What You Don't Know Might Hurt You: Some Facts About Auto Insurance

Friday, October 26, 2012 - 7:50pm

 As more and more states are requiring drivers to carry the minimum amount of auto insurance, it is important to know exactly how much insurance you need and what it will cost you. Before making a commitment to a provider, there are some steps you need to take to make sure you are getting your money's worth.

Look Out for Online Insurance Providers

Some online sources like Kemper.com are really good and can offer monthly payments that are significantly lower than traditional providers. Again, you have to shop around and make sure you are getting the best coverage for the best price. Apps for helping you find and buy insurance on your smartphone simplifies the process, as they can run the numbers and provide comparisons from wherever you are. Skimping on coverage to get a lower rate is a lot like waving a red flag in front of a bull; you don't want to tempt fate just to save a few dollars now.

You Have To Shop Around

Don't just grab at the first policy that looks good on paper. Some insurance companies may not charge you up front for your policy, but might get you on the backside through the deductible.

Know what your deductible is, what your payments will be, how often you have to make those payments, and what is actually covered in the event of an accident. Don't get caught holding your pants up with rope because your policy doesn't cover medical bills or damage to the other driver's vehicle.

You're Entitled To More Discounts Than You Know

If you are a homeowner, you can combine homeowner's policies with auto insurance and get a discount that way. Your age, your career, whether or not you have a clean driving record, who else will be driving your car, and a host of other factors affect how much you pay and and the total amount of your discounts. Letting your teenage son drive your vehicle will cost you more in coverage than your teenage daughter too, so be mindful of who you add to the policy and who will be doing the driving.

Men Pay More Than Women

That's just a fact, and if they live in certain areas of the country men may pay twice as much. But that doesn't mean that men can't find coverage that is cheaper, it just means they have to do a little bit more homework. As men age, keep a clean driving record, or move to a city or state where it's cheaper to drive with insurance, they can decrease their premiums. It is also cost effective for them to drive green cars like the Nissan Leaf, because insurance companies offer discounts for that as well.

If you happen to belong to a driving club, such as AAA, you can also get discounts this way. You do have to ask if the company works with AAA to allow discounts, because the insurance companies won't give it to you up front. AAA also offers auto insurance, but that's up to you to decide if you would like to have coverage through them. Everyone should at least have towing insurance on their policy, or buy this coverage separately. Sometimes towing insurance is only a few extra dollars and easily pays for itself with one tow or tire change.

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