prices. You can secure this information by making phone calls, conducting online searches and visiting company websites, or by visiting individual insurance offices in person. You can also check with friends, family, and co-workers to see if they have any recommendations for good and reliable insurance companies. Probably the easiest of these, if you have access to a computer that is connected to the internet, is to go online and seek the information and quotes you require. Many websites are set up so you can get numerous quotes from different companies at the same time. You can then make your comparisons and maybe even your decision right from the same website.
Obviously, you will want to pay the least amount possible for your auto insurance. A low price, however, is not all you should be concerned about. You need to make sure you are getting adequate and reliable coverage that suits your circumstances as well as reputable and reliable service from the company you choose.
After receiving a few quotes, you might want to get in touch with your state’s department of insurance and check out the companies you are considering. This department keeps track of all insurance companies in the state and conducts surveys each year to rate how they compete with each other. You can see if the quotes you have obtained are in keeping with those of all the other companies in the state. Checking with the state insurance department could be a way for you to save a lot of money. It could also make you aware of consumer complaints registered against companies in the state. Now you have two comparisons, premium rates and consumer complaints, that you can make to help you choose the right company.
Contacting your favorite body shop and maybe a few others, too, can be a good way to find a good insurance company. Since they frequently work directly with these companies, they can tell you which ones they prefer to work with, the ones with the simplest and quickest processing of claims, and the ones that try to cut costs by promoting cheaper aftermarket parts instead of genuine manufacturer parts.
Basically, you should make sure the company you choose is licensed to operate in your state, is financially sound, competitive in pricing, and offers good service by answering all your questions, providing the coverage you need, and taking care of your claims honestly, efficiently, and without delay.
Now let’s go on to another question that will surely come up. Where can you buy auto insurance? There are most certainly an almost endless number of companies who offer their insurance products online. Shopping online will probably give you more choices and be more convenient. You can take all the time you want to and check into a lot of different companies to insure that you find the one that best suits your needs and you can afford. You can also go online day or night to conduct your search whenever it is convenient for you. Instant quotes and the chance to compare several at the same time make the internet a great choice for purchasing auto insurance. That doesn’t mean it is the only place you can go to find the coverage you need, though.
Purchasing from a local exclusive agent makes it possible for you to discuss the policy in person with a knowledgeable representative who can answer all of your questions and explain anything you don’t fully understand. You can be sure to get the coverage you need when you are face to face with a person who can help you assess your needs and make certain you make the right decision on what coverage to choose. An exclusive agent will sell for only one insurance company, and he will know all about that company and what it has to offer you.
You may also choose to deal with a non-exclusive agent in your area. He will be able to serve you just like an exclusive agent, but he will have a number of companies that he sells for and can give you information and quotes from more than one. So, if you have a special need, he can access all of his companies to find just what you want.
When you are looking to purchase auto insurance, you need to consider how much coverage you need. This can depend on several different things. Certain coverage is required by your state, and you will be required to purchase at least the minimum amount of coverage that the state demands. For instance, bodily injury liability is one type of coverage your state insists you carry. If you are involved in an accident with another car, it will pay for injuries to the driver and passengers of that car. It will cover passengers in your car, also. What you need to determine is the amount of coverage you need in order to protect your assets in case a lawsuit is filed against you as the result of an accident. Bodily injury insurance is sold in amounts of coverage to be paid per person in an accident with a limit of so much per accident. So, if you purchase bodily injury insurance designated as $100,000/$300,000, it would mean that each injured person could receive up to $100,000, but only up to a total of $300,000 would be paid for each accident. If you have a lower income and you rent your home instead of owning it, you could probably get by on a lower amount of coverage for bodily injury liability. On the other hand, if you have an income of $100,000, own a $200,000 home, and have savings of $30,000 or $40,000, you should consider raising the amount of bodily injury coverage high enough to protect your more valuable assets.
In the case of property damage liability, some state requirements are as little as $5000. This isn’t very much when you consider the amount of damage you could do to another person’s property with your vehicle. Keep in mind that it isn’t always another car that receives the damage. You could run into a building and do considerably more than $5000 worth of harm. If you did have an accident with another vehicle that totalled out someone’s Mercedes or Lexus, you would also need much more coverage than the minimum required by your state. To be on the safe side, a larger limit of even $100,000 would be more appropriate.
