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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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When you initially bought your car insurance policy, your agent may have carefully reviewed your coverage types and limits when you bought the policy. However, many policies auto-renew, and it may have been several years since you last reviewed or updated your coverage.
Updating insurance coverage periodically will help you to maximize the protection that a great car insurance policy can provide, and it may also help you to identify which provider offers the lowest rates.
Before you can determine if you need to change providers or coverage, you need to review your current coverage.
Compare car insurance rates by using our free comparison tool above. You might be surprised by how much you could save on the coverage you need.
Reviewing Your Existing Policy
Regardless of whether you need to file a claim against your current policy or you are thinking about shopping around to find a better rate, you need to review your existing coverage as a starting point.
Your insurance company may have sent you paperwork that you stored away in your filing cabinet, or you may have a copy of your policy’s terms and conditions saved to your computer.
If not, you will need to call the provider’s customer service phone number to request more information about your current car insurance policy.
Learning About Existing Requirements for Coverage
After you learn what your existing car insurance coverage includes, you need to determine if it is sufficient for your needs.
The best way to make this determination is to review your legal requirements for coverage in your state and your lender’s requirements if you have a car loan.
By focusing your attention on these important elements, you can determine if you are obligated to increase or adjust coverage.
Determining If You Need Extra or Optional Coverage
Even drivers who are not required to adjust their car insurance coverage may benefit by doing so.
Some will reduce coverage to save money if they are no longer required to maintain a high level of benefits, but others will increase coverage to enjoy the added benefits that it can provide.
For example, if you do not currently have rental car reimbursement on your policy, you may add this coverage to your policy today.
Drivers can save $859/yr* by comparing car insurance
*based on a survey of 1,000 car insurance customers
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Understanding Why Better Rates May Be Available
Some drivers will update their coverage terms and limits, but others will shop around for new rates while keeping the coverage levels the same.
This update could potentially seem like a waste of time if you compared rates when you initially set up the policy, but car insurance rates are based on numerous factors that can change over time. These factors include:
- Your driving record
- Your credit rating
- Your car’s replacement value and average repair costs
- Statistics for vehicle thefts and accidents in your zip code
Requesting Updated Coverage Quotes
There are many reasons why you may be ready to request updated quotes for car insurance, and the good news is that this process is usually fast and easy when you request a quote online. Most drivers will request three or four quotes from carefully selected insurance companies.
First, you will need to choose the companies that you want to contact based on careful research. Focus your attention on the financial strength of each provider, and research the customer satisfaction rating of the top companies that you are interested in.
When you have narrowed down the options to the top few auto insurance providers available, you can easily request quotes online to save time and effort.
Filing a Claim
Some drivers want to know what their current policy terms and limits are because they want to shop around to identify savings, but others may need to file a claim.
You do not want to file a claim if your coverage does not sufficiently cover the incident or if your deductible is close to or more than the repair cost.
Filing a claim is usually a straightforward process, and you often can provide your insurance company with all of the details about the incident over the phone to begin the process.
An estimator or adjustor will inspect the vehicle to estimate its value and repair cost before finalizing the result of your claim and issuing a possible payment. You can typically choose which service shop you want to take the vehicle to in order to get the repair work completed.
Disputing a Claim
Many claims are effectively resolved with little hassle or stress, but some drivers discover that their insurance company will not pay out on the claim. If you believe that this is in error and is against the terms of your coverage, you can dispute the result in different ways:
- Hire an arbitrator
- File a dispute with your state’s insurance department
- Hire a lawyer
Following Effective Driving Safety Tips
Many drivers will benefit by improving their driving record. This can help you to qualify for a better rate on car insurance in the future, and it may also prevent you from being involved in an accident.
Some of the effective safety tips you can follow each time you get behind the wheel include:
- Avoid driving during inclement conditions
- Ensure that your vehicle is properly maintained at all times
- Avoid driving aggressively
- Avoid driving at a high rate of speed
- Obey all posted traffic signs and notices
- Wear your seatbelt
- Never drive with distractions
Preparing to Contact Your Existing Provider
All drivers should be aware of what their car insurance benefits are and what the potential risks associated with being underinsured in certain areas are at all times.
Regardless of whether you want to shop for better rates on the coverage you need or you want to file a claim after you have been involved in an accident, prepare to contact your existing auto insurance provider by gathering the following:
- your policy number
- vehicle data
- potential accident details as necessary
By doing so, you can more easily communicate with your provider about your current needs.
Enter your zip code into our free rate comparison tool below to find the coverage that’s right for you.