Determine How Much Car Insurance You Really Need And Save Hundreds
20 December 2009
When someone asks me "how much car insurance do I need?", the first thing I tell them to do is pull out a recent statement from their car insurance company and jot down the amount of coverage they currently have and how much they are paying for it.
Figure out from the statement (call your company if you can't find it on your bill), what your total yearly cost is for your policy. This is the first step because now you know exactly what the dollar amount is and can compare it with quotes from other companies.
It is also important to consider your driving habits and your driving record. You will want to be prepared when comparing quotes by knowing how many tickets you have had in the last three years and how many accidents.
Nothing drives up the cost of auto insurance like a bad driving record. If you can't remember how long a speeding ticket has been on your record, call the department of motor vehicles. If it has been long enough since your last infraction, your negative points will have disappeared and you are now a candidate for lower rates.
Once you have determined that you probably qualify for a safer driver policy, you should begin shopping for a better insurance rate. Fire up your computer, gather all of your records, ie: current auto insurance policy, driver license number and vehicle registration.
Do a Google search for terms like, auto insurance quotes, save money on car insurance, and other type search terms that will lead you to an online insurance quote service.
Most of the forms you find online will take 10 to 15 minutes to fill out. Be patient with this process because it could potentially save you hundreds of dollars a year. If you grow weary of filling out these online forms, just remind yourself of the things you can buy with $500, $600, or even $800 more each year that you could potentially save on your premiums.
Keep in mind that when you use a quote site, you will get some instant quotes but some companies will contact you later by email. Some companies will sell to you directly, like Geico for example, and some like State Farm will sell to you through local agents that they will put you in contact with. You will find that most states will provide quotes online.
Some states however, like New Jersey, will require you to pick up the phone and make some calls. It may take you a couple of hours overall to get a number of quotes to compare, but the end result could be a savings of up to $800 a year. That equals an earnings to you of $400 an hour. That is definitely worth the time it takes to go through the comparison process.
If this bores you, just remind yourself how much you will be saving and that you can use the money to buy something nice for yourself. If the entire shopping process takes you two hours to complete and you save $800, you're effectively earning $400 an hour.
Make sure when you are gathering quotes from different companies that you record your findings on paper and divide them into categories so you don't duplicate your efforts. Take note of the following things to put into categories:
1. Compare annual and monthly rates for the different types of coverage. Keep the coverage limits the same so you can compare exactly the same coverages from different companies.
2. Write down the 800 number of each company so you can get answers to questions you can't find on the website.
3. What is payment policy of each company, monthly, quarterly, annually, etc.
4. What kind of discount does each company have that may apply to your situation.
If you talk to the insurance company's telephone representative, be sure to ask about all possible discounts that may be available to you. For example if you have a good driving record, safety equipment on your car, a good credit rating, and even certain professional affiliations and memberships, you may qualify for additional discounts.
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