One type of insurance protection you can usually cut down on is personal injury coverage. Whether the accident is your fault or someone else’s, this coverage pays medical and funeral costs for you or your family members. So, if you have other insurance policies to cover health, life, or disability, you may not need to purchase personal injury insurance at all.
When you are in an accident with someone who either doesn’t have auto insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance, your costs will be covered if you have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage included in your policy. Also, if you are the victim of a hit and run driver, this coverage will pay medical and funeral costs that result from that encounter. With today’s economy, the number of uninsured drivers is rising constantly, so this coverage is definitely recommended. It usually costs around $40 per year to purchase $100,000 worth of this type of coverage, so it is a very small investment for considerable coverage and well worth the cost.
The other major types of coverage included in most auto policies are collision and comprehensive coverage. Collision coverage will compensate you for repairs to your car or for replacing your car if it is totally destroyed in an accident. If your car suffers any casualty as a result of theft, vandalism, or a natural disaster, comprehensive insurance coverage will come into play to reimburse you for damages. The lower the deductible for either comprehensive or collision coverage, the higher the premium will be. Most insurance representatives will recommend that you choose the highest deductible you can afford. If your car is older and less valuable, you might want to consider skipping the collision or comprehensive coverage. These two coverages account for a large portion of your total auto insurance premium, around 30% to 40%, and cover only up to the cash value of your car. In other words, the most you will be paid by the insurance company is the current Kelley Blue Book value of your vehicle. If collision and comprehensive coverage costs more than 10% of the book value of your car, a good rule to follow is to forego these coverages. If you do forego them, though, remember that any accident that is deemed your fault will mean that you pay the damages yourself. The same applies if your car is totalled or stolen.
Hopefully, this rundown of the different types of coverage has been of help in determining how much coverage you will need for your auto. Remember, though, it is always better to be safe than sorry, so get all the coverage you can afford and be over-insured rather than under-insured, if possible.
Anytime you are in the market for auto insurance, you cannot help but wonder what all goes into figuring the cost of your premiums. There are several factors that will affect the amount you pay for your auto insurance. One of the first things to affect your premium will be your driving record. If you have had accidents or traffic tickets in the past, it will cost you more when it comes to purchasing insurance. You can expect to pay more, too, if you have been out of the driving scene and not purchased auto insurance for an extended period of time. How much you drive, or the number of miles you drive each year makes a difference, too. Naturally, the more you drive, the more chances you have for being involved in accidents, so up goes your premium. This is an area, though, where many insurance companies choose to give discounts. If you drive under a certain number of miles each year, usually around 7,500 miles, or if you carpool, you will be charged less for your coverage. Another factor considered in premium costs is where you live. Certain areas such as large cities will have a much higher occurrence of accidents, thefts, and even lawsuits. The cost of car repair and medical costs might also be higher in certain places. In these cases, you can expect your auto insurance to be higher, too.
Your age will definitely affect your insurance rates. If you are very young and inexperienced or quite old with slower reflexes, your rates are usually higher. These are the age groups involved in the most accidents. Mature drivers over the age of 25 are considered to be safer and less of a risk because they are involved in fewer accidents. Consequently, they will be given the better insurance rates.
If you drive a very expensive vehicle, it is going to be higher on the “hit list” for thieves than a “clunker” worth only a few hundred dollars. It will also cost more to repair if it is damaged in an accident. So, the type of vehicle you drive, its cost, safety record, theft appeal, and cost of repairs are all combined to form a basis for adding to or lowering the insurance premiums charged for it.
Of course, another element to be considered in pricing insurance is the insurance itself. How much coverage you want is certainly going to affect the price you pay. And, again, the general way of things will insure that the more coverage you have, the more you will pay for it.
Now lets consider something that you may not think about as having an affect on the price of your auto insurance. That something is your credit rating. What on earth does your credit have to do with anything that relates to auto insurance? Well, if you have poor credit, insurance companies will label you as a poor risk. They believe poor credit indicates more likelihood of your having an accident, filing claims against your insurance policy, and not paying your insurance premiums in a responsible manner. Even if you have an impeccable driving record, you could still be charged higher insurance premiums than someone who has a bad driving record if your credit history is not favorable. Poor credit can increase the cost of your policy, and it can also be a deciding factor as to whether or not a company will even issue a policy to you. On the average, premiums will be from 15% to 45% higher for a person who has poor credit than for a person with a good credit rating. So, before buying an auto insurance policy, get a copy of your credit report and make sure everything is correct and up to date. Do what you can to make it the best possible report before you apply for insurance. It could save you a considerable sum. If you are looking to replace the policy you currently have, and your credit has gone downhill since you took it out, you might want to reconsider and keep the policy you have. It could cost you quite a lot more if the new company looks at your credit before issuing your new policy.
