How to Buy Auto Insurance
Whether you're insuring your first car or your fifth car, your goal is the same: You want to find coverage that protects your vehicle without breaking your bank account. The sad truth is that most people end up overpaying for insurance because they don’t want to spend the time to shop for the right policy, and you can’t really blame them. Shopping for car insurance can be super stressful if you’re doing it on your own, so we’ve written down some tips to take with you on your shopping journey.
Where to start: Requirements and Finances
The first step is to figure out how much coverage you need. Coverage requirements tend to vary in each state, so be sure to check on your state’s website. In Georgia, for example, drivers are required to have the minimum of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident for Bodily Injury Liability. Understanding what kind of coverage and how much is required by your state is a great first step in determining how much coverage you need. Your decision to add coverage should depend on your own degree of comfort in assuming a certain level of risk, so take a minute to examine your comfort levels and consult your finances. Your financial situation will also help determine how much coverage you should take on. If you aren’t worried about losing assets in the event of an accident, you don’t need to buy crazy amounts of coverage.
What comes next: Driving Habits
We all think we are great drivers, but statistically, all Georgia drivers are likely to be involved in at least one accident every 10 years (shanesmithlaw.com). Our advice is to take your own driving habits into consideration before purchasing auto insurance. If you’ve been in a few fender-benders, if you routinely speed, or if you consistently drive long distances to work on a treacherous road, you should probably look into getting more coverage for your vehicle. Look into Collision coverage which pays for damage to your car in an accident or for damage from hitting an inanimate object. You can also consider Comprehensive coverage which addresses damage that did not occur from a collision (e.g. fire damage, theft, flood, and windshield damage).
A great tip is checking over how many tickets you’ve had recently. If you can’t remember, check with your state’s DMV. If there’s a ticket on your record that’s about to disappear, wait until that happens before you get quotes. It will improve your driving record and help you get better quoted rates!
Gather background info: Learn About the Company
If you are planning to shop by yourself without an independent agent (we always recommend consulting with experts, especially when they offer free quoting), take some time to research the companies you’re considering. Take notes so it’s easy to make comparisons between offerings, and we also recommend that you keep a list of:
· Annual and monthly rates for the different types of coverage you’re looking for
· The insurance companies’ telephone numbers so you can get answers to questions you can’t find online
· And the companies’ payment policies so you can compare late payment penalties and other payment plans
Smart shopping habits: Discounts
Insurance companies often offer discounts for good driving records, good grades, and even certain professions. Some companies now offer lower rates if you enroll in "pay as you drive" plans. Some will give substantial discounts for young drivers in the family who have high grade point averages. Also consider using the same insurance company for home and auto policies, which will usually get you a better price.
As always, having an expert to help guide you through the process (or better yet – do it for you!) can make this experience fairly pleasant. We encourage everyone to reach out to us at Customized Insurance Brokers for a comprehensive, personalized quoting process that takes your needs into consideration!