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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

How to Save More on Car Insurance

There are a number of expenses related to owning a car. In addition to the obvious ones of fuel and routine upkeep, there is the cost of periodic maintenance, such as fixing a leaky radiator or a broken shock absorber. Then there is insurance. If you plan on driving a vehicle anywhere except your own property, the car will have to be insured. It's for your own protection and the welfare of everyone else. Car insurance doesn't have to be expensive. There are ways to keep the costs down. Here are a few tips on how save on car insurance.

Decide What You Need
Before you do anything else, you need to decide what kind of coverage you need in order to meet your obligations, and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing you're adequately covered--at a price you can afford. There are a lot of decisions to be made. It's pretty much universal in the insurance industry to lower the monthly premiums as the amount of your deductible goes up. Simply put, high deductible equals low payments. The caveat is that you will have to make sure you have the cash on hand to pay any deductible, because your insurance coverage won't kick in until the deductible is met. Another consideration is whether or not you owe more than the car is worth. If you do, you may want to think about carrying gap insurance. Gap insurance covers the 'gap' between what you owe and the actual value amount of the vehicle, which frequently happens when you purchase a new car. The value goes down dramatically the moment you drive off the lot. If you were to get in an accident immediately, and the car was totaled, you would instantly be in the hole. You may also want to consider rental car insurance so you will have something to drive while your car is being repaired. It is possible to have insurance coverage for virtually anything, but as your coverage increases, so do your monthly premiums.
Do Some Research
Because the insurance industry is competitive, you may be able to get a good value for your money. All you have to do is look for it. Ask your friends and neighbors who their insurance carriers are and whether or not they're satisfied with the service. It won't take you long to find out that some insurance companies have a better reputation than others. You want to seriously consider any company that gets a good recommendation from more than one person. Another thing to keep in mind is the personality and availability of an individual insurance agent. If your agent is going to be hard to contact, or constantly makes you wait for an appointment, or is slow to respond to a claim, you may want to go somewhere else. Just like cream, the good ones will rise to the top of the recommendation list. You may also want to go online and do some research about what sort of coverage packages various companies have to offer.
Time to Start Shopping
After you've determined the amount and type of insurance coverage you want, it's time to start shopping. While you're doing your research collect some insurance quotes online. Fill out the forms and go through their various offerings to determine the price you'd have to pay for their coverage. When you're finished it's time to do the same thing with traditional insurance companies. You can do that either over the phone or by making an appointment and talking to an agent in person. Have a list of your requirements close at hand and go over your choices one by one with the agent you talk to. Ask them about any discounts they may offer, and what you need to do to qualify for them. If you've been with the same company for a long period of time, you may be rewarded with a discount for being a loyal customer. Your rates will also be lower if you haven't had to file a claim for awhile. Avoid being pressured into signing quickly. This is an important decision, and you should take your time making it. Instead take a day or so and compare the various rate quotes you've gathered. Take into account the amount of deductible, and other variables, and then make a decision on which company to go with.

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