9 Questions to Ask When Comparing Car Insurance Quotes
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When buying a new car insurance policy or switching companies, you need to compare the various quotes first. When doing so, you should ask certain questions, including: Is there a difference in price for the same amount of coverage for different companies? Who does the policy cover? What is the deductible amount?
By asking the right questions, you can ensure that you get the coverage you need for a price that works with your budget. The following nine questions are ones you should always ask when comparing car insurance quotes.
1. Is There a Difference in Cost for the Same Coverage?
One of the first things you should look at is how much each company wants to charge for a certain amount of coverage. There are various types of insurance you can purchase:
- Liability insurance: Most states require a minimum amount of liability insurance. Liability insurance helps to pay for any damage or injury costs associated with an accident you cause.
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or MedPay insurance: PIP or MedPay covers the cost of any injury you suffer in an accident involving a car. You can have one or the other, but not both.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance: Some states also require uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage for times when the person at-fault in an accident does not have insurance or lacks sufficient coverage to pay for all damages.
2. Who Does the Policy Cover?
Find out if the policy covers anyone other than yourself. Even if a person does not drive your car, you must list them on your insurance if they can legally drive and live in the same household as you. You can also list them on your insurance as an additional driver.
Whether you have to pay for any additional drivers depends in part on their driving record and your insurance company. Most often, additional people covered by your insurance include:
- A spouse or domestic partner
- Any children of driving age in the house
- Anyone else living at the same address, such as friends or family members
3. How Much Is the Deductible?
Another question to ask is how much of a deductible the coverage offers. Deductible amounts range from $250 to $1,500. If you think a specific coverage plan costs too much, consider increasing the deductible amount to cut down the price.
4. What Discounts Does the Insurer Offer?
Discounts represent another area of difference between various car insurance companies. Most offer a loyalty discount, which goes up over time, good student discounts, and discounts for various safety features on a car. In addition, see if you can bundle other insurance you might need with your car insurance, such as homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, which can give you discounts as well.
5. What Payment Options Does the Insurer Offer?
Be sure to find out which payment options the company offers. Can you pay monthly, or do they expect you to pay one lump sum every six months or year? Many car insurance companies offer more than one payment option, with customers opting to pay monthly garnering a small surcharge. In some cases, a car insurance company might offer a discount to customers who pay their entire bill all at once.
6. At What Hours Can You Contact an Agent?
Contact hours for agents represent another big factor when choosing a car insurance company. Pay attention to whether they offer 24/7 claim service. That way, even if you have an accident on the weekend or a holiday, you can report a claim and get the ball rolling sooner.
7. Can You Use OEM Parts?
Another consideration is whether your insurer pays for original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts if you have an accident and need to have something in your car replaced. OEM parts are usually higher quality than aftermarket parts, but they cost more. For this reason, insurers prefer the cheaper option. Some states require that car insurance companies cover OEM parts if asked. Check your state laws to see what options you have, or pick an insurer that pays for them regardless.
8. Where Can You Find the Nearest Office?
You should also determine if the insurance company has a local office that you can go to, if necessary. A local office allows you to meet with someone face-to-face and see what coverage options you have in writing. A physical office also allows you to go over your coverage more easily when you need to update it or just review it.
9. What Is the Insurer’s Accident Claim Process?
In addition to the amount of insurance you opt for, a smooth accident claims process represents one of the most important parts of your coverage. You also need to ask if the company offers perks such as accident forgiveness — or do your premiums go up automatically following a wreck? Furthermore, you need to determine if the claims process has any special requirements, such as taking photos or getting witness names and phone numbers.