Trying to compare car insurance can be a real headache. Even with the number of comparison websites available, it still means knowing everything about your vehicle, inputting the details and checking the hundreds of offers that come up on the screen.
Consider the Price
Before deciding what kind of insurance coverage you want, you should know what the maximum amount you are able and willing to spend. Setting a maximum budget before considering your insurance options will help you be financially responsible.
Once you've set a maximum limit on the amount you can spend, shop around for price quote estimates. Many online insurance providers are able to give you an instant rough price quote based on reasonably little information. Within your budget, make a list of the options which are available to you.
Consider the Coverage
When you have the options you can afford, go through and decide what coverage you want. Property damage and bodily injury liability coverage is the bare minimum in most states, so you'll need this to drive legally. If all you care about is driving legally for as little as possible, this may be your best option. However, if you want your own injuries and property damage to be covered in case of a collision, it's smart to consider more comprehensive options. Going with the minimum requirements can have consequences, so decide if you're willing to take the risk.
Compare Companies Side by Side
There are differences between insurance companies. Not all are as reliable as their competition. If you file a claim, will it be paid? How quickly? Will the company try to deny parts of the claim? All these questions are important when determining the reliability of an insurance company. Reliability contributes to the value of the insurance policy. Every state has a web site with reliability ratings of the companies within that state. Find yours and do a comparison of all the companies you are considering.
Compare Similar Coverage to Similar Coverage
When you get an insurance quote, the coverage quoted will include the basic requirements of your state's laws. Many times, though, in order to give you the lowest dollar figure, that's all you'll be quoted. Make sure that the amounts of insurance offered are the same from one policy to another.
Avoid Coverage You Don't Need
Many insurance policy quotes default to certain groupings of coverage. You might not need all those options. If you are driving a car that's paid off and is fully depreciated, consider dropping to just liability coverage. If you get a quote for both rates, you can put the difference aside and leave it untouched. Then, if you are in an accident and your car needs repair or is totaled, you can use the money. Other things to look at are towing coverage, especially if you have that coverage as part of a warranty plan or some club membership.
Look at the Deductible
You want to compare the deductible to each policy. This is the amount you will have to pay before the insurance company will pay. The greater the deductible, the lower your insurance rates will be. If you notice that policies have very different rates, then you should look at the deductibles. See if there is any additional deductible needed if the driver is under 25. There may be additional deductibles if your car is in an accident and the driver is not on your insurance policy. You need to understand all the types of deductibles associated with the different policies.
Conditions of New Car Replacement
Many companies will replace the car if the vehicle was brand new when you first bought your policy. If your car is stolen or damaged without hope of repair, the company replaces it. This is a great benefit, but not all companies have the same conditions. Many only offer this for the first year of the policy. It is a good idea to read through the clauses relating to new car replacement.
Coverage for After-Market Accessories
Investigate the difference between the policies dealing with after-market accessories. These accessories are referring to seat covers, alloy wheels, and stereo units. Coverage for these items may cause the rates to be higher, though depending on their value, the coverage can be worth it. Most cheap insurance will not provide coverage for these items.
You may qualify for discounts that can lower the cost of your car insurance. There are safe driving discounts, multiple policy discounts, driving course discounts, and much more. Apply any discounts you are eligible for when comparing the cost of the different policies. These discounts can significantly decrease the cost of your insurance, so a policy that originally cost more may be much less with discounts.
Make a List
A great way to look at the different policies is to list out what each policy is offering and the amounts for each. Looking at the policies side by side can show you what you are paying for within each policy and what each policy may be lacking.
Details of the Car
You need to have the specification details of your car available. This includes engine size, age, make, model and any other pertinent details. If you have not yet purchased a car you want to insure but need to know how much it might cost, gather as many details about insurance prices as you can before starting your search for a vehicle.
Some cars fall into the high risk category, due to their price, engine size and desirability. This makes them a risk for insurers because of the chances of them being stolen or damaged. It also poses a risk if the driver is of a relatively young age.
Go to a price comparison website and input the details of the most expensive car. Next, input the second most expensive car and then the third. Choose one from each category. Input the details of each particular car. Bear in mind that some sites will want you to register your name and an email address before they can send you the quote.
After you input the details of each car, a page will come up showing you which companies can offer you a policy based on the car. You will also need to input other details and the level of coverage required. Give careful consideration to the level of coverage you require, and base it on the value of the car as well as whether you own the vehicle outright or are still paying for it.
Comparing Car Insurance: Sharing a Policy vs. Going Alone
When comparing car insurance you might like to consider the idea of a group policy. Another question that might come up for you is whether it is better to go it alone or to actually join a group plan. Many drivers don't even give it a thought unless it is suggested by someone.
Going It Alone
Your credit history, driving record, age, gender and ZIP code are the main factors taken into consideration when you take out a policy. Even changing carriers has the same result, and the new carrier will base their price on the same details. It can be better to go it alone because you have the freedom to choose your own desired level of coverage and payment options. The type of car you drive also determines how much coverage you need. If your car is not worth a great deal, you will get a better price going it alone, if you devalue it for insurance purposes. In the event that the car is totaled, you will only get the Kelley's Blue Book cash value based on the condition of the car prior to the accident, rather than what you actually paid for it. Therefore, insuring it to the value of the book is more realistic. When you take out your own policy it is only your own driving record which is considered, and no one else's. Everything is based on actuaries and how all insurers calculate prices is a result of statistics put forward by their underwriting companies. All insurers favor good drivers. Some insurers favor female drivers more, so it always pays to shop around.
Some employers offer a group auto insurance policy for their employees, and it is worth considering joining that plan if it offers sufficient coverage and a good price. There are many different ways in which to obtain access to a group policy. The employer option is very useful if it is available to you. If not, you may be eligible to join a car or motoring club. People who own vintage, collectible, custom, antique or specialist cars can usually get discounts for group purchases if they are members of elite clubs. Group policies are bought in bulk, but they do not apply across the board to the members on the policy. For example, if there are ten people in the group and one of them has an accident, the other nine do not get punished on their premiums the next year. There are many benefits to having a joint policy in a group situation and it is worth looking into. Families can also reap the benefits of a group policy and get discounts for buying multiple car insurance policies.
Other organizations like Kiwanis offer discounts to members on their car insurance. Auto clubs and sports car clubs are other places to look for membership benefits. Some independent organizations have offerings that can help with group insurance, too. Organizations such as AARP will be worth contacting for drivers over 50.