It’s smart to compare car insurance quotes
When you’re shopping California auto insurance, it’s just smart to compare auto insurance rates. This can be done in a variety of ways, but it’s not really important how you compare auto insurance premiums, just that you take the time to explore your options.
There are several benefits to taking the time to compare auto insurance premiums prior to making your final selection, and most of them are pretty obvious. Sure you want to get a side-by-side view of the costs for the auto insurance coverage your requesting, and the limits. But there are some other important things you should gather from your rate comparisons.
Look beyond limits and premiums
It’s no always easy to see just how good a car insurance company is when you’re only looking at the premiums and the limits. This is like trying to compare two cars by simply saying they must be the same because they both have wheels, doors and an engine. Because we all have a base level understanding of cars, most of us can tell the difference between a BMW and a Smart Car … one is an obviously better car.
In many ways auto insurance companies can be evaluated like consumer packaged goods, you just need to learn the “raw” materials and “engineering” that goes into each when you compare auto insurance.
Here are a few things you need to evaluate when you compare auto insurance:
- The financial stability or security of the auto insurance company
- The way that auto insurance policy allows or excludes the coverages and limits you’re buying
- How the auto insurance company handles claims
- The service levels of the insurance company
- The service levels of the agency or call-center
Auto insurance company financial stability
The financial stability of an insurance company let’s you understand their capability of having the financial resources to handle your claim, and more importantly, pay your auto insurance claim. Most auto insurance companies are rated for financial size and stability by AMBest. If you compare auto insurance premiums first, the next step should be to check the financial stability and strength index at AMBest.
You may be surprised, some auto insurance companies don’t even submit to AMBest for a rating. You may not want to consider those types of companies when you compare auto insurance quotes.
Understanding the auto insurance contract and policy language
It’s not enough to simply compare auto insurance premiums, coverages and limits of liability, these are only a few of the important items involved when your compare auto insurance quotes.
Under the surface, it’s the actual contract (auto insurance application) and the auto insurance policy that will provide the rules for when a loss is considered covered, and whether a covered loss provides the full benefit provided in the limits you’ve purchased.
You see, the auto insurance policy, is designed to first sets forth an “insuring agreement” whereby you pay premium and the insurance company pays for covered losses, then it sets forth the definition of terms, and ultimately, controls the nature of the relationship with what is excluded.
It is in the mechanics of the definitions and the exclusions where certain losses may not be covered, or certain limits of liability may be reduced. For instance, how does your current auto insurance policy provide for the following?
- Newly aquired vehicles
- Replacement vehicles
- Temporary replacement vehicles
- Permissive users
- Rented vehicles
- Household members you forget to list on your policy
- Losses if your cited for driving under the influence
Theses are just a few of the items that may have exclusions or limits on the amount of benefits should you have a “covered loss.”
So, when you compare auto insurance, you also need to compare the auto insurance policy and contract.
How does the auto insurance company handle claims?
When you purchase an auto insurance policy, you are really purchasing two things, the service associated with the purchase or maintenance of your auto insurance policy (and professional advice), and the adjudication of claims during a covered loss.
So, if you save a few dollars on an auto insurance policy, but discover during a claim that the auto insurance company doesn’t deliver a quality claims experience, you’ll quickly loose any value that though you purchased.
A good claims experience begins with a company that is available 24-hours per day, that can provide you top-tier claims experiences so you can get you car back on the road with the least amount of down-time.
You also need a claims adjuster who is responsive, keeps you informed during the claims experience, and provides you answers to your questions.
While much of this seems obvious, there are many auto insurance companies who don’t provide even this basic level of service. If you are going to compare auto insurance on your own, make sure you ask some questions about the claims services provided.
Know the customer service you’re going to get
When you purchase your auto insurance through a large call-center, you can sometimes be fooled into thinking that they have great service. They may, but often you discover that they are real good when they on-board you, but there is something lacking when you need service, advice, or to quote other insurance products.
Since service is the other thing you’re really buying when you purchase your insurance, it’s good to know what you’re getting after the honeymoon.
Does you insurance company, or insurance agent, answer the phone when you call, do they provide advice that is good for the consumer or for them, do they sell all the products I need?
Did you really compare auto insurance quotes?
If you only look at the premiums, limits and coverage purchased, you may be leaving much of the value unanswered with you compare auto insurance quotes. Make sure to do all the research when you buy auto insurance. When you buy a car, you do more than kick-the-tires, you should treat your auto insurance the same way.