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Guide to Car Insurance Value

Car insurance is an expense that most of us have to pretty much live with. Of course, we do what we can to save here and there, but by and large, we pretty much grin and bear it when the renewal bill comes in the mail with yet another rate increase. Most auto insurance rate factors are things you can't do anything about. For example, your age, sex, marital status, and address are all taken into account. But there are also some factors you can work to change that are equally important, such as your driving record and your credit score, and even the kind of car you drive. Within the confines of this existing paradigm we will look for ways to try to save money and get more value out of your car insurance. First, a basic review of the different areas of auto insurance (specifics may vary by state).

Auto Insurance Basic Coverage

Liability insurance pays for injuries and property damages sustained by others caused by an accident for which you were determined to be at fault. Liability does not cover your injuries or the damage to your own vehicle; its only concern is the other driver or passengers, or even pedestrians and bicyclists that may have been involved. Most drivers should buy much more than the minimums suggested by state lawmakers. These minimums often do not provide enough coverage in injury accidents.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage pays for injuries to the occupants of the insured car, and also property damage to that car in certain states, when the covered car is struck by a vehicle with insufficient or no insurance. Collision pays for damage to the covered car in an accident. Comprehensive pays for non accident damages as long as they fall into one of the covered categories listed on the policy. Animal collisions are covered by comprehensive insurance. Medical payments coverage covers the driver and any passengers hurt in an accident, regardless of fault. This can be superfluous for those of us who have good health insurance.

Reduce Your Car Insurance Rates

There are many strategies consumers can use to help them lower their rates on auto insurance. One of them is to shop around for prices. This should be done at every policy renewal. Even if you are happy with your insurer, it does not hurt to do a little window shopping and see how prices are stacking up against what you are paying. The company you end up picking as well as the coverage you select can have a major impact on your rates.

To help with this shopping around process, check rates online, get free quotes on this site, and consult an agent in your hometown. It is very likely you will find that the best rates can be found online. But do not merely check prices. You'll want to make sure you really get value out of your investment. Make sure the company you pick is financially solvent and has a good reputation for customer service. The last thing you want to do is make a hasty choice only to find that the company you have picked is hard to deal with or does not believe in employing human beings to answer phones.

To save more, increase your deductibles on comprehensive and collision. But do this with caution. Realize that whatever level you set them at is the amount you'll have to cover out of pocket if you do have a claim on your policy. It is essentially self insuring to that deductible level. If you own your car free and clear, think about dropping collision and comprehensive if you car is more than four or five years old. If the combined premium for collision and comprehensive exceeds ten percent of a vehicle's value, most experts say it is time to drop them.

Talk Directly to Your Insurer

Talk to your insurer and make sure you are getting every available discount. Sometimes insurers add new discounts that they did not offer before. When this happens, sometimes existing customers are left out of the loop for a time. Make sure your discounts are all up to date. Get everything you think you have coming based on eligibility.

If you have made the choice to cancel your plan and switch carriers, you should also talk to your current insurer about this. Tell them over the phone and find out what kind of written notice is required. Make sure to do this in writing to cover yourself. And always keep a copy of the notice for your records. Demand more value from your car insurance provider. If you don't get it, move on to another one. There are plenty of qualified companies to choose from. You won't be at a loss.


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