What is frustrating and scary for many people when buying auto insurance is the fear that they don’t know what they are getting. Fear of the unknown in this situation is extreme because not having the right coverage can make a tremendous difference when it comes to financial stability. This is why it is important to make sure that you are taking the right steps when buying auto insurance online. Some things to consider during this process are discussed below.
Remember, these steps are not necessarily to make sure that you are getting the right coverage for your situation, but instead that you are choosing the right company and situation overall. Here are some things to consider:
The Financial Reputation of the Company
Insurance companies are essentially financial companies that finance the risk that you pose as a driver of a vehicle. So, the company that you are considering needs to be considerably reliable or you could be left holding the tab for a major auto accident. Buying auto insurance online can make this somewhat difficult as anyone can get a website, but just sticking with the reputable names can make a difference.
When you are considering buying an auto insurance policy from one company over another you need to compare prices equitably. This is to say, don’t compare auto insurance deductibles of two different numbers as the premiums will obviously be different. Compare what one company includes automatically to what another makes you pay extra for.
Compare Late Payment Policies
With auto insurance or homeowners insurance it can be scary if you miss a payment and your policy lapses in coverage. If this happens and a loss occurs then you will have no coverage and be faced with rebuilding or buying again on your own. Financial responsibility can be too heavy in this situation and that is why you need to know just how much wiggle room you have when payment time comes.
What you need to find out is the late payment policy, in other words, does your policy lapse and no coverage is afforded, or are you given some grace period? If your policy is to lapse in this situation it can be very scary and you should consider if you have any other options for different insurance policies.
What Discounts Can You Get?
Every insurance company advertises that they have more discounts than the others, but when it comes down to it none of that promise matters. They could have 500 discounts, but only five are what you would qualify for, so that doesn’t really help you much. You need to see what you would qualify for so you can truly match the offers from one company to another. Good driver discounts, education discounts, multiple-policy discounts, they all add up and can save you a lot of money.
The Claims Department
One thing that could save you a lot of time and frustration when an accident happens is that you can file a claim online. If your potential auto insurer allows you to file a claim on the internet this will save you countless hours in hold time on the phone. In addition, you can keep up with your claim online, meaning you don’t have to call back for any other information either.
One other integral part of this claims department equation is having a claims hotline or toll-free number to call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This will give you greater access to your policy and make it so that you can find someone to speak to in any situation should you need it.
Check the “Official” Reputation of the Company
Nowadays the most sophisticated way to research a company’s reputation is to get online and do a search using one of the most popular search engines. However, the best way to get an official reputation and know who you are dealing with is to go to the authorities. “Standard & Poors” and “A.M. Best” are the best way to tell if you are dealing with a stable and dependable company. You do not want to do business with a company that doesn’t have this reputation.
The other dependable way to get a good read on a company’s reputation is to look at your state’s Department of Insurance complaints. Not all of these complaints are justified, but they could give you a good idea of what a company’s strong and weak points are.
Now Go Buy!
You know what you are looking for, or at least what you need, and now is your chance to be able to make the decision that is best for you. Auto insurance really is all about what you know and the more you know the better your decision will be. Make sure that you do your research and then go out and buy your new insurance policy with the confidence that it is the right choice.