Auto Insurance – Make an informed choice

Wang Yan

Global Courant

Were you taught about liability, collision and hull at school? What about deductibles and all the tricks to save money on car insurance? Probably not, but if you’re one of the most people who drive a car, you either learned quickly, took whatever insurance your family or friends advised, or you’re going to learn it the hard way one day. Take the guesswork out of choosing auto insurance and read up on it so you can make an informed choice.

Many motorists pay extra on their premium for a low deductible and still take the minimum liability coverage. You can probably afford that $500 deductible if something happens, but can you afford to be sued for $400,000 in damages? Use your auto insurance budget wisely to protect yourself and your assets. Think about increasing your deductible and using those savings to increase your liability protection. If you are worth more (you have a good job or you are studying for it) or you have a lot of wealth, then of course you have more to protect than someone who does not. If you have significant assets, an umbrella policy may be worth considering to ensure all your assets are protected.

Check your health insurance, if medical bills are covered after an accident, you can remove personal injury protection from your car insurance.

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Have good credit, many companies use it to decide how much to charge you and even if they want to insure you at all.

If you don’t have an extra car, make sure your insurance company pays for a rental car if you have an accident. The cost of renting a car for a week while your car is being repaired can be significant.

Look around for quotes, a good place to start is a comparison website. Compare quotes from a few different companies and review the policies to see how they compare. If you change policies, make sure you notify your previous insurance company immediately and make sure there is no gap in your coverage before your new one takes effect.

Car insurance can be expensive, fortunately there are many discounts that you can qualify for. Keeping a good driving record is the best way to lower your premiums. Other discounts available include; low mileage, safety features, multipolis, senior, take a safe driving course and pay annually. Take advantage of all the discounts you can get to get the cheapest rate.

Teenagers can contribute significantly to your car insurance premium. Think about letting your teen drive the cheapest car in the family and excluding them from other policies. If your teen moves, don’t forget to take them out of the policy. Just make sure you don’t lend them the car when they come to visit! If you still want your teen on the policy, find out if your insurer will give you a discount while they’re in school.

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If your car has seen better days and it’s not worth much, consider scrapping the collision coverage. The cost of your collision coverage may not be worth it if your insurance company only pays for your vehicles.

Make sure you understand what will happen if you have an accident and what choices you have. Does your insurer pay for original or only generic parts to repair your car after an accident? Can you choose your own mechanic or body shop if you have an accident? Read through your policy and make sure you are happy with it.

Make calling your insurance company your first priority after an accident. Many insurance companies have a time limit, usually around 48 hours, for filing a claim.

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If you are unlucky enough to make a claim, get a copy of the accident report, keep all your receipts, and make sure you write down all the details of who you are speaking to. Make sure you include everything in your damage estimate. You may be entitled to sales tax and registration fees if your car has been written off.

Put some effort into getting your claim processed to speed up the process. Get some estimates and follow up with your insurer regularly to assess progress.

Work with your expert to get the best results. If you do not agree with the amount offered, ask the loss adjuster for the reason in writing. If you don’t get a satisfactory answer, keep calm and explore your other options. Talk to the claims department manager and request a review of your case, consider filing a complaint with the state insurance department.

Auto Insurance – Make an informed choice

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