8 Auto Insurance Tips

There are many facets of auto insurance that vehicle owners and drivers find very confusing. Help is available to help you figure out the problem areas in the form of tips for dealing with auto insurance.

1. Look at the amount of coverage you have; if you want to know how you can control the amount of premium you pay for auto insurance, Dave Snyder, an executive of the American Insurance Association has some advice for you. According to Snyder, about half of the amount you pay helps to cover the cost of liability insurance. Your reasons for driving your vehicle help to determine this. For example, if you use your vehicle to drive to work each day you may have to pay more in premiums. The same thing applies if you have any negative points on your driving record. You will not pay as much with a clean driving record, for example, as you would with a speeding ticket or two. The other half of your auto insurance premium helps to cover any claims you might have for damages or loss of your vehicle in an accident or theft under the comprehensive or collision clauses of the policy.

2. It pays to get insurance quotes from several different companies. You can save yourself a lot of money when you look into the cost of auto insurance from other companies. In most states, there are many different companies competing for your business when you need auto insurance. Nicole Mahrt, a colleague of Dave Snyder at AIA, advises that if you feel that your premiums are too high, you can ask your insurance provider to give you several different quotes and compare these with the ones you get from other companies.

3. Check to see if you qualify for auto insurance discounts. Many insurance companies offer various types of discounts. Some of the suggestions offered by John Marchioni, the senior vice-president of Personal Lines for Selective Insurance, include getting a discount for having more than one insurance policy with the same company, and discounts for having anti-lock brakes, air bags and anti-theft devices installed in your vehicle.

4. Increase your deductible to lower the cost of your insurance. You may not realize that your high insurance premiums may be due to a low deductible if you have a claim against your insurance. High deductibles do lower the cost of the policy, but you do need to ensure that if you do have a claim you are able to afford the deductible.

5. See if you can benefit from having "stacking" coverage. In terms of auto insurance policies, stacking means that you can collect on several different policies if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage included with your policy. This helps you gain more from one claim or a single accident than you can from only one part of your policy. Check with your insurance provider to see if this practice is legal in your state. In about 19 states, it is specified in the insurance laws that auto insurance policyholders can take advantage of stacking and in others it is not mentioned at all and so it does take place. There are some things you have to be careful about when you consider stacking. According to Daniel Kummer, the personal insurance director for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, consumers do need to know that stacking will result in higher costs of auto insurance. The higher costs depend on the specific state, but the increases in premiums could range from 10% to 30%.

6. Check the cost of insurance before you buy a new vehicle. There are several factors involved in determining the amount of insurance you will have to pay for a new vehicle. These include the price you pay for the vehicle, what it will cost to repair the vehicle in case of an accident, the safety record attributed to the vehicle and its likelihood of being stolen. John Marchioni advises that you should take all these factors into consideration when you are shopping for a new vehicle. Just because the price is low does not necessarily mean you will have a low insurance premium. You should also make sure that the insurance provider you choose is willing and able to answer any questions you have pertaining to what influences your insurance policy costs.

7. Cancel your insurance with one company when you take out a policy with another. Many people do not realize that they should cancel their old auto insurance policy when they decide to switch companies. However, since you are obligated by law to have auto insurance, you should not cancel the policy until the new one is in place. Some states will fine you for the number of days that elapse between the cancellation of one policy and the start of another. It is very easy to cancel a policy, as most insurance providers allow you to do so at any time by providing them with the date of cancellation in writing. Many of them allow you to do this over the phone, as well.

8. Get a payment option for insurance that fits your budget. Since most insurance providers do provide their customers with a payment plan allowing them to make monthly payments on the insurance policy, you can choose one that you can afford. However, you do have to pay for this option through finance charges. Daniel Kummer says that this only adds a few dollars to your payment each month. The different options you can choose for your payments include monthly, quarterly or every six months. You can work out your budget to see what would work best for you. It is important to remember that each option has a different price tag attached.