So, you’ve picked out the ride you like, and have properly registered and tagged the vehicle. Congratulations! However, you’ve got another important step to take in the process of getting your car ready for the road, and that is getting car insurance policy into effect to make sure that both you and other drivers are safe while you drive.
After all, while we never expect nor want accidents to happen, but when they do, it is always comforting to know that an insurance policy is there to protect you and your assets.
To get an expert view on car insurance quotes, we talked to a used car expert, and they gave us their nine best ideas to consider when you shop for auto insurance.
1. Check Your State’s Coverage Requirements
Your state or province will require you to have specific coverages that meet the bare minimums when it comes to making a car safe for the road. This is often called “basic liability” or “liability only” coverage and is the cheapest car insurance cost. It is a fine coverage if you need auto insurance to get your car road-legal, but it is advised that you purchase as much insurance as you can afford for maximum protection. If your car is financed or leased, you will have a higher car insurance rate with higher liability and damage coverages.
2. Verify Your Mileage
When you’re talking with an insurance agent or insurance broker, they will often ask you how many miles you drive for your commute or pleasure use. Take all mileage into account, especially if your mileage has decreased for various reasons, like you’ve started working at home, or if you got a job that’s closer to your home. Or, if you get rides to work or use the bus/train to commute and leave your car at home, report that too. It is important to note that a pleasure car insurance rate will be different from a commuter rate. Thankfully, most car insurance quotes will take pleasure or commuter mileage into account; so be sure that you report it so you’re paying the right price for the risk.
Related: How Should You Document a Car Accident
3. Be Scam Savvy
We’ve all seen those (sometimes funny) YouTube videos that involve staged car accidents where scam artists try to rip off consumers who don’t know any better. When the scam is successful, they can result in insurance claims against you, which can, in turn, increase your own car insurance policy cost. Be sure to drive safely, install a dash cam into your car, and get police involved for a report even if you think the accident is too small to do so. And NEVER admit fault at the scene of an accident.
4. Discounts, Discounts, Discounts
Ask your car insurance broker, rep, or agent, what he or she can do for you in terms of lowering your car insurance rate through discounts. You can get a discount for being somebody who is in a lower risk pool (e.g. married, older, a long-standing record of safety while driving). If you’ve taken a safe driving course of any kind, ask your agent if it can be applied to your auto insurance policy.
If you’d like to take one but don’t have the time, ask your agent for an online course. Many can be done in your own home at your own pace. You often get an electronic certificate of completion and can email it right to your agent. You can also bundle your home and auto insurance in most cases for a small savings on your rates.
5. Shop Car Smart
Chances are you’ve already got a car, but if you do not, make sure that you pick out several cars when you shop. Run car insurance quotes on each and every car to see which one brings you the best rate. Both the cost to repair the car and the availability of parts are a huge factor in insurance pricing. Be sure to check the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) to see what the top-rated vehicles are.
Related: How to Choose Car Insurance: A Comprehensive Guide
6. Choose a Deductible That Works for You
A higher deductible makes your premium go down, but you will have to pay more if and when you have to use that coverage. If you have a good driving record and don’t spend much time on the road, you can probably get by with a higher deductible. Otherwise, most dealers recommend that you set your deductible at no more than $1,000. $500 is more ideal as it is an easier amount of money to come up with.
7. Pick a Great Insurance Company
Ask your friends and family which insurance company they are using and see if they like it. Go online and check to see which insurance company is #1 in your state or province. Younger insurance buyers can sometimes build their own policy off a parents’ policy, so ask your agent or rep what they can do for you.You can also use Consumer Reports or other online sites to compare car insurance to help you see which companies are tops in your area.
8. Shop Around
Every year, it is recommended that you do a car insurance rate check so that you can be sure you are getting the best price around. Online, you can find insurance comparison tools. Be warned: if you see a price that looks good, call to ask about the rate. You want to be sure that any and all accidents or tickets you’ve had are factored into the price. Often, what you see online is not what you will pay.
Related: What You Can Expect from Your Car Insurance in the New Economy
9. Keep Your Credit Good
Having good credit is important on a number of different levels, but did you know it also factors into your auto insurance, too? Those with better credit are found to have less of a risk when it comes to generating insurance prices, so get those numbers up. And if you already have insurance, do not cancel it before you start a new policy. Having a gap in insurance coverage is considered a risk. Like having a job, don’t quit until you have another lined up.
Shopping for the best car insurance is not a easy task. There’s a lot of numbers and other factors to consider when looking around for the right policy. The biggest takeaways are to ensure that you have coverage required by your state, physical damage coverage if you finance or lease your car, and the maximum amount of insurance you can afford to ensure your protection is at its highest level. Ask your agent any and all questions you have about your account. Good luck and safe driving!