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Auto Insurance Questions to Ask

Searching for auto insurance and eventually signing up for coverage can be a rather frustrating experience. Often we expect that sometime during the whole process, we will be enlightened as to how it all works, and we'll all of a sudden understand our policies. But most of the time, this is simply not how things go. We sign up for a plan, then find out later it didn't contain the protection we thought it did. Or other frustrations and difficulties pop up. The way around all of this hassle is to know the right questions to ask when you're into contact with different companies and before you narrow down the field to just one. If you ask the right auto insurance questions to your provider, the answers can be illuminating.

Agents May Skim over Details

You can save both time and money by getting the answers you need at the outset of the process, but this requires the foresight to understand that you have this issue and that it needs explaining. Agents are often not much help in this area. They tend to regard most of the policy as self explanatory and assume that you understand it all unless they hear otherwise. And in a sense, this is how they should operate. Auto insurance companies cannot constantly hold our hands and send all of their people our way to explain every last detail. As consumers we have the responsibility of knowing what it is we are buying. It is up to us to take the time to try to put these things together in our heads. But if after reading through your policy, you are still stumped, that is the right time to ask for help or reinforcement.

Take the time to read it through at least once before you buy. This way you still have the attention of your insurer. Here are some questions that might come up during this hypothetical conversation with an insurance company representative.

Application of All Available Discounts

You should ask the person you are working on who is building your quote or your policy whether you are already getting connected with all of the discounts that company offers. This is not something you just assume. At this stage in the game, we are often not given all available discounts; not until we request them, that is. There may be many discounts or credits available that you did not even know about. Find out for sure and make sure you get the best price possible for your auto insurance policy.

You may find that you qualify for a low mileage discount you aren't getting, for example. Or, maybe you just had a birthday and can now qualify for a senior discount at renewal. Never assume that you're getting the best price from your current company or a new one unless you are told explicitly that you are.

Comprehensive and Collision Included

Another pertinent question involves the specifics of your coverage. Find out if the price you're getting form your insurer includes collision and comprehensive insurance. And beyond that, get a good assessment of whether your car even justifies the expense of these parts of a policy. They are separate forms of coverage, although they are often bought and sold together. You can opt for just one or the other, or both. Or you might decide that not carrying either one is actually the best choice for you.

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage

In states where uninsured and underinsured are not required by law, find out of the prices you're getting quoted include these areas of coverage. Think about the uninsured motorist rate in your home state, which you can easily find online if you do not know it. Does that rate justify the expense you're adding to your policy to carry this extra coverage? Find out the facts so you can make wise choices about your auto policy.

What Happens in Total Loss

Another great question to ask ahead of time is what happens in the event of a total loss. For example, you have an idea of what you think your car is worth. Get a quote as to how much the insurer thinks the car is worth, and compare the two numbers. Some companies pay what is known as an "actual cash value," while others negotiate with the policy holder until they reach an agreed upon amount. There is a big difference between the two, and you need to know ahead of time which way your insurer works.

These are just a few sample questions that can get you thinking about some of the things you really need to know but have maybe never asked of an insurance company. Find the right questions and you'll know much more.

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