Buying insurance goes into the list of the many costs that you take on when you own a vehicle, but unlike other expenses that come around every other year, car insurance is an expense that you will pay each month, quarter or year just like clockwork.
When you are buying a product that you are required to have and that you do not want to put to use, it is imperative that you find the best rates and the best carriers. The only way that you can do this is to comparison shop before you buy.
Comparison shopping is what gives consumers power to find what they are shopping for at a value price.
If you want to reclaim the power in the market as you shop for a new auto insurance plan to replace your renewal policy that has doubled in price, you need to know the smart way to compare coverage, carrier and lastly cost.
Many believe that comparisons have to be part of a time-consuming mission, but if you know exactly what to do and what tools to use that is not the case.
Read on, and learn how to compare car insurance coverage the most effective way possible so that you become the one with the advantage. Use our FREE tool at the top of this page!
Why Comparing Car Insurance Coverage and Rates is So Important
If you do not want to pay an exorbitant amount of money for insurance coverage each year, you need to find out how much each company charges. What you might not know is that every company sets their own rates.
These rates do need to be approved by the state department, but as long as they can be justified the company can decide how much to charge drivers in your rating classification.
Because rating systems vary from carrier to carrier, you as a consumer need to find the company with a rating system that benefits you.
There are companies that prefer to do business with experienced drivers who have an accident-free record and then there are companies who like to price themselves in the high-risk market that is full of young drivers and drivers with serious violations.
If you end up choosing an insurer that has priced their products for accident-free drivers and you have accidents, you will pay higher rates than you would if you had chosen to shop around and compare rates.
By taking the time to compare the premiums with each of the well-known carriers that does business in your state, you can narrow down the options and sift out the providers that just are not right for you.
Not to mention, comparison shopping is the best way to save money off of your auto insurance premiums without choosing to eliminate coverage or buy low limits.
How to Compare Quotes to Find the Best Rates
While there are exceptions to the rule, a majority of consumers who are comparison shopping are doing their homework in an effort to save money. Because price is so important, it is very important that you take the proper steps when you are comparing quotes.
If you fail to take these steps into consideration, it is possible that you will compare two entirely different policies that really are not comparable.
Here are the steps that you must take when you prepare to shop around:
Get your Declarations Page Ready for Review
If you already have existing insurance, you will need your declarations page before you start to pull up quotes. The declarations page is the single document that you receive from your insurer that lays out who is covered, what is covered, and how much coverage you have selected.
It includes the pertinent information that you will need to effectively compare costs, and without this page you really can only guess how much insurance you are paying for.
You receive your declarations page when your policy is issued and every time it renews.
If you cannot locate it, you can ask your insurer to send you a new one for your review.
Some insurers also have online tools where you can locate policy documents and print these documents off of the Internet. Once you get your hands on the document, review it for accuracy and then move on to comparing costs.
Sift Through the Companies to Find the Best Options
Not all auto insurance carriers have the same reputations or the same product offerings. Just because price is important does not mean that you should throw quality out the window.
Before you even look at price, you should be crossing the companies who do not deserve your business off of the list of possibilities. There are a few ways that you can decide if a company is ultimately worth trusting. Here are the factors to consider when deciding what carrier to get quotes from:
Licensing Status: Departments of Insurance are state bodies that set the standards of conduct in the industry. They oversee carriers and also investigate complaints. If you want protection as a consumer, only buy from a licensed insurer.
Check the insurer’s licensing status through the state Department of Insurance before doing anything else.
Financial Solidity: Insurance companies are offering you financial protection. If the company is not financially secure itself, it is hard to be confident that you will get your claims payments if you every file a claim.
This is why financially sound companies are the best companies to give your business. They have generally been in the industry for years and are established as carriers.
Check out ratings with agencies like A.M Best to find out what the grade of a specific insurer is.
Official and Unofficial Complaints: Consumers are free to file complaints against a company with the Department of Insurance when they do not satisfy the standards of conduct.
The department then looks into the accusations and will decide the next course of action. You can also file unofficial complaints through social media or other platforms to air out your frustrations.
Be sure to check each platform to see if there are loads of complaints. If the company does not respond to these complaints, you know that they are not dedicated to keeping policyholders happy.
Get Apples to Apples Quotes
You never want your quotes to have different limits or coverage options. The best way to compare the price of a policy from one company to the next is to have each field match.
If you are currently carrying state minimum coverage with your insurer, you should price the cost of the same with the others.
If you have low deductibles, keep the deductibles low as you get your initial quotes.
If you make adjustments, you are comparing apples to oranges. You may wind up switching insurers when your current company could have had better rates in the end.
Make Adjustments and Compare
While apples to apples comparisons are important, it is also important to make adjustments when you are not happy with your limits or coverage selection. If you notice that you have low limits, high deductibles or you have not opted to carry supplements that you need, now is the time to price the difference.
You should start by asking your current insurer for a rate quote to make the changes that you want to make. Once you get this quote, start comparing the price with the same adjustments through the carriers you contacted previously.
By doing this, you can see if the company offers discounted rates when you decide to buy more coverage. Believe it or not, some carriers might be more competitive with larger limits than they are when you buy the minimums.
Use Special Tools to Compare Quickly
When you shop around, it can take a great deal of time to get all of the rate quotes that you want to compare. Fortunately, you do not have to leave home and visit several different offices to see agents and get pricing.
You do not even have to pick up the phone and speak to dozens of agents that you will never talk to again.
This is because there are special comparison tools that you can use online that will give you access to quotes with the insurers that have already made your list.
The best thing about using a rate comparison tool to find the lowest rates is that you do not have to waste all of your free time pricing a product that you are required to buy.
Your time is valuable and you should always use tools that make your mission to save money easier. Once you locate the tool, all you need to do is enter your information and the coverage that you want. Select the best priced insurance plan and save.