Finding out that you are not adequately insured after an auto accident can be nearly as disturbing as the accident itself. Despite all of the positives that the internet has given us, one significant drawback is the ability to shop for car insurance unassisted. Many consumers are so intensely focused on premium payments, which leads to making uninformed choices; resulting in being under insured or covered when the worst happens. To avoid this, there are some fundamental questions to ask before selecting a policy and a provider.
What factors affect my premium?
It is essential to know how your credit score and driving record change your premium, and how to reduce your premiums by taking defensive driving courses or improving your credit record.
What discounts do you offer?
It is necessary to choose a policy that maximizes both coverage and discounts. In addition to safe driving discounts, inquire about good student, homeowner or group policy discounts. Many insurance agencies will offer discounts for multiple cars insured under the same policy, in addition to multiple policy discounts. For example, combining a homeowner or renter’s insurance policy with car insurance often results in a discount to both policies without affecting coverage.
What is the claims process?
For most people, the only time that they deal with their insurance company is in the event of an accident, and subsequently, filing a claim. It is vital to understand the claims process and turnaround time for reimbursement or service before accepting insurance from any provider. An excellent claims service has round the clock agents to answer phone calls in the event of an accident, 24/7 and strives to make the process easy and consumer centric.
What are my payment options?
Even in this digital age, consumers value flexible payment options. Most insurance companies offer a monthly payment program, while others require the premium payment in full every six months to a year. Take note of any additional charges for a monthly payment program, payment locations, or online payment or billing options and make a choice that meets your personal and financial needs.
Above all, make sure you speak directly with an insurance agent to understand the policy limits of benefits payable upon an accident, before selecting your policy. It is also beneficial to discuss adding on items like roadside assistance, rental reimbursement and available coverage if a vehicle is totaled. Not having adequate protection when you need it winds up in an expensive and frustrating experience; easily avoided by asking the right questions up front and making an informed decision based on that knowledge.