YOU ASK:

How do you compare auto insurance rates?

WE ANSWER:

As with any other type of insurance, the rule of thumb is to shop around! Being informed about what a Personal Auto policy covers from the very start can spare you a lot of headaches in the future and even protect you from ending up in a bad financial situation. Keep in mind that the auto insurance companies offering the lowest rates might not offer the policy that best meets both your financial and your coverage needs.

What to Consider when Shopping Around for Auto Insurance

The Internet has made comparing auto insurance rates much easier than it used to be in the past. Here are a few tips that you might find handy when shopping around for car insurance:

  1. Estimate your coverage needs based on your specific lifestyle and financial situation. When determining your auto insurance rates, insurance companies consider such factors as your driving record, the place you live, the type and make of car, how far you drive, you age, your marital status, your job and where you park your car.
  2. Auto insurance rates can range drastically from company to company for the same person and vehicle so in order to see where the land lies, always compare quotes from different companies.
  3. You can compare auto insurance rates online if you want to get quotes quickly. However, in order to get an exact rate, you need to provide personal information, such as your Social Security number and your car's plate identification number. Auto insurers have tools allowing them to immediately check your driving and credit record.
  4. If you are living in Texas, New York, New Jersey or California, you can access readily-made hypothetical rate comparisons published by the state insurance departments.
  5. Do not only shop based on rates. Make sure you check the insurers' ratings and complaint record. You can do this at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' website.
  6. Be sure to review your auto policy at key events of your life, such as buying a new car, moving house, etc. You can always switch companies and get an auto policy that better suits your new situation. However, if you buy a more powerful car or add teenage drivers to your Auto policy, insurers will probably add higher surcharges.
  7. Sometimes shopping around on the web might not help you get personalized attention, especially if you have a bad driving record. In this case, you might be better off contacting an experienced independent insurance agent who will help you compare different companies' auto insurance rates and advise you as to which one best meets your auto coverage needs.
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