Geckos, double-checks, good hands? How to know which insurance is best for you.
You may love that goofy little gecko with the cockney accent, or Flo, the quirky, always happy-to-help checkout girl, but is that the reason you buy their insurance product? Those beloved mascots are well known, but there are other factors to weigh when choosing your insurance coverage.
It may be a daunting process, but some well-spent time comparing companies against your insurance needs and expectations could save you from future hassles or unnecessary spending. We all want great coverage for the most affordable price, so here are some tips for finding the perfect policy:
Decide what you need
Although insurance requirements vary by state, almost all states require a minimum amount of car insurance to cover damage or injuries caused by your car in the event of a collision. Liability insurance, personal injury protection or medical payments, and uninsured or under-insured motorist coverage are typically required. If you finance your purchase or lease a vehicle, there may be other requirements like collision and comprehensive coverage or gap insurance. Still, there are other extras that you may or may not need. Rental car reimbursement, roadside assistance or towing insurance, and full glass coverage are just a few. Each adds a cost to your coverage so know what features are important to you before you ask for a quote.
Choose a reputable insurance company
It takes repeated quality performance, a high level of customer care, and considerable time to develop a solid reputation. There’s a reason that companies brag about customer satisfaction. And, while you can’t please everyone all of the time, reputable companies are more reliable, work harder to provide excellent care, and pay close attention to the client’s experience. Review satisfaction rates surrounding claims, speed of payments, and resolution of non-claim issues, too. Some reputable companies will be better than others, so prioritize what’s most important to you.
Seek out independent reviews
While a company can control what’s reported on their website and in their marketing material, the good, the bad, and the ugly make its way out in one way or another. Talk to family and friends about their car insurance experiences. Check out comments and interact with insurers on Twitter, Facebook, Insta, and other platforms, and find out how they stand with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The BBB rates companies from A+ to F and reports information like the length of time in operation and customer complaints and resolutions. These outlets together should paint an accurate picture of how they treat their customers and the level of service they provide.
Decide on an appropriate deductible
A higher the deductible will lower your insurance premium, so why consider anything else? Because, in the event of an accident, you’ll need to foot the bill for your deductible before your coverage kicks in. Consider the trade-off. If you’re a safe driver and have a good driving record, the extra risk may be worth it to you. But, we all know that even with cat-like reflexes, accidents happen to the best of us. Are you able to afford to pay your deductible if that were the case?
Compare repair services
Some insurers require you to choose from their network of repair shops. In most cases, that arrangement offers discounted costs to the insurance company in exchange for repair volume. That savings ideally trickles down to you in the form of affordable premiums. In some cases, however, repair shops rely on cheaper replacement parts instead of those from the manufacturer (OEM parts). While some parts may be comparable, tests have found that non-OEM parts are more prone to rust, may fit poorly, or don’t necessarily meet safety standards. The quality of a repair shop’s parts and labor deserve serious consideration.
Consider available discounts
You can’t compare insurance rates without considering driver discounts. If you’re of a certain age, married, or have a safe driving record, you may be classified as a low-risk driver and qualify for a reduced rate. Anti-theft and other safety features in your car can also reduce your premium, as can bundling your auto and home insurance policies with the same company. Does an insurer offer a student away at school discount, a loyalty and legacy program, or a family plan? If you choose to pay your annual premium in full or you’re a good student, there are discounts for those, too.
Work with an agent or broker
Unless you’re comfortable evaluating your insurance needs and comparing different quotes, you may want to work with an insurance agent or a broker. An agent works with a particular company and can help you find the best coverage and rate from among their offerings. If you’ve already decided on an insurance provider, an agent may be the way to go. A broker, on the other hand, can help you do the same, but across several companies. If you’re not set on any one provider yet, a broker can present more diverse options. They may, however, charge a broker fee for their service.
With a little legwork, you’ll be able to find both the level of coverage that works for you’re insurance needs and a rate that fits within your budget.