5 Steps to Buying Car Insurance Online
Aside from cost, the two biggest headaches to buy car insurance are the time it takes to find a reliable car insurance company and the stress involved with wading through all the fine print and marketing strategies to make a wise choice. The need to buy car insurance is as common as the need to drive an automobile, but this doesn't mean you have to join the ranks of millions of people who waste their time looking for car insurance companies only to get an inferior car insurance policy. With that said, here's what you need to do to buy car insurance quickly and wisely.
The Five Steps to Buy Car Insurance Online
- Gather Information. Online request forms are used to help match you to the best companies for your insurance needs, but the companies themselves will need additional information. The most common piece of information is the VIN number from any vehicle you plan to insure. Take a moment to determine how many tickets and accidents you've incurred over the last three years. You may also want to figure out approximately how many miles you put on the vehicle each year. Less common pieces of information include student transcripts and driver's school contact information that may be needed for young driver discounts.
- Decide What Coverage You Need. Often, people zero-in on whether or not they need collision and comprehensive coverage, but you should also consider upgrading from state minimums for bodily injury liability and property damage liability. Nearly half of all states have a minimum of forty-thousand dollars or less for bodily injury liability per accident. If you plow into a sedan with a family of four in it, you will be on the hook for medical expenses beyond this limit. Likewise, a ten-thousand dollar limit on property damage won't be enough if you manage to total a brand new sports coupe. Don't assume that a car insurance company will automatically ask if you want to upgrade, either. Often, insurers are more concerned about limiting insurance risks than they are about collecting higher premiums. On a similar note, discuss what your deductibles will be and the effect higher or lower deductibles will have on your premiums.
- Determine a Payment Schedule. This seems like an insignificant detail, but it has teeth and in a couple different ways. First, insurance companies almost always offer a discount if you're willing to pay the entire 6 or 12-month premium upfront. Plus, you won't have to worry about making payments each month or trying to keep track of making three monthly payments, then having three months off, and then back on. If you simply can't afford to pay the full amount upfront, you need to make sure you're not late. Consequences include possible cancellation of your policy, and your credit rating will almost certainly take a hit, leading to higher insurance premiums in the future.
- Establish a Reliable Means of Communication. No insurance plan is going to work for you if it's not there for you when you need it. Before you make any final buying decisions, discuss the best way to contact the insurance company in the event of an accident and the process of filing a claim and getting that claim paid out. You probably don't need to spend 45 minutes going over every last detail for every possible contingency, but it's a good idea to establish the most reliable way of communicating with your insurance agent or customer service. If you lose your insurance card and get pulled over by a police officer, for example, quickly securing new proof of insurance can save you a lot of hassles at the courthouse.
- Buy Car Insurance Online. You have little chance of buying car insurance both quickly and wisely without using an online referral service, like the one we offer here at NetQuote. Instead of taking your own time to hunt down prospective car insurance companies, we do the legwork for you. Plus, you won't have to cold-call insurance agents or visit them at their offices, where they have the home-field advantage. Online referral services let insurance companies know they're in direct competition with other companies that will be matched to your request. Thus, insurance companies will want to contact you as fast as they can, while still offering competitive rates and solid customer service. By following these five steps, perhaps the only remaining obstacle to buying car insurance quickly and wisely is not waiting any longer.
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