Part of the reasoning behind using credit history in determining insurance rates is to strengthen competition in the market and to enable companies to offer more products to a larger number of customers. More competition makes it possible for customers who are financially accountable to be given the best premium rates, instead of being made to suffer by paying higher rates that will compensate for the company’s higher risk customers.
State law will decide whether your insurance company can access your credit information to determine your insurance rates. Some states do not allow the use of your credit information, but most do because statistics prove that people with lower credit ratings are more apt to initiate insurance claims than those who have good credit. When your credit report reveals that you have a tendency toward making late payments, defaulting on loans, or have filed for bankruptcy, this warns the insurance company that you might easily be at high risk for making your premium payments late, too, or not making them at all and having your policy with them cancelled for non-payment.
Your credit rating can affect your insurance rates, but it can also affect the choices you are given on how you can pay for your coverage. Some companies reward their customers who pay their premiums in advance or use the direct-debit method as their payment option. Customers who have poor or questionable credit do not receive these offers and often have to set up auto-withdrawal from their bank account in order to get the insurance company to accept them at all.
Insurance companies calculate what they call an insurance score using various information, some of which comes from your credit report. This score gives them a clearer vision of the risk they are taking when they issue a policy to you. Insurance scores are based on different things such as your payment record, whether you have filed bankruptcy, the amount of debt you have, and the length of your credit history. Being responsible and paying your bills on time will make a favorable impact on your insurance score. On the other hand, if you are often late with payments, it will have a negative result on your insurance score and could raise the cost of your insurance policy. Each company uses its own formula to calculate your insurance score, so it will not be the same from company to company. For this reason, you should make it a point to shop around and check with several different companies to get the best policy and price.
When you approach an insurance company concerning an insurance policy for your car, they will need certain information from you to get the ball rolling. In order to give you a quote, they will need to know the make, model, and year of your car. They will also ask you approximately how many miles you drive each year. If others besides yourself drive your vehicle, the insurance company or agent will want a list of those drivers along with their driving records and other pertinent information about them such as their age and so forth. As the company representative or agent continues, he will ask for more details. He will probably request your vehicle identification number. He may also want to know how the vehicle is equipped. Does it have air bags, anti-lock brakes, or anti-theft mechanisms? Your current insurance situation will be of interest to the company, also. Are you currently insured for any other type of coverage with this company that might make you eligible for a multi-policy discount? Are you currently insured with another company, and how long have you been insured with them? If you or any other drivers of your vehicle have taken any driving courses, or if any drivers of your car are students who are earning good grades, be sure to mention this to the agent as these things might also qualify you for discounts on your policy. You will also need to tell the agent what kind of coverage you want to purchase for your auto and how much you are willing to pay as a deductible. Your own personal driver information will be noted, too, such as your gender, marital status, date of birth, education, occupation, and what type of credit rating you have. The company will want to know if you have had any traffic tickets, accidents, or insurance claims in the last few years. Then, of course, you will be asked for your contact information which would include your name, address, primary phone number, and perhaps your email address.
After you have supplied answers to all the agent’s questions and given him all the information he has asked for, the agent will give you a premium quote for the coverage you have requested. It will be calculated through the use of all the information you have just made available to the company or agent. Depending on what deductibles you choose, you may be able to lower the quotes more if you need to.
When you are shopping for insurance, you want to save as much money as you can. Insurance is often looked upon as a necessary evil. It is something you have to have but really don’t want because you have to pay for it regardless of whether you use it or not. There are ways, however, to cut the costs somewhat if you are willing to do what it takes. One of the first and probably most important ways to save money on your auto insurance is to shop around. Go online or contact as many companies as possible to compare rates, coverage, and service. Doing this online should not take long as you can access information covering all the different aspects you want to know about in only a few minutes. When contacting the different companies, be sure to ask them about the various discounts they offer. Most companies will have several types of discounts, and you may be able to qualify for several. One of the best and most popular discounts is given for purchasing all of your different policies with the same company. The discount for having your life insurance, homeowners, vehicle insurance, umbrella liability policies, and health coverage all with the same insurance provider can mean a substantial amount of savings. In addition, it can be more convenient to have all your insurance needs under one company.
