Buying car insurance is never something you want to spend time doing, but having it can be the difference between knowing you’re covered in the event you’re in a collision and knowing you’re not. Although shopping for car insurance is frustrating, having an actual conversation with your current and prospective insurance agents can help you get the right coverage and spend less doing so. Below are some questions you must ask your car insurance agent before signing.
What type of coverage do I need?
Unless you work in the insurance industry, knowing what type of car insurance you need can be tricky. Instead of suffering from car insurance confusion, it’s very important to talk with your agent about it. If you have a brand new expensive car, chances are you’ll want the premium insurance to cover it. However, if you’re driving an old beater, chances are you don’t need the premium coverage, as you’ll just be spending too much. Talk with your agent not only about what type of vehicle you drive, but also how you drive it. For instance, if you work from home and barely use your vehicle, there may be a discount out there for you. However, if you use your vehicle for work, then you may need additional coverage.
How much will it cost?
Everyone’s budget is extremely important, so you always want to know exactly how much your insurance will cost. Have your agent talk with you not only about the actual cost of the premium, but also about the cost broken down into monthly installments. Some companies add a fee on to their premiums if you opt to pay monthly, so keep this in mind.
Aside from knowing the initial costs, you also want to have a discussion about how it could raise over the years. For instance, will the cost of insurance go up every year just because? If so, what are the typical averages for it to rise? Will the cost of your rates go up if you get into an accident even if it wasn’t your fault? Or will they go up if you get a ticket for a traffic violation? Fully understanding your costs can help you avoid surprises down the line.
What is the protocol?
Although you hope you never need to contact your insurance agent regarding a collision, it’s important to know the right steps to take in case you are. For instance, you need to know if you should call your agent directly or if there’s an 800 number you should call. You should also find out if there is access to information online or if you’ll need to fill out any hard copy paperwork. Finally, you also want to know exactly what type of claim you’re filing. For instance, knowing when is a car totaled vs when can it be fixed will help you talk openly with your agent about your needs.
If you have a family, you want to be sure you fully understand who is covered on your insurance policy, especially if you have multiple drivers with multiple cars. Talk with your agent about this in detail to ensure you are fully aware of the coverage you and the other members of your family are receiving.
Do you offer incentives?
Once you land on an insurance agent, they will want to keep you. Talk with your agent about incentives they may have in place to keep you as a loyal customer. For instance, maybe they offer a bonus for providing referrals to their agency, or maybe you can receive some special discounts for the longevity of your relationship. Asking this upfront will help you make the right final decision.
Being prepared and talking with your insurance agent can help you make a smart decision when it comes to choosing which one is the right person and company for you and your vehicle.