Purchasing Online Auto Insurance the Best Way
There are a lot of ways to buy car insurance online, but some ways are just naturally better than others. The best way to buy car insurance online, hands down, is to use an auto insurance quote comparison website.
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Before you use a quote comparison site, you need to know just what kind of coverage you need and the level of insurance coverage you want. If you so desire, an insurance agent can help you after you get your quotes or you can complete the purchasing process entirely online. After you get your quotes, you will still have some research to do to choose the best car insurance company for your money.
Know Your Coverage Limits
Car insurance is broken down into mandatory coverage and optional coverage. Each state has its own minimum amounts for mandatory coverage for bodily injury liability and property damage liability. Experts at the Insurance Information Institute caution against buying only the minimum amount of insurance required in your state, as it might not be enough to cover all the costs if you get into an accident.
Since both of the mandatory forms of coverage will only pay for injuries and damages that you cause to other drivers and their vehicles when you are at fault in an accident, many states also require you to purchase coverage that pays for your injuries too.
Personal injury protection, or PIP, is a coverage that pays for your hospital bills and possibly other costs such as your lost wages or funeral costs.
Furthermore, your state might also require you to purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This coverage will help to pay for damages and injuries you suffer in an accident if the at-fault driver has no insurance or not enough insurance. Again, most states set minimum amounts for mandatory coverage, but having too little insurance will only cost you in the long run.
Optional coverage packages are also something you should consider if your vehicle is relatively new. Or the decision might be out of your hands if you still owe a lender for your vehicle. That’s because most lenders require that you carry optional coverage such as collision and comprehensive to protect the value of the vehicle.
Collision covers damages to your vehicle from an accident even if you are at fault. Comprehensive covers loss or damages from theft, vandalism, fire, and acts of nature.
That deer that you hit isn’t going to pay for your vehicle’s damaged front grill.
Having optional coverage protects your investment in your car, as most people do not have thousands of dollars to fix or replace their vehicle.
However, optional coverage is not always a necessity, especially if your vehicle is older and has depreciated in value. Experts at SmartMoney.com advise that collision and comprehensive coverage are not worth it if they cost you more than 10% of what your vehicle is worth.
The best place to find your car’s worth is at Kelley Blue Book’s website, which will give you fair market value for your vehicle’s age, mileage, and condition.
Use a Quote Comparison Site
You can certainly go through the process of visiting each and every car insurance provider’s website that you can think of, and filling out the same information at each site. However, if you want to save time and get better results, then you should use a quote comparison site like this one. These websites take your information and distribute it to multiple auto insurers. Those insurers then return quotes for coverage to you either through email or over the phone.
There are so many benefits to using quote comparison sites that they blow all other methods out of the water. For one, you only need to fill out one form instead of form after form for each individual insurance company’s website.
Getting quotes from a comparison site is an easy process, and it is one that you can do on your schedule and from the comfort of your own home.
Furthermore, you get many quotes from different companies with very little effort on your part. Also, your quotes will arrive quickly, generally within 24 hours, and you can choose to be contacted by phone or by email for the delivery of your quoted rates.
It is quite possible that the best quotes you will receive will be from companies that you were not even aware of because they don’t have a commercial on television every half an hour.
Just because a company might be the biggest auto insurance company or the one with the most celebrity representatives or cartoon characters, does not mean it is the best choice.
Talk to an Agent
Even though you receive a quote online, every car insurance company out there will provide a phone number or email address where an agent can be reached. Insurance agents are experts in their particular field, and they understand all aspects of car insurance coverage.
Many people prefer the ability to speak with a live person when looking for auto insurance. A car insurance agent will be more than happy to answer any questions you have, explain different coverage levels and pricing, and get your policy started.
Quote comparison sites let you see the range of prices for coverage available to you: You are not required to do anything further if you don’t want to. Putting rates from a comparison website side by side and then speaking with an agent about all of your choices is always an option.
Quote comparison sites don’t necessarily replace agents; they give you valuable information about the range of prices available to you. For instance, you can certainly let the agent from company A know that company B gave you a much lower quote for the same coverage and see if company A will match it.
Some people prefer to leave agents and other sales-driven people out of the equation altogether. This might be because they don’t have the time to speak with a live person, or they prefer a completely electronic method. Still others might dislike the sales pitch and pressure to buy that could be encountered when speaking with an agent.
The bulk of quotes that you receive will provide a link to purchase your insurance package directly from the insurer’s website without having to talk to an agent.
This route is also an option after you get your quotes if you want to avoid speaking with an agent. Again, quote comparison sites are giving you information so you can make an informed decision.
Once you have heard back from your prospective car insurance companies, your work is still not done if you want to get the best insurance. Some car insurance companies are really only staffed by scam artists. While comparison sites will protect you from this type of fraud as much as possible, it is better to be safe than sorry. The last place you want to find out that your car insurance company is really just a scam is at the scene of an accident.
Utilize the Consumer Information Source site provided by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to research the legitimacy of a potential car insurer. You will be directed to your state’s Department of Insurance website, where you can look up the insurance companies you are considering.
You can search by the insurances company’s name or license number, which you should be able to find easily on the insurer’s website. Make sure that all of the information from the insurer’s website and your state’s Department of Insurance website is the same.
If you find inconsistencies, then you can contact your state’s Insurance Department to inquire further. Don’t make a payment until you are sure you are doing business with a legitimate auto insurer.
Choose the Best Insurer
Just like you don’t want to pay for fake insurance, you also don’t want to pay for insurance from a substandard provider. Car insurance is about protecting you, and you deserve only the best when it comes to auto insurance. Companies that have poor customer service can turn the headache of an accident into an absolute nightmare with bad communication, rejected claims, and unhelpful representatives.
To make sure that your potential car insurance providers are the best of the best, you will need to do some research about the company. Consumer-based information is good, but you want a system that has some checks and balances.
Some consumer complaint websites are just a forum for ranting, and you might not get the whole truth.
Your best bet is to use the consumer-driven ratings from evaluation companies such as J.D. Power and Associates.
Such companies have experience in these matters, and they have nothing to gain or lose by the information they report. Ratings are based on annual customer surveys, and they cover a wide range of topics concerning car insurance providers.
Those insurers with high ratings year after year are obviously doing something right; you don’t want a car insurance company that is notorious for poor communication or a record of dragging out claims.
After you have vetted your insurance companies, they only thing you have left to do is buy. That is, of course, until the next time you want to compare car insurance rates!
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