Some other discounts that are usually available are multi-car discounts, senior discounts, and claim free discounts. These are pretty much self-explanatory through their name. If you insure more than one vehicle with the same company, your premium will be lowered by a certain percentage. With some companies the senior discount will be offered to customers who are 50 years of age. Other companies offer it at age 55 or 62. The claim-free discounts, naturally, are offered when you don’t file any claims against your policy over a certain amount of time, usually at least a year.
You can also earn a discount if you are a student and have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher or if one of the drivers of your vehicle is such a student. Many companies will discount up to 25% for good students, so good grades can definitely help offset the higher cost of insurance for young drivers. Besides lowering premiums for good students, many insurance companies will lower them for customers who have taken certain classes, like safe driving courses and classes for defensive driving. These can usually add up to around a 10% discount.
Being a member of certain groups or associations is another good way to save money on auto insurance. Membership in groups such as military, your alma mater, certain professional organizations, large employers, or even a retirement group might qualify you for a nice discount on your premium.
Certain equipment or safety features on your vehicle will often mean additional discounts on the cost of your auto insurance. Things like airbags, seat belts, anti-lock brakes, and anti-theft devices all decrease the amount of risk taken by the insurance company to a certain degree, and they are usually willing to reward car owners who have these things installed on their vehicle with a discount on their premium. Also, if you drive under a certain number of miles each year or have been a longtime and loyal customer, you might be given a lower price on your insurance coverage. Don’t forget to make your agent or company aware of all these different details so you can receive all the discounts you are entitled to. You may save a lot of money by doing so.
Anytime you have an accident and file a claim on your comprehensive or collision coverage, there is a certain amount of money you will be required to pay toward any damages before the policy begins to pay on the claim. This amount is know as your deductible. You will be given the chance to choose one of several deductible amounts. The larger deductible you are willing and able to pay, the lower your insurance premium will be, so this is an area where you can save money on your auto insurance policy. Always make sure you ask about the deductible rates and how they can affect the amount of your insurance premium. You could save as much as 40% by raising your deductible amount to $1000 instead of setting it to as little as $200. Be sure, however, to choose an amount you can afford to pay should you have a claim.
Still one more way to cut the cost and save on your auto insurance is to purchase only the coverage you need. Make sure you have a thorough understanding of the different types of coverage that is available so you can weigh the facts and decide just what coverage and how much coverage you want to purchase. If your car is new or nearly new, or if you have a bank loan against it, you will need to purchase comprehensive and collision coverage. In fact, your bank will probably require proof of insurance coverage until you have paid off the loan. If, however, your car is older and not worth a lot of money, it may not be worth it to purchase collision or comprehensive coverage.
If you own a vehicle or vehicles that you aren’t driving, don’t pay for insurance coverage on them. Save money by removing them from your policy until you do start driving them. There is no need to waste money on insuring them if they aren’t being used. You could, however, purchase comprehensive coverage for them so they would be protected from theft, vandalism, and natural disasters.
The list of ways to save money on your auto insurance seems to go on and on. To mention a few more ways to save, always drive safely and try to maintain a good driving record with no history of accidents, especially ones that are your fault. Be sure to drive the speed limit, stop at all stop signs, and obey all traffic rules. Violations on your driving record can be a costly mistake on your part, and they will remain on your record and have an impact on your insurance rates for up to five years. You should also keep your credit rating as favorable as possible. Statistics show that people who have good credit are less apt to file insurance claims, so having a favorable credit history can mean lower rates on your auto insurance. Don’t drive any more than you have to. With some companies you can save up to 10% on your premium if you drive less than 5000 miles per year.
Everyone who owns and drives a car or lets someone else drive it needs to have auto insurance. As mentioned before, the state you live in requires certain coverage if you want to license and use your vehicle. Insurance is for your protection as well as the protection of other drivers on the road. In obtaining the proper auto insurance, you need to be vigilant and do all you can do to get the right coverage and the right amount of coverage for your own personal situation. Be sure to follow the various ways that have been presented here to help you make the best insurance decisions and avoid some of the common mistakes that insurance buyers so often make. Let’s look at some of those mistakes to make you aware of them. Maybe we can prevent you from making them yourself.
