Owning a car is an important life milestone; you get the freedom to do grown up stuff like driving around town – and buying car insurance. Yup. Nothing says “grown up” quite like chasing down car insurance quotes!
Most people will tell you that comparing car insurance quotes can be frustrating. With so many factors to consider, it’s no wonder that people dread the process. However, if there’s anything I’ve learnt during my years in the insurance business, it’s that the stress that people experience is mostly a result of not doing their homework properly. As with anything in life, owning a car and getting car insurance requires proper planning. Let’s take it one step at a time.
Before you even think of car insurance, think of the car you’ll be getting. What do you need it for? Unless you live in a place like New York City, chances are your car will be extremely important to your lifestyle. You will probably rely on it every day to get to and from work, school, shopping, wherever. You may need it to carry items like sports equipment for the kids or equipment for yourself or even your business. All these are factors to consider in getting a car, and afterwards, in getting car insurance. So, when you’re shopping for your car, consider the following:
The size of the car matters
Do you need a fuel guzzling monster that’s a mission to park or would something smaller do? On the other hand, is a small car practical for getting your family of four (and the dog) around? Take a hard look at your lifestyle and consider what you need the car for. Only then can you come to an understanding of how much space you need and buy accordingly. Bear in mind that the type of vehicle will have a bearing on your car insurance premiums, when you’re comparing quotes down the line.
How much does it cost?
In other words, can you afford it? This is one of the most important factors to think about. When calculating affordability, remember to include car insurance premiums to your monthly payment and not just your monthly loan repayment. That way, you know what you can pass up on if the cost is too high. Pro tip: before heading out to buy, find out the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) and what dealerships are advertising the car for. Often, there’s a difference and that gives you room for negotiation.
Is it fuel efficient?
In a way, this is tied to the point about affordability because the fuel efficiency of a car isn’t just about being environmentally friendly, it is also about your wallet. So, factor that in. Do your research. And remember that cars that require only high efficiency gas or diesel will cost you more in the long run.
What about the looks? “Oh, it doesn’t matter how the car looks, as long as it drives well…
Who’re we kidding? Of course, it matters how the car looks! No one wants to drive something that looks like it was rescued from the scrap heap! You want something that looks great. So obviously, you should consider whether you like how it looks before you buy it. Having said that, it is also true that looks aren’t the most important factor. There’s no point buying a beauty with a hot paint job that sounds like a metal grinder when you’re driving it. Make sure the engine works well, the car handles well, you can accelerate smoothly when you need to, etc. In short, make sure the mechanics are great. Make a list of all the accessories and trappings you want in your car. Separate them into "must haves" and "nice to have" so you know what to let go of if the cost is too high.
Now that you have your car, it’s time to get it insured. This is absolutely critical.
In many jurisdictions, it is mandatory to have car insurance, otherwise you would be in violation of the law. In any event, it’s the smart thing to do. Accidents happen. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 37,461 people were killed in 34,436 motor vehicle crashes in the US in 2016. That’s an average of 102 per day. Statistics like this show why car insurance is important. It not only covers physical damages to cars but also injuries to individuals involved when an accident occurs. So instead of relying on luck, get car insurance that will ensure your damages are paid and your liability, if any, is reduced. Car insurance will also pay your medical bills and provide you other benefits.
Whether you’ll be using it to run family errands, driving it to work, or using it for your business, you need the right car insurance. If your car is for personal use, then personal car insurance is what you need. If it’s for business use, then you may need to get a commercial car insurance. Regardless of which one you need, there are several steps you can take to make sure you get the best car insurance.
Get professional advice
In today’s internet-driven society, we’re tempted to think we should do everything by ourselves. Add in the fact that we’re constantly told to “cut out the middle man” and go direct, and you have a situation in which people spend hours trying to get quotes. Even when we seek advice, we tend to turn to family, friends or coworkers who often are just as clueless as we are. While discussing with family and friends is helpful, getting professional advice is the best way to get the right car insurance. This can make a huge difference in whether you’re properly covered or not. So rather than rely on what may be erroneous information, let an insurance broker use their professional expertise to help you make the best insurance decision based on your personal situation.
How much will it cost?
Let me say this upfront: when it comes to insurance, cheaper isn’t necessarily better. In fact, “cheap” can be a disaster waiting to happen down the line. Why? Because when insurers offer very low rates, they basically trade off better coverage for cheaper premiums. A cheap car insurance policy could well mean less coverage, poor customer support, a painful claims process and a future rise in rates. And let’s not forget less peace of mind for you.
Does this mean you should go for the most expensive car insurance on the market? Absolutely not. It means that while you should be concerned about the cost of your car insurance premiums, that shouldn’t be the most important factor in your decision making. The middle course is best – get worthwhile insurance that covers you while being affordable. The only way to get this is either to spend extensive amounts of time comparing the different variables of several quotes or simply going to a broker who can do this for you.
Know what your deductible will be
Your deductible is how much you pay when you make a claim on your car insurance. Generally, the higher the deductible, the lower the premium and vice versa. If you’re not careful, you can get stung by a very high deductible. So, it is important to know how much the deductible is when comparing car insurance quotes.
There are more details to understand about a car insurance quote than just the premiums and deductibles. Know what’s included in each quote. For example, some insurance policies include a free rental car while yours is in repairs after an accident or before you get another one if it is written off. Other policies don’t offer this. The fact that premiums and deductibles are similar, does not necessarily mean coverage and inclusion are the same. Ask your broker what each quote includes before you accept.
Check out the customer service
The reason you get car insurance is so that you can recoup your losses if something happens. Now what’s the point of car insurance if you can’t get hold of your insurer when you need them? Or you have to jump through hoops before you can make a claim? Which is why the claims process is an important factor in deciding on which insurance policy to sign up for. Research the company’s claims process online. Do they have good reviews? Or do customer reviews give you the impression you’d be better off trying to squeeze water out of a stone?
Good customer service is not only about making a claim. It also includes having your questions answered or having access to information when you need it.
Car insurance is very important. Most of us know this but are often put off by the hard work involved in finding the right quote. Or we simply rely on luck. This doesn’t have to be so. If you do your homework, you are sure to find insurance that works for you. One that adequately covers you, your car and anyone else who may be involved in an accident with you.
Rather than go through the frustrations of comparing multiple quotes to find the right one, or simply settling for the first one that looks good, take the smart step of speaking to a broker. They can help eliminate the stress factor associated with getting car insurance quotes.
Frank helped my family save over $200 a month on car insurance. Thank you so much!!
Frank was able to help us save over $1,000 on our car and home insurance. I would recommend his services to anyone looking for insurance. Thanks Frank for all your help
Auto Insurance Agency
Frank Medina Insurance
342 N Water St Ste 600
Milwaukee, WI 53202
3663 N Sam Houston Pkwy E Ste 600
Houston, TX 77032
Available 9:00am - 5:00pm