When it comes to purchasing auto insurance, there are several types of shoppers. Some jump on the first quote they receive. Others are purchase insurance based solely on the premium. However, the smart shoppers are thorough and go through a rigorous evaluation based on several aspects. While the price of the premium is important, there are additional factors to consider while shopping for car insurance.

1. Understand How Insurance Rates Are Determined

Your insurance rate will be determined by a number of factors depending on the insurance company. Inquire about the rating factors when speaking with a customer service representative. In many cases, a person’s driving record, insurance history and credit score determine the premium of the policy. For example, some companies will allow a standard rate even if you have a lapse within the last six months, while other will move you to a non-standard, or more expensive rate.

2. Inquire About Rating Systems Regarding Claim Frequency

Some companies will rate a policy based on claims that occurred within three years while others go back five years. If you have been in an accident within the last four years, it may be wise to go with the company that only rates based on three years.

3. Understand Rating Factors

Factors like your driving record, the geographic territory or where you will drive frequently, your gender and age as well as marital status can affect the insurance policy. Other insurance factors such any cancellations due to non-payment premiums may affect the rate.

4. Ask About Discounts

There are a number of discounts that are provided by certain companies. Some companies offer affinity discounts, which means if you are apart of a certain club, association or alumni, you could receive a discount. Others offer accident-free, military, good student and defensive driving discounts. Defensive driving discounts are awarded when you prove that you have completed a defensive driving course. Most insurance companies honor this discount.

New York law requires that any insurance company offer you a minimum 10% discount in the base rate of your auto or motorcycle liability and collision coverage over 3 years upon a completion of a New York DMV-approved Defensive Driving Course. Some of the other states that have discount programs are Delaware, Georgia, New Jersey and Texas. If you not taking advantage of these programs you are missing out on $100’s in savings!

5. Check For Optional Coverage

Apart from the basic liability package, collision package and comprehensive coverage, there is still what we call optional coverage that will include rental reimbursement as well as medical payments coverage. Roadside assistance is also offered by many companies. It is suggested to ask how much these additional coverages will affect