If you are like most people when you receive the renewal letter from your current auto insurance company, and you see that the rates have gone out of sight, you suddenly get in the mood to shop for better rates. There is not a better time to compare car insurance rates, then at that time.
To do this properly, there are some tips that can be very helpful, not only in securing better premium rates, but to ensure that other areas receive attention as well. The first order of business is to find your current policy and look at he declaration page. This outlines the different levels of benefits that you currently have, so when you request quotes, you can request ratings on that level of benefits. In this way you will be sure that your are comparing similar benefits.
It is easy to get quick comparisons from several companies by going to einsurance.com and to esurance.com as they are easy to use with no commitment required on your part in order to get the quotes. They will request that you input your information, and then the result will give you a nicely organized chart, listing the quotes. The reason two companies are mentioned, is that you can verify that the quotes are correct because they will be the same for each company on both sites, if they are correct.
You should print copies of the results, or copy them onto a separate piece of paper for further reference. So now, the first step is completed, and we move on to step two.
Many companies will give discounts if you purchase additional insurance in other areas, such as your homeowners coverage. Go back and read about any information that is given in that regard. You may have to go to each company’s individual website for that information, or call the company for details. You can compare with your current coverage for that as well.
There may be a company or two that do not show up on either of these websites, so just go to their company website for quotes, and the same with the homeowners coverage. Other discounts may be given for a safe driving record with no tickets over the past several years, or you might get a discount if you take a defensive driving course online, or perhaps a discount for limited mileage is available. You will want to collect all the information that you can find on discounts for each company.
Try going to the Better Business Bureau, and see if there have been any complaints against any companies. If there were, it will tell if, and now they were resolved. Just because there was a complaint does not necessarily mean that it is a bad company, because people can complain about anything, but learning how the complaint was resolved is the important point that you are looking for.
If you can, check with a few local auto body shops and ask if there are any auto companies that they have had difficulty receiving payment from. You may have to read between the lines, as many merchants are reluctant to get too detailed in these areas, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. One tactic can be used if you have narrowed your list, and that would be to name a few of the companies and see what kind of a reaction you get.
Give a few of the companies a call, and judge for yourself how they answer the phone. Are they courteous, or is it a bother for them to take the time to speak with you. Try both local and home office calls. Have some specific questions when you call, and judge if they were knowledgeable and how they direct your call.
One area that many people overlook, is to make contact with a larger insurance brokerage agency in your town. These agencies usually have a long standing relationship with several companies, and they may not be companies that we see advertised all of the time.
A broker is a licensed insurance agent who represents more than one company, and picking the brain of an expert might really pay off when it comes time to compare car insurance costs and plans. Many brokerage agencies are multi-generational where the relationships with the various insurance companies go back a long way, and they may have incentives with the insurance companies that can be passed on to you.
Take your lists along when you go for the appointment, and ask questions in regard to your efforts and how the broker may be able to compete. You may be told to just continue on with your list, but on the other hand, you may find some good surprises in store as well.
The biggest reason we purchase auto insurance is because we are afraid that if we have a claim, we may suffer a serious injury or have property damage on the car. So one area that you want to cover with the broker, is to ask how claims work with his companies versus the more visible companies that we all hear about on TV all of the time. One big difference between the two is that most of the more well known companies are proprietary companies, and their agents do not sell any other company’s products. The broker can sell any company that he is licensed with, and he will have several from which to choose, giving a broader choice when the time comes to compare car insurance rates.
If nothing else, the time spent with the broker will solve one of two things. Either their companies, rates, and coverage will be superior to what you have already discovered, or it will not. In either event, you will have covered all of the bases.
Yes, it does seem like a lot of extra work, but it is worth it. You stand to save quite a bit of money if you do your homework correctly, probably to the tune of $2,000 to $3,000 a year in some cases, so a little extra legwork on your part is not really that big of a problem.