Nowhere is the old maxim that “you get what you pay for” more relevant than when buying auto insurance. Paying a high premium means that you have a good comprehensive cover for your car but it can also indicate that you are over-insured. Similarly, for a low premium policy, a few clauses of a good standard policy will be missing but that does not mean that you get a below par policy or you have to face poor customer service in case you need to file a claim. There are pros and cons for both and it is advisable to carry out extensive research on what various companies have to offer before buying an auto policy.
A few tips are provided here on how to get car insurance within your budget without compromising on coverage, claims processing, customer service or any other factors that make for a good and quality insurance coverage.
- Buying a car – The process of getting cheap auto insurance starts before you buy a car and not after. Most new owners consider only the sticker price but there are a lot of other factors too. Luxury and other high-end cars naturally have a higher premium than middle level solid and dependable cars. Insurers charge high premiums for fast sports cars. If yours can zoom 0 to 60 in 6 seconds you are liable to pay higher insurance for it. This is because insurers feel that fast cars are prone to more smash-ups than others. So if you are resident of Melbourne for example, they feel that your fast car is more liable to be towed to an accredited garage for smash repairs at Hoppers Crossing than other slower ones.
Another factor is the safety features in the car that you intend to buy. Those with traction control systems, anti-lock brakes, airbags, alarm and anti-theft system are offered discounts on insurance premium as the car will be highly rated in safety crashes, resulting in lower claims.
- Deal with one company – Most companies deal in a wide variety of products such as life insurance, homeowners insurance, RV and motorcycle insurance apart from auto insurance. If you are an existing customer with a bundle of products to your name you can bargain for and get up to 15% discount when you add auto insurance to the list. However, go for this route only if the discounts and policy price offered justifies it. In today’s fiercely competitive insurance business environment, you can get discounts from any company if you can prove that you are getting a cheaper premium from a rival service provider. This is regardless of whether you are a loyal customer of other offerings or not.
- Compare and buy – Do not stop by the first insurance company you come by after buying your car and get auto insurance. The Internet has opened up infinite possibilities and you should take full advantage of it. Do an extensive research on average car insurance premium in the State that you are residing in and then compare it with the premium you are being charged. Check on the lowest, average and highest rates of insurance not only by State but by zip codes too.
Finally, get quotes from at least three providers and compare the rates as well as the inclusions and exclusions. Read testimonials of other customers about those companies on their websites. Customer support is a crucial issue. You definitely would not want a service provider that does not care for you later when you submit a claim.
There is another option before you. Top and certified garages offer their customers help in all insurance related issues from preparing claim forms to sanction of claims. For example, if your car is involved in a smash up in Melbourne and you take it to authorised service station MACS Auto & Panel, they will complete the insurance formalities on your behalf. Hence, you can also rely on them to give you a clear and honest picture of the best insurance service providers, both in terms of rates and customer support.
- Increase your deductible – The higher you choose to have your deductible, the lower will be the premium even though you have to pay more from your pocket in the event of an accident. Since accidents are rare occurrences, high deductibles mean regular savings on insurance premiums. However, make sure that you put away a small amount every month to meet margin on claims should your car be involved in a smash-up.
- Improving credit score – Insurance providers are permitted to access credit scores of applicants and a high credit score means lesser premiums. This is because insurers have found a strong correlation between drivers with good credit scores and safe driving!
When looking for cheap car insurance your focus should be on getting the best policy coverage and features and not the lowest price only. Dirt cheap policies from a company with a poor customer service record can be a harrowing experience for the insured in the event of a claim to be settled.