When you're shopping for auto insurance, there are a lot of things to consider: What coverages are you going to purchase? How high are your limits? Should you add optional coverages to your policy? What about deductibles? Another factor you'll likely think about as you shop is the premium cost, or the amount you pay for your policy.
Of course you want to make sure that you are adequately protected in case of an accident, but you also want to get the best value for your money—and that's where an insurance agent can help.
An insurance agent can help you understand the different coverages, limits, deductibles and discounts companies have to offer. That's why a conversation with an agent, either on the phone or in person, is a great idea for anybody looking for car insurance.
So, what types of things might an agent know that help you decide on the right insurance?
All 50 states have some minimum auto insurance requirements, typically pertaining to bodily injury liability and property damage liability coverages and their respective limits. And, if you owe money on a car loan or lease your vehicle, your lender or lease holder likely has some requirements, as well; they typically require you to buy comprehensive and collision coverages for your car.
But, after you meet any requirements, you have some other choices to make regarding optional coverages, such as rental reimbursement coverage, towing and labor costs coverage and others. Depending on your situation, you may decide it's best for you to forego some of these coverages; talking to your insurance agent can help you make this decision.
Two factors that have a direct effect on how much you pay for car insurance are your limits—the maximum amount of money your insurer will pay to cover damages under a specific type of coverage—and your deductibles—the amount of money you must pay out of pocket in the event of a claim.
In many cases, the higher your deductible, the lower your premiums are. And, the higher your limits are, the higher your premiums typically are. As you consider the deductibles and limits in your policy, your agent can help
Your insurance agent isn't just knowledgeable about auto insurance; he or she likely can talk to you about homeowners, renters and various other types of policies. Many insurance companies offer a discount to customers who have multiple policies. So, if you own a car, a boat and a house, you may be eligible for a discount if you buy your auto, boat and homeowners policies through the same insurer. If you already have multiple policies, you can talk to your agent about a discount; if not, and you're ready to switch all your policies to one insurance company, your agent can help you with that, too.
The multiple-policy discount isn't the only way to save money off your premiums. Insurers often offer a wide variety of premium discounts, for reasons such as safe driving, good grades and anti-theft devices. When you talk to your agent, you may want to ask about these discounts, and he or she can help determine if you're eligible.
Before you talk to your insurance agent about auto insurance policy, it's a good idea to have all the pertinent information available. This may include, among other things:
- Information about the people who drive the car
- The distance the car is driven regularly
- All the safety and anti-theft features on your car
- Any driver safety training courses you have taken
That way, your agent will have the information necessary to help you choose coverages and limits. If your agent needs any additional information, it's worth the time to find the answer and get back to him or her. That way, your most accurate information will form the basis of his or her reply.
Whether you're shopping for new insurance or just want to learn more from your current insurer, it often pays to sit down and discuss all of your options with an insurance agent.
Published: September 2013