Car insurance and tips for the wise consumer

In a perfect world, everyone would look after each other. There would be trust. We could all relax and get on with the task of living. But the reality is rather different. We’ve become a selfish, unforgiving people. Only a few are genuinely charitable and helpful. Particularly when it comes to business, you should take precautions. There are few laws to protect consumers. Although the situation is slightly better when it comes to insurance, there are still protective measures you should take before and after you buy an insurance policy.

Before you buy, take the time to read through all the terms. There can be a surprising number of problems when you go through the small print. Only if you’re satisfied the policy will do what you need should you buy. You should also look through the site operated by your state’s Insurance Commissioner. The best Commissioners list and shame the insurers with the greatest number of complaints upheld against them. Then have a look at the company itself. Insolvency is not just a problem for the banks. A number of insurance companies fail every year. You don’t want to be in the position of having paid the premiums only to find the company disappears just when you have a claim. Although every state has a guarantee fund to protect consumers in this situation, it adds to the delay of dealing with claims. In other words, don’t just buy a policy because it’s cheap. Although the premium rate is an important factor, you want the most benefits with the fewest limits and exclusions, from a reliable company. You want good value-for-money.

As to things more directly under your direct control, choose a “safe” make and model. There’s plenty of information telling you which models have the best records in the crash tests and the lowest insurance rates. Only buy something powerful and sporty if the cost of insurance means nothing to you. Now do whatever you can to qualify for the low mileage discounts. There are new policies allowing you to pay by the mile and they can represent big savings. The less you drive, the more you save. More importantly, drive safely. To improve your driving there are defensive classes and you should seriously consider attending. As young and older drivers, attendance will earn a discount — a big incentive. Now look for all the possible discounts. This may include you agreeing to take more of the risk on your own shoulders. Accepting a higher deductible is always rewarded with a rate reduction. If you are uncertain on what may help bring down the payments, be positive. Before you buy the policy, agents and the company’s representatives can be helpful. Talking through the options can often bring savings.

Finally, if you can afford it, pay the annual premium as a lump sum. This avoids the administrative charges for monthly or quarterly payment. When you put all these together, you should end up with affordable car insurance with a good company. Even if you have to make a few financial sacrifices, this can often produce better long-term safety than the cheapest car insurance on offer from insurers with a poor record on complaints.

Summary

The article offers practical advice on how to find the best value-for-money policy. Although it involves some effort, this is how the wise consumer protects him or herself when making an important purchase.