Consumer Guide to Vehicle Insurance
Next to taxes, few mandatory expenses are so trying to the soul as vehicle insurance. You know you need it; you know why you need it. Yet, it’s virtually impossible to feel anything other than apprehension and annoyance when it comes time to shop for a new policy. Plus, you know if you don’t take your time to find the best options for your circumstances, you’ll end up throwing your money away upfront, leaving yourself too vulnerable to high costs later, or even both. But stick with us through this consumer guide, and we’ll show you how to buy a reliable, cost-effective policy without wasting a bunch of your precious time.
Car vs. Vehicle Insurance
Vehicle insurance is much more expansive and diverse than the typical policy purchased by the owner of a new Toyota Corolla or Ford Fusion. Insurers are constantly refining their products and policies to accurately measure the risk that specific consumers present. As such, they’ve invested considerable time and capital to determine just how expensive it is to insure commercial delivery vans, motorcycle riders, big box trucks, as well as the conversion vans and pick-up trucks of families and other, everyday drivers. Vehicle insurance is often more expensive than other forms of auto coverage, but not always. If you have health insurance that will cover your medical bills after a motorcycle accident, the decreased potential for property damage will usually make these motorcycle policies cheaper than average, despite the poor safety reputations associated with these bikes. And a safe driving record continues to be the game-changer. If, as a business owner, you only hire safe drivers and tap into a substantial “fleet” discount, your premiums are likely to be more manageable than you fear.
An Overview of Vehicle Insurance
That said, the basic form and buying decisions that surround vehicle insurance is not much different than other products offered by licensed insurers. You’ll still have to carefully weigh different, interconnected price tags and compensation levels for premiums, deductibles, and benefits. Many of these calculations must be done on a case-by-case basis. A one-thousand dollar deductible may be too high for the average driver but too low for a small business owner looking to shave down the company’s monthly overhead expenses. Typically, the urge is to seek out the policy with the absolute lowest premiums available, but these policies may, in fact, offer the worst overall value. Indeed, many insurers prefer to sell their lowest-cost policies, as their lower, long-term loss ratios actually lead to higher profits.
Check out the Insurer, not just the Policy
Too many people look exclusively at the details of their policy and not at all at the insurer selling that policy. If the best price comes from a small, new, or declining insurer, you may need to do some homework on that insurer’s balance sheet just to make sure the funds will be there to pay out a claim when you need it most. More frequently, however, insurers get lousy marks at customer service and their claims process. You can’t go weeks trying to get a check cut to buy a new car when you have a job to get to. Post-accident is already a trying time. If you have to go eight rounds with a phone-only, can-I-put-you-on-hold claims adjuster, more than just your finances can suffer. Your patience becomes frayed, and the quality of family life can go down as well.
Finding the Best Vehicle Insurance
The best place, hands-down, is online with a reliable referral service, like the one here at NetQuote. It takes only a few minutes to submit a request and get the ball rolling, and the advantages are many. First, it’s efficient. Once you provide just a few pieces of basic information, the insurers will come to you, contacting you through phone and email to make their sales pitch and cost estimates. Second, it’s convenient. You can consider different policies and insurers from the comfort of your own home. It becomes easier to sidestep high-pressure sales tactics and to instantly check out conflicting advice by using the Internet as a research tool, including the information guides we provide to consumers at this website. And, third, it lowers cost. Beyond the inherent cost-reducing measures of reliable comparison-shopping, finding insurers online reduces their overhead costs which must be passed on, in part, to you the consumer to remain cost-competitive with other insurers’ offers. With no downside and no obligation, there’s simply no reason to find insurers any other way or to wait to start your online search.
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