Probably the number one mistake that people make when purchasing insurance coverage is choosing deductible amounts that are too low and, therefore, much more expensive. Most people think, “Gee, I don’t want to have to pay $1000 or more if I have an accident, especially when I am paying for insurance to cover it.” It is easy to agree with the way they are thinking, but there is another way to look at it. Choosing that $200 deductible seems like it would be a lot cheaper, but your premium will be considerably higher. You buy insurance only on the chance that you will have to use it. The premium has to be paid regardless of whether you use the insurance or not. It could easily go on for years before you have to file a claim for an accident. If you have the higher deductible, you could be saving money on your premium for all those years, and it would be the other way around if you chose the lower deductible. In that case, you would be paying much higher premiums and those savings would be lost. What you pay in higher premiums could easily make up the difference of what you would pay for your deductible should you have a claim. Most people will go through life making only a few claims on their insurance policies, so chances are they will be money ahead to pay less premiums on higher deductibles rather than more premiums on lower deductibles.
Another common mistake made when purchasing auto insurance is to not combine your car, homeowner’s, life insurance, and other insurance policies so they are all with the same company. This could save you up to 15% on each policy’s premium as well as afford you the convenience of having them all in one place. Payment could be set up so they could all be paid at the same time making it a lot easier to keep track of.
Don’t make the mistake of choosing your insurance company simply because it has the lowest price on auto insurance. Low prices are great, but you should also make sure that the company you choose provides great service that is honest, quick, and efficient. It is imperative that the company be in sound financial order, too. After all, if your insurance company has gone broke and no longer in business by the time you need to make a claim, those low premiums won’t mean much, will they?
Purchasing only the minimums required by your state very often turns out to be an error in judgment when you are buying insurance coverage. Lawsuits run rampant in today’s world and settlement amounts can be very high. This means that you will probably have to pay a lot out of your own pocket if you choose to buy only the minimum amount of liability coverage. Consider your situation, your assets, and how much it would take to protect them against lawsuits in case of an accident. You should then purchase as much of that amount as you can afford to in insurance coverage.
Many people make the mistake of never reviewing their insurance policy again after having purchased it. They assume all is well and just let it ride while they continue to pay the premiums. They need to remember that things change over time, and their insurance needs might not be the same as they were when they purchased their policy. Their teenaged children who once drove the car on a regular basis and increased the premiums have grown up and no longer live at home or drive the car. Changes like these come along, and you don’t really give them any thought in regards to how they affect your insurance policy. You should develop the practice of reviewing your policy each year and making any applicable changes that will save you money.
It can also be a faux pas if you are looking to replace your auto insurance through another company and you wait to start shopping until just the day before your current policy is to renew. In many cases, quote process comparisons have revealed that shopping more than a week before the renewal date will get you a lower rate than if you wait until just before it to do your insurance shopping.
So far we have learned about how to choose an insurance company, where to buy insurance, how much coverage you need, and what factors are combined to determine the price of your policy. We have also discussed what your credit rating has to do with buying insurance, what information you will need to share with your insurance agent or company, several tips and ways to save money on auto insurance, and mistakes to avoid when obtaining auto insurance coverage. Let’s move on now to some of the stories and fallacies you have always heard about and wondered if they were true.
You have surely been told if you drive a red car, you will be charged the highest rates for insurance because red cars seem bright, sporty, and fast and will be targeted by law enforcement officers for speeding tickets, right? Well, you can enter that one in the false column. The color of your vehicle has absolutely no bearing on the premium you pay to insure it. Think about it, do you ever remember being asked by your agent or company what color your car was? Some things about your car will matter to insurance providers like the year, make, model, body type, or engine size, but color isn’t one of them.
Here is something else you may have always believed. Let’s say you had an accident in which your car was deemed a total loss. Your insurance will pay for a new one, right? Don’t you wish? In truth, however, most auto insurance policies only pay you the current “actual cash value” of your vehicle, not what it would cost to replace it with a new one just like it. You are usually, however, able to buy what is called gap insurance to cover the difference between your car’s actual cash value and any amount you may owe on it. This could be a big help if you happen to be leasing your vehicle. The pay off on it could very likely be in excess of the insurance settlement.
Did you ever nearly panic when you got a speeding ticket or were involved in a “fender bender” because you just knew your insurance premium would raise through the roof? Lots of other drivers have thought the same thing. In most cases, though, your rates will not go up after only one ticket or accident. In fact, some states will not allow insurance companies to raise your rates due to only one mishap.
