I started in the insurance industry back when there were paper applications, we mailed you everything instead of e-mailing it, and your monthly car insurance premium was less than a tank of gas. So needless to say I’ve been around the block a few times when it comes to the insurance industry. When I meet someone new, or a friend buys a car, I always get the same question, “What do I really need to look for when buying car insurance?”
There are quite a few things you want to do when shopping for car insurance. Though price is an important factor, don’t make it the only factor. I’ve had clients call me years after leaving one of my offices, admitting that one of the biggest mistakes they’ve ever made was to leave a good company just because they found it cheaper somewhere else. When it comes to insurance it’s not always ‘you get what you pay for’ but you definitely need to keep that in mind. Saving a few dollars each month could end up costing you hundreds, even thousands of dollars in the long run. Be sure to check the companies satisfaction ratings, company credit rating, as well as insurance grade on your local State Department of Insurance website. Know that not every company is going to make their clients happy all of the time, but getting an overall feel for what the company stands for, as well as their ability and willingness to go above and beyond for their client, is worth the extra few bucks a month.
Educate Yourself. One of the things I pride myself on taking the time to educate and explain how insurance coverages work, so that my clients can make the best decision for themselves and their families. Don’t let an Agent or representative decide what coverages you need. Though most are willing to give suggestions based on their knowledge in the business, some are only there to sell you. Understand what you need, what the state requires, and what is best for your situation. Learn about liability limits and what it pays for, as well as medical payments, collision and comprehensive coverage. It is your job to be informed, and it’s easier to make a better decision when you understand what you’re looking for.
Ask about Discounts. There are tons of discounts offered throughout insurance policies. When getting a quote, or reviewing your policy, ask your Agent if there are any discounts that you’re not getting. Though you may not qualify for all of them, there may be a few that you are missing that could save you. I recommend calling your insurance company at least once a year to see if any changes have been made in procedures, or policies that may save money. Sometimes something as simple as signing up for electronic billing or electronic payments can save you 10% or more.
Be Kind. I often tell my employees that “you get more bees with honey than vinegar“. If you call your insurance company ranting and raving, cursing or screaming about your insurance rates it will get you no where fast. You would be surprised how far a kind soft spoken word will get you. Remember, most of the time the representative that you are talking to has no control over the rules or rates. They are human, just like you, trying to make a living. Being kind instead of angry will have them going the extra mile to try and help you anyway they can. They may have tips, suggestions or even a new company or policy they can switch you to that will be better for you overall in coverage and premium.
Author Bio: Krissy Higgins, licensed insurance agent, and blogger lives with her 3 kids in her hometown of Hamilton, Ohio.