Auto Insurance Basics
Understanding how auto insurance works is not easy. Unfortunately, most people
end up learning about car insurance after they were in an accident or when there
car was stolen and had to submit a claim. Featured below is information that
will educate you about car insurance and teach you how to get the right plan for
your needs, at the lowest rates possible.
Getting the Right Amount of Auto Insurance Liability Coverage!
Having enough liability coverage to protect you is more important than
having a low deductible. Which is worse…getting into an accident and having a
$1500 deductible, or getting into a fatal accident that is your fault and not
having enough liability coverage? Not having enough liability will result in the
injured parties going after your personal assets to pay for any costs not
covered by your liability insurance. You’ll want to discuss your personal
situation with your insurance agent, making sure all of your assets are going to
Purchasing the Right Kind of Liability!
This means that you make sure what you are getting for your money. Suppose
you buy a $500,000 liability coverage plan. You need to make sure that this
amount can be used by one, two or as many people that are involved. It is not
uncommon for plans to only offer a certain amount for each person that is
injured. For example, a $500,000 plan may only payout $150,000 per person. So,
if you are faced with a $250,000 lawsuit from one person, you are going to be
personally responsible for $100,000 of the suit.
Purchasing an Umbrella Policy is Very Important!
This type of insurance policy is fairly inexpensive (about $100 – $300/year)
and will protect your home from a lawsuit in case you get into a serious
accident where you are at fault. Most umbrella plans are sold with $1 million
worth of coverage.
Consider Buying a GAP Insurance Policy!
If you are buying a new car, not having ‘GAP’ insurance can end up costing
you a great deal of money if your car is stolen or is in an accident and is
totaled. ‘GAP’ insurance will cover the difference from what your car is worth
when it is totaled and how much you owe for your car loan.
Finding the Right Agent!
You want to be 100% comfortable with the company and individual that is
underwriting your coverage. You want to be confident that you are getting the
best coverage for your money and that trustworthy advice will be given when
needed. One of the best ways of locating a good agent is by asking friends and
Sustain a Positive Credit Rating!
Nowadays, almost every auto insurance carrier is going to run your credit
when deciding whether or not to issue you a policy and what kind of rates to
give you. Therefore, it is important that you maintain good credit.
Compare Multiple Plans!
Do your homework! The first thing you should do is obtain a comprehensive
insurance pricing guideline from your state insurance department. This will
allow you to determine what you can expect to pay for your coverage. Then
contact several agents and ask them to give you quotes for various plans. Not
being diligent will result in you paying more for a plan that could have been
purchased cheaper elsewhere.
Before choosing an auto insurance carrier, take a trip to your local body
shop and find out how fast the company settles claims. It is very common for
some companies to take much longer than others, or worse, they try and deny your
claim. Also ask friends and family what their experiences have been.
Know the Claims Process!
Before you buy a policy, find out if you are obligated to use a specific
auto body shop in your area when repairs are being made and/or if you will be
required to use ‘after’ market parts for your car.
Will the ‘Diminished Value’ Be Paid in the Event of An Accident?
Diminished value is the value of your car after it has been in an accident.
Prior to purchasing an auto insurance policy, you need find out if the carrier
will pay you the difference of the diminished value and what your car was worth
prior to you getting into an accident.
Are Discounts Offered?
It is very common for auto insurance carriers to offer discounts for
different scenarios. For example, it is possible that a discount will be offered
if you don’t have any claims or accidents for five years. You may also be
eligible for a discount if you store your car in a garage or if you have an
alarm system, etc.. You should ask any company you are interested in what
kind of discounts are offered.