Shopping for Car Insurance

Shopping for Car Insurance

The internet is a great place for shopping for car insurance and learning the basics…and since you’re here, you have already begun.  There are several sites that will give full quotes online, and lot’s of others that will take your information and get back to you. Once you have a general idea of what your costs will be, check with a local agent. Sometimes it’s convenient having someone local to talk with rather than spending time on an 800 number, but keep in mind that many of today’s insurance agents are just order takers and can’t offer service.

Shop around because prices vary for many reasons. Companies base their rates on a variety of factors and may have different priorities. Your rate may be based on:

  • Your driving record, a better record will lower your premium.
  • The number of miles you drive each year, the more miles you drive, the more chance for accidents.
  • Where you live, companies track neighborhoods by the number of accidents, car thefts and lawsuits, along with the cost of medical care and car repair.
  • What kind of car you drive, some cars cost more to insure than others because they are stolen more often, cost more to replace, more to repair, and the overall safety record of the car.
  • Your age, generally, mature drivers have fewer accidents than newer drivers, particularly teenagers. So insurers generally charge more if teenagers or young people below age 25 drive your car (and boys are charged more than girls).
  • Your credit record.
  • The amount of coverage, the more coverage you have, the more it costs.

One hazard of shopping online is the number of sites that have you fill out long forms only to tell you that someone will call.  There are two dangers here.  The first is outright identity theft.  Don’t give your personal information to any company that you don’t recognize.  Make sure that the URL, that’s the http address at the top of your browser, matches the company name.

The second danger isn’t as serious but it still might cost you.  Many companies have trainees or special telephone reps return your calls.  Ask a few questions.  If they’re not knowledgeable, or don’t want to deviate from their set sales script, it’s probably not a good deal for you.  You’ll be giving them a lot of money over the years.  They owe you a representative with full knowledge of discounts and situations.