It can be daunting shopping for auto insurance for the first time. There are so many options, discounts, and savings advice available that it’s hard to know where to start.
But don’t worry. We’ll show you how to take things one step at a time and do effective research. There are some great options, including getting an auto insurance quote by VIN number, that you might not have considered.
#1 – Get Quotes From Different Insurance Companies
The best way to get quotes from different insurance companies is by using an auto insurance quote comparison website. When you get a quote, make sure to include the same coverage levels and deductibles so you’re comparing apples to apples.
You also might be able to use your vehicle’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to expedite the process and get a more accurate quote.
Here are some of the most popular auto insurance companies for easy online quotes:
- State Farm
- USAA (for military families only)
There are also smaller regional insurers that might have better rates in your area. The only way to find out is to get quotes from as many companies as possible. Keep in mind that the cheapest auto insurance company isn’t always the best. You want to ensure you’re getting the coverage you need at a price you can afford.
#2 – Compare Rates and Coverage to Find the Best Policy
Once you have a few quotes, it’s time to compare them. Look at the coverage levels and ensure they’re the same on each policy. Then, look at the price.
Auto insurance prices can vary based on a number of factors, including your driving record, the type of car you drive, your age, and where you live. If you have a clean driving record and are driving an older car, you might be able to get away with cheaper auto insurance.
But you can expect to pay more if you’re a young driver with a sports car. Once you’ve compared rates and coverage, you can decide which policy is right for you. Read the fine print to understand what’s covered and not.
#3 – Make Sure You Understand Your Policy and What’s Covered
It’s important to understand your auto insurance policy before you buy it. For example, most auto insurance policies will cover damage to your car if it’s hit by another car or if it rolls over. But they might not cover damage from a flood or fire.
Here are some of the most important things your auto insurance policy should cover:
- Bodily injury liability: Covers medical expenses and property damage if you cause an accident.
- Property damage liability: Covers damage to another person’s property, such as their car, if you cause an accident.
- Collision: Covers damage to your own car if you cause an accident.
- Comprehensive: Covers damage to your own car from fire, theft, or weather.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist: This covers damage to your own car if you’re hit by a driver who doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance.
- Medical payments or personal injury protection: This covers medical expenses for you and your passengers if you cause an accident.
If you’re not sure what’s covered, ask your insurance agent or read your policy documents. Once you understand your policy, you can rest assured you’re getting the coverage you need at a price you can afford.
#4 – Keep up With Your Payments to Avoid Penalties or Rate Hikes
Once you’ve bought auto insurance, it’s important to keep up with your payments. If you miss a payment, you could be penalized, or your rates could go up. Set up auto payments with your insurance company so you don’t have to worry about missing a payment.
If you have any questions about your auto insurance policy, don’t hesitate to ask your agent. They can help you understand your coverage and what to do if you have an accident.
Now that you know how to buy auto insurance, it’s time to start getting quotes. Use our auto insurance calculator or get an auto insurance quote by VIN to compare rates and find the best policy for you.
#5 – Report Accidents as Soon as Possible
If you’re in an accident, report it to your insurance company as soon as possible. That is one of the best things to do immediately following a car crash, as they will need to investigate the accident and determine who is at fault.
Get the police involved if there is any property damage or injuries, and take pictures of the scene if you can. Any evidence you can provide will help your insurance company with its investigation.
Once the accident has been reported, your insurance company will start the claims process. They will determine how much you’ll need to pay out of pocket and how much they’ll cover. It can be smart to always push for compensation following an accident.
If you have any questions about the claims process, don’t hesitate to ask your insurance agent. They can help you understand what’s happening and what you need to do.
#6 – Review Your Policy Regularly
Even if you have the perfect auto insurance policy, reviewing it regularly is important. That way, you can ensure you’re still getting the best deal.
Auto insurance rates can change over time, so what was the best deal a year ago might not be the best deal now. And as your life changes, your auto insurance needs might change too.
For example, if you get married or have a child, you might need to adjust your auto insurance coverage. Or if you move to a new city, your rates could go up or down.
Whatever changes occur in your life, make sure to review your auto insurance policy and see if it still meets your needs.
Luke Williams writes and researches for the auto insurance comparison site, BuyAutoInsurance.com. His passions include insurance and helping new drivers navigate and enter the world of auto insurance.