If you have ever loaned your car to a friend or relative who ended up having an accident with it, you may have been under the mistaken impression that his or her car insurance would cover any damages. Normally, it would be your auto insurance that would pay. If the friend or relative had insurance of their own, however, their insurance policy might have to help pay the damages. That would be up to the insurance companies to sort out. In a case such as this, your own insurance rates might go up as a result of your claim.
Another frequent misconception regarding your auto insurance is that your car is always covered if it is stolen or damaged by vandals, storms, or other acts of nature. Well, this may be true, but only if you carry comprehensive coverage on your vehicle. It is the form of coverage necessary in these types of incidents. Generally, if your car isn’t being driven and isn’t in motion, any damage it receives is covered by comprehensive coverage. Exceptions to this rule are accidents involving deer and your car being struck by another when it is parked.
Still another myth you may have always thought to be true is your having to accept repair work done by a repair shop designated by your insurance company. Some companies require that you use certain body/repair shops that are a part of their “Direct Repair Program.” If work done by that shop is not done correctly or completely, you are legally within your rights when you demand the work be redone. If this happens to you, have a dealership’s service department assess the work done to the damaged area. Insist on a full wheel alignment if the vehicle was in a hard collision. The equipment used in dealership’s service departments is much more sophisticated and may well turn up further damage that wasn’t detected earlier. Next, go to your insurance company and inform them of the dealership’s assessment and insist that they honor their repair warranty and arrange to have the repairs done correctly.
If you want to cancel your insurance policy, you may think it can be done simply by not paying your insurance bill. This is one more instance where “insurance myths” are misleading. In reality, most companies give you a 30 day grace period before they will discontinue your coverage. Even if you are planning to cancel your coverage or have gotten it elsewhere, you are actually liable by law for paying the premiums for this period. Failure to do so can be reflected as an unfavorable mark on your credit report. If you no longer want the coverage you have been paying for, the best thing to do is call your insurance company or send them written notice directing them to cancel your existing policy. This will relieve you of any further responsibility to pay after the cancellation date.
There are undoubtedly a lot more misconceptions or myths floating around about auto insurance, but the final ones we will mention right now concern calls to your insurance company and whether you should trust insurance adjusters. Perhaps you have been in a minor accident and are debating about whether you should file an insurance claim or just pay for the damages yourself. Your thought is to call your company and ask if it is worth it to file a claim on your policy. There is surely no harm in calling, right? Well, that isn’t necessarily so. Anytime you call about an accident, your company will initiate a claim file. By doing this, the company can charge higher premiums when renewal time comes around because the claim-free discount will no longer be applicable. Even if the policyholder never carries through with the claim or collects any payment, the company will proceed in this manner. If this type of situation comes up, you should get an estimate for the cost of repairs to make sure filing a claim would be worthwhile and the repair costs would be more than your deductible. If they are not, don’t contact your insurance provider and give them the chance to open a claim. Also, don’t naturally assume you can trust an adjuster sent by your insurance company. Keep in mind that the adjuster’s loyalty lies with the company, and it will be his first priority. He may seem to be concerned with your best interests but will make suggestions that will actually be of benefit to the insurance company. Don’t be too quick to accept the adjuster’s suggestions on how to settle your claim. If you believe he is only interested in taking the cheap way out for his company, speak up and let him know how you feel. You might even suggest that you are considering hiring a public adjuster. Rather than have to confront a professional public adjuster, he might back down from his standpoint and become a little more reasonable.
There are situations when you may have a difficult time finding auto insurance coverage. If you have a driving record that is far from perfect, you may have this trouble. As mentioned before, your state will require you to have a certain amount of auto insurance before you can legally operate your vehicle. If for some reason or another, insurance companies where you have applied for coverage have denied your applications, don’t dispair or give up your search for insurance. You have options available to you and should be able to find the coverage you need.
