There probably aren't very many, if any, drivers that look forward to buying auto insurance. If you're like most people, you feel that you have an overwhelming task when it comes to sifting through dozens of companies and agents to find the ideal insurer for your vehicle and unique financial situation. The process can leave you feeling unrewarded and irritated as you think about writing a check for a policy that you hope you'll never need to use.
On the other hand, you know that having auto insurance is a necessity that can be the difference between a financial catastrophe and enduring a minor inconvenience if you were to have an auto accident. Furthermore, there are steps you can take that make the act of buying insurance less painful and complicated.
The following four rules of thumb can help you drastically simplify the process, while still getting the best auto insurance policy for your needs:
1. Don't forget to consider the size and type of vehicle you drive when you choose your limits.
Insurers will not sell you a policy that is less than the minimum requirements for your state. However, that doesn't mean that you should mistakenly opt for auto insurance limits based on the minimum amount required. Depending on the size and type of vehicle you drive, the bare minimum may not be enough to fully cover you if you should have an auto accident. For example, let's say that you've selected the $10,000 minimum property damage amount set by your state, you drive an SUV or large truck, and you hit and cause $22,000 in damage to a brand new Mercedes. Since you're only covered for $10,000, you will pay the remaining $12,000 out of your pocket.
2. Be forthcoming and honest with insurers.
Even if you think it won't be favorable on your premiums, it's extremely important for you to just tell it like it is when you're asked about your driving history. You can choose to be less than truthful regarding your moving violations and auto accidents, but you won't be given an accurate quote. This wastes both your time and the insurers, as all insurers will check your driving record themselves and make adjustments to the quote based on your actual driving record. Be honest from the start and you will save time by getting accurate quotes that you'll be able to compare side-by-side.
3. Look at the whole picture.
It's tempting to opt for the insurer offering the lowest rate, but cheapest isn't always the best deal. Know exactly what you're getting for your insurance dollars and pay careful attention to the fine print in the contract. Unusually low rates have a catch. Would you rather pay low rates with an insurer offering substandard service, or slightly higher rates with an insurer offering an attractive package and reliable 24/7 customer service? Are options on repairs and parts an important option to have? Is it price or convenience that's at the top of your priorities? These are questions only you can answer in choosing your insurer.
4. Don't waste insurance dollars on duplicate coverage.
Look at all your auto coverages and ensure options aren't being paid for twice. For example, AAA members most likely have their towing costs already covered and wouldn't need a policy with roadside assistance.
Finding the best auto insurance policy isn't always fun or easy. However, by following a few rules of thumb during the selection process, you can certainly save yourself a lot of money, frustration, time, and regret.