Shopping for auto insurance can be confusing. Here’s what you should know to make sure you’re covered by a good company. Your search for the right auto insurance company, offering the best premiums, along with the proper coverage to meet your needs, could end up taking hours, if not days. Your hard-earned dollars and your time are both extremely valuable. That’s why you shouldn’t waste either one while going about choosing a new insurer.
Before you begin your search, keep five things in mind when comparing insurance companies:
• Stability – How long the insurance company has been in business is an important factor to consider. Reliability and a lengthy history of serving its customers in a professional manner are equally important. Look into their financial history as well, if possible. Reason being, insurance companies with questionable finances may sometimes be less likely to cover expensive accident claims and lawsuits arising from an accident or they may cut corners on repairs at your expense.
• Claims Handling and Customer Service – Does the insurance company have a well-trained and efficient customer service? Do they have a reputation of settling claims in a timely manner? These are vital factors as your stress level can increase rapidly when dealing with inefficient and less than competent claims adjusters or customer service personnel. Following an auto accident, you expect quick resolution and full compensation for damages and repairs.
• Policy Options and Flexibility – When shopping for coverage, you always want choices that will be ideal for you and the car you drive. The more auto insurance options and flexibility the insurer makes available to you the better chance you’ll end up with the coverage that meets your needs. Furthermore, remember that affordability is your ultimate goal, but it should be achieved without sacrificing quality. Lastly, the insurance company you select will also offer you several convenient payment options to make it easier on your wallet.
• Discounts and Other Benefits – An insurance company’s main function is to provide financial protection for you, your car, and other drivers in the event of an automobile accident – and, they should do it in an affordable way. This is where discounts become an integral part of earning your business.
Examples of auto insurance discounts are:
o Good driver
o Student good-grades
If an insurance company really wants your business, they will offer you all the discounts that apply to you. As for benefits, you should look for:
o 24-hour accessibility
o Convenient claims center locations
o Accident forgiveness
o Rental car option
o Convenient payment options
Roadside Response and Repair – The majority of serious auto accidents require cars to be towed away. When that happens, your car will usually need extensive repairs to make it drivable again. The insurance company you choose should be swift and competent in determining the cost of repairs and provide body shop options to get your car back on the road quickly. Even better – if they also offer the car rental option to cover transportation during the time your car is in the shop being repaired as part of your policy.
In the end, the right auto insurance company for you will be the one that not only fulfills the five things listed above to meet your needs, but also the one that you feel the most comfortable with.
Do you follow your own criteria when shopping for an auto insurance company? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.