How Often Should You Shop For Auto Insurance?
By Winston Takeda
Shopping for auto insurance is a pain. It’s boring, it’s confusing, you never know if that fast talking insurance salesman is pulling the wool over your eyes. They throw out so many vague sounding words and legal terms is enough to stay awake, let alone understand them enough to make a rational decision.
Of course, they know this, and they try to gloss over the parts that can actually save you some money. It’s a tricky business. They need to give you a low enough rates to keep you from shopping around, but high enough so they can still earn a profit.
The only solution is to take some time to understand your policy, and the various terms of insurance. Understand what liability means, comprehensive, collision, uninsured motorist. Also understand how much coverage you’ll need under each one of these. One thing to check is your health insurance, to make sure there’s no overlap.
Once you understand these basics, and how much you need for each one, it’s pretty easy to shop around. Get a quote, and find out what’s covered. Of course, just like any service based product, price is far from the only concern. Sure, if you’re shopping for a certain brand of computer, price is the only factor. But insurance isn’t a solid product. You’ll need to take several other things into account like customer service, how long it takes to file a claim, how long it takes to get paid on a claim, and how helpful the agents are when you’ve got questions or problems.
Luckily, for these issues, there’s plenty of independent rating services that will help. So really, all you need to know is the amounts of coverage, how the company is rated, and the price. Now, you’re finally ready to shop around.
How often should you shop around? It depends on how long your policy is for. Most policies are for a year. If you stop halfway through, and switch to a new policy, there will likely be additional fees. So if you do decide to switch, just make sure the money you save will more than offset any fees you may incur.
And even if you’re happy with your current policy, it’s always a good idea to start shopping around a month or so before your policy expires. Remember, most people automatically renew their policy without too much thought. If you do this, you might be leaving money on the table, even with your own company. That’s because every year you get older, and your driving record changes. Both of these have an effect on how much you pay.
So always shop around. Even if you plan on keeping your policy. You never know when you’ll be able to save money.