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Given that car insurance is legally mandated if you operate a vehicle, it is important to find an insurance policy at the best rates by doing some comparison-shopping. Car insurance bills can be prohibitively expensive. So increasingly, customers are using the Internet to find policies that best match their requirements by comparing various options such as available discounts, different forms of coverage, among others.
As car insurance companies flood the market with myriad and sometimes bewildering options, you can avoid the confusion and get the best insurance policy by typing your ZIP code into the FREE toolbox!
According to CNN Money, if you are a customer looking to buy car insurance, you are a statistic, a set of risks for the automobile insurance company. Factors such as your driving history, the car you drive, as well as information unrelated to driving such as your occupation, your location and credit scores are used by companies to approve your application for insurance, and determine your insurance premium. Since each car insurance company has its own method of evaluation, you can get an astonishing range of prices for the exact same coverage. Therefore, it is important to examine all coverage options available, and understand all the associated terms and conditions.
Reasons for Comparing Car Insurance Online
According to the American Automobile Association or as it is popularly known, the AAA, the cost of owning and operating a vehicle in the United States has risen in the past year. The AAA’s 2012 Your Driving Cost Study found that if you own a sedan, your costs went up by 1.9%. Most of these costs are attributed to rising fuel and tire costs, as well as other expenditures. Given such rise in your automobile costs, you should try to make sure that you aren’t paying more than required for your car insurance.
According to insurance experts, it is important to compare car insurance rates once a year. This is recommended even if you are satisfied with your car insurance policy.
In some cases, you can save a pretty bundle by changing your automobile insurance carrier. Some of the reasons for comparing car insurance policies are listed here.
As stated above, the cost of the exact same coverage varies depending on the company. Each car insurance company uses its own formula to calculate your insurance premium. Some of the factors used by car insurance companies include your driving record, your personal claims history, your residence or office location, your credit history, your car model and color, among a host of others. So don’t be surprised if you get a wide range of prices for the identical coverage. A little research can help you find the right insurance at the lowest price.
Car insurance companies regularly change their rates, as well as their terms and conditions. In a competitive market, car insurance companies are constantly updating their offers, from lower rates to new discounts. Additionally, car insurance companies create special incentives such as accident forgiveness or shrinking premiums that can substantially affect your insurance bill. As companies constantly adjust their offers to remain attractive and be heard in the cacophony of the automobile insurance market, you are likely to find better deals through comparison-shopping.
You might need new or additional coverage because of changes in your life. It is important to factor in any transformations that might have occurred within your family. Since car insurance costs vary widely depending on whether you are insuring a young family, a family with teens, or a senior driver, it is imperative that you compare car insurance rates every year, depending on new requirements. Some of the important reasons to seek and compare new car insurance quotes include getting married, buying a home or a new car, and children turning 15, among a host of others.
Another major reason to check car insurance rates is if you have moved location. The rates for the identical coverage can vary widely depending on where you live. For instance, comprehensive coverage can be much higher in regions that are known for high incidence of natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, or flooding.
Comparing Car Insurance
The Insurance Information Institute quotes a January 2012 report from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners that found the average auto insurance expenditure had dropped from $789 in 2008 to $785 in 2009 (the latest data). However minimal the change is, the drop in price indicates the possibility of savings. So it is imperative to take advantage of this industry wide decrease and reduce your own insurance bill.
The Internet is an amazing tool for comparison-shopping. Based on your location, you can easily find a plethora of insurance rates, policies, and companies within minutes. But it is important to do due diligence and make sure that all your needs are being met at the best possible price.
Read all the fine print and make sure that you dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s. Sometimes the cheapest rate might not equate to the best policy. So make informed and well-researched decisions.
Compare the Car Insurance Companies
Once you have narrowed down your policy and premium rates to the best of those offered, choose your insurance policy after carefully examining the details of the car insurance company. According to A.M. Best Company, an established and recognized global full-service credit rating agency, the financial rating of the car insurance company you choose should be excellent or superior.
Even though it is not a warranty, Best’s financial strength rating indicates the company’s ability to meet its ongoing insurance policy and contract obligations. Their analysis is based on indicators such as the company’s balance sheet numbers, operating performance, and business profile.
Compare Additional Features of the Company
While an insurance company might meet all your present needs, make sure it offers you the flexibility to add on other options such as roadside assistance, rental reimbursement, and additional warranties, among others.
Another important factor to consider could be the locations and numbers of their repair service centers, as well as the flexibility of the company in allowing you to choose your own repairperson.
Also if you were to consider bundling your insurance needs such as life insurance, home insurance, and boat insurance etc., make sure the insurance company you choose has a wider range of insurance services. Such information is usually provided on their company websites.
Compare Methods of Payment
Some car insurance companies might require direct or automatic withdrawal, or credit card payment. This could make a difference if you don’t have those options available.
Additionally some car insurance companies might give you a discount if you were to pay your premiums in lump sums for a year or for three-six months. This could help you save a few dollars!
Compare Customer Reviews
The Internet is a powerful tool for consumer research. With a click of a button, customers can upload reviews of the company based on their experiences. Multiple web sites focus on reviews of car insurance companies and can guide you in making your decision.
You can also ask your family and friends for their opinions about the car insurance companies you are comparing. Some of them might be using one of the companies you are considering.
Additionally, you should be open to the idea of researching a company that is new to you but has excellent rating, reviews, and rates.
Compare Customer Service
Most companies provide fantastic service when they are wooing you to sign the dotted line. But it is their customer service later on, when you need their help that matters.
Compare their customer service hours, and the time lines in their claims centers, both online as well as their local agents. Major industry awards, as well as recognition of local offices from their corporate centers are also good indicators of their level of service.
Reducing Car Insurance Rates
While due diligence and dedicated research into car insurance rates and companies will help you save money, there are other steps that you can take to further shrink your car insurance bill. Besides comparing car insurance online, you can do the following:
- Increase your deductible as much as is financially possible for you. This will reduce your monthly bill substantially.
- Don’t carry comprehensive coverage for an older car. Do the math to see if the numbers make financial sense.
- If you don’t drive a lot, ask your car insurance company for a low mileage discount. After all, the less you are on the road, the lesser the chance of getting into an automobile accident.
- Bundle your insurance. If you get life, home, and auto insurance from the same company, you will likely save a sizeable sum of money.
- Get as many discounts as possible. Car insurance companies give many incentives to drivers to minimize poor driving and consequently, reduce the number of car accidents on the road. Some of these discounts include good driver, senior citizen, and good student, among others.
- Raise your credit score. Even though car insurance is not directly connected to your personal credit rating, car insurance companies use the three FICO numbers to determine your level of financial responsibility. A poor credit rating indicates the inability to make monthly payments on time and automatically raises your car insurance premium and in some cases, could lead to denial of coverage.
Online Comparison of Car Insurance Rates and Companies
Gone are the days when getting insurance meant long hours on the phone or in the agent’s office, negotiating a better deal. In today’s tech-savvy world where the Internet is available to most people in the United States, you don’t have to leave your chair to get a range of auto insurance rates.
All you need to do is request car insurance rates based on your location, and you will be bombarded by insurance rates from different car insurance companies with online presence. Indeed, once you have decided on your particular policy, most applicants can be approved within minutes. You can search for car insurance rates, get your approval, and purchase your policy within minutes, if you need. Such is the convenience of the World Wide Web!
So go ahead and enter your ZIP here in our FREE toolbox to do your comparison-shopping in the comfort of your home!