Lots of different reasons may cause you difficulty in finding auto coverage provided by regular insurance companies. One of the most common reasons is a poor driving record that tells the insurance provider you may be more of a risk for them to insure than the average driver. If you have previously had an insurance policy cancelled by your insurance company, this may be reason enough for another company to turn you down. The previous cancellation could indicate to them that you were at fault. If you have a poor credit history and have continually made late payments or no payments at all on your debts and financial obligations, insurance providers will look on this with disfavor and may refuse to provide you with coverage. Also, your personal information provided in your application may give the company reason to turn down your request for coverage. Each bit of this information is assessed and weighed by the provider in order for them to gain the truest picture of what risk they will be taking by providing you with coverage. If what they find indicates you would be a high risk for them, they will refuse to accept your application. If they do refuse, you should still be able to get coverage, but it will probably cost you considerably more money. Let’s look now at the options you have in obtaining coverage after denial by regular providers. If needed, you can contact an insurance agent or your state insurance department for assistance with either of these options.
Your first choice of action should probably be to find a list of “high risk” providers. These are usually found in abundance on the internet and may be either independent companies or ones who are linked with major insurance companies. There specialty, however, is providing insurance coverage for customers who are considered as “high risk” or who have need of a “non-standard” policy. Needless to say, you will find what they have to offer you does not have quite the appeal of the terms you would receive from a regular insurer, but your situation puts you at their mercy. You do not have nearly as many choices as you would have if there were no reason to deny you coverage in the first place. For now, you will just have to “grin and bear it” and pay the considerably higher price until such a time when your situation has changed, and you can return to shopping for standard auto insurance.
The next option you have to find insurance coverage if you are denied it through regular sources is to apply for inclusion in your state’s assigned risk pool. You can do this after you have been refused coverage by at least three providers. The risk pool is made up of all the companies in the state, and they are required by the state to accept a designated number of drivers in a sort of random pool. The number of applications they must accept is determined by the amount of business they do within the state voluntarily. Income from some of these drivers may be of benefit to these companies, but, at the same time, they may have to suffer a loss from others. At any rate, this is probably your last opportunity to secure auto insurance coverage, so be prepared to pay a higher cost here, too. Simply take consolation in the fact that you have now obtained the coverage you need, and put your focus on improving your circumstances so that a few years from now you will be able to go back to purchasing your auto insurance from a regular company at a regular rate.
With all we have discussed in this article, it is still difficult to decide just how much coverage you need to purchase, and even after you have decided, you are still not sure if the amount you paid for is enough or too much. There is one inexpensive and simple way to put an end to your uncertainty, though. In addition to your auto insurance, you can also purchase an umbrella liability policy to pick up when your auto policy stops paying. In case of a lawsuit against you, the umbrella policy will start to pay after your auto policy has paid out all they are going to pay. In order to be able to purchase an umbrella policy, you must have an auto policy in force. Many companies will sell you the umbrella policy if you have a minimum of $300,000 liability on your auto policy. Umbrella coverage is sold in sectors of $1,000,000, and is very reasonably priced. You can usually purchase $1,000,000 worth of coverage for around $150 to $300 per year. A second million in coverage would cost about another $75 per year, and additional millions would be around $50 each per year. Umbrella coverage will cover most of your property including homes, autos, and boats.
Umbrella policies also come highly recommended to pool owners. Should anyone, either invited or uninvited, be injured or drown in your pool, who would you think is responsible? You guessed it. It is you, and chances are good that you will be very glad you purchased additional protection in the form of an umbrella liability insurance policy.
So much of the time lawsuits stemming from accidents end up totaling way more than the $300,000 liability on your auto policy will cover. If more than one person is injured or there are fatalities, the amount involved could easily be a million dollars or more, so purchasing an umbrella policy could be the wisest decision you ever made. The extra $15 to $25 per month in additional premiums will hardly be noticeable when you pay your insurance bill. The umbrella policy is one you really cannot afford to be without. The peace of mind that such a small amount can buy you is immeasurable and so very worth the price.
One subject we haven’t touched on yet is rental car insurance. You may be wondering if your insurance policy will pay to rent a car after yours has been damaged or destroyed in an accident. Or, you may not have a clear understanding of the insurance offered by car rental companies when you go to rent a vehicle. Should you purchase it or not? Let’s look into these concerns and see if we can get a better understanding of insurance as it relates to rental cars.
In regard to whether or not your auto insurance policy will pay for a rental car if your vehicle is disabled in an accident, it may surprise you to learn that most policies do not automatically cover this. The coverage is usually available but has to be added to your policy as a Rental Reimbursement option. It is very inexpensive, usually a dollar or two per month, and will pay the cost of renting a car while yours is being fixed or while you look to buy a different one to replace your damaged one. In their quest to obtain the cheapest premium possible, many people will pass on buying the Rental Reimbursement coverage only to find later they should have included it. Keep in mind, though, that Rental Reimbursement coverage on your insurance policy only reimburses you for the cost of renting a car to use while your damaged one is being repaired or replaced. It does not pay for any damage you do to the rental car while you are renting it, or for other damage you cause while driving the rental car.
Depending on your policy, your Rental Reimbursement coverage may or may not have set limits for each day and each accident. If it does have these limits, you will only be paid up to these amounts if you have a claim.
If your damaged vehicle can still be driven safely, your Rental Reimbursement usually will not start until repair work actually begins on your car. If, on the other hand, your car is not safe to drive or completely unfit to drive, you will usually be given the go ahead to rent another vehicle as soon as you file your claim. Usually, you can continue to rent a replacement vehicle until your damaged one is repaired and drivable again or until the time limit, if you have one, expires. If your damaged car was totalled and has to be replaced, you should start looking for its replacement as soon as possible because you will probably be limited on the amount of time you are allowed to rent a car.
Some insurance companies will have a certain rental company they partner with and will encourage you to rent your car from that company. However, you have the right to choose any rental company you prefer. Usually, you will be allowed to rent a car that compares to your own damaged one. Sometimes, though, if you have limits on your reimbursement coverage, you may want to rent a car with daily rates that don’t exceed your daily limits, or you will have to pay the difference out of your own pocket. If it is going to take quite a long time to get the repairs done on your car, you may want to rent a car with lower rates, too, so your reimbursement limit will stretch further and allow you to rent longer.
When you go to a rental agency to arrange for a car, you are always asked if you want to purchase the additional insurance coverage they offer. Very often this insurance is not really needed if you have full coverage auto insurance of your own. In certain situations, however, it may be a good idea. It is a decision for you to make after you have weighed the pros and cons and see which way the scale tips. Be aware, though, that when you rent a car, some kind of insurance is a must. Whether it is obtained through your own personal auto insurance provider, the rental company, or the credit card company whose card you used to pay for the rental, you must get it from somewhere.
Liability protection, personal accident insurance, accidental death coverage, and personal belongings coverage are all usually offered by rental car companies. What they push the hardest, however, is their Collision Damage Waiver. It is also sometimes referred to as Optional Vehicle Protection or a Loss Damage Waiver. This waiver states that the renter will not be held liable or have to pay for the rented vehicle if it is stolen or for any damage to the rented vehicle. This form of insurance is usually very expensive and averages from $9 to $19 per day. It is usually not necessary, as mentioned before, if you have your own full coverage auto insurance. But, in some cases, it can prove to be beneficial to the renter. Someone who is considered to be accident prone could certainly benefit from it. If the customer is renting a car in a foreign country, the Collision Damage Waiver might be his only option for coverage. A renter who is on a business trip and has an expense account that will cover the cost may as well have the added protection. For the most part, however, unless it is the only option for coverage, insurance offered by the car rental companies is probably not the best choice. Most of the time your own auto insurance policy will also cover a rental car. Collision coverage and liability coverage on your insurance policy usually states that you are covered in any vehicle you are driving even if you don’t own it. This would apply to a rental car, so coverage from your own personal policy should be sufficient.
Although we haven’t touched on every aspect of auto insurance, we have covered several and have learned several steps to take in order to find the best insurance and the best price. Let’s try to sum up what we have learned. You should always check out an insurance company before you purchase a policy from them. Make sure the company is reputable, financially sound, and will give you the service you want and deserve. Find out how it is rated through the Insurance Bureau and contact your state’s insurance commissioner to see if any complaints have been made against it. When purchasing auto insurance, be sure to get adequate coverage. Always remember that if you don’t have the insurance coverage to pay for damages, injuries, and medical costs, you could end up losing your home and other assets. It goes without saying that you will want to keep premiums as low as possible, but don’t put all you own at risk just to save a few dollars. Be sure to list everyone on your policy who will be driving your vehicle. With many policies, if they should have an accident and are not listed as a driver, there will be no insurance coverage. No coverage means you will be obligated to pay all the costs yourself. Always be honest and truthful with your insurance company or agent. The information you enter on your insurance application will be checked by the company. If it is discovered that you haven’t told the truth about something, any claim you file may be denied on the grounds of misrepresentation. Finally, if you drive, drive insured. To do otherwise is illegal and will put everything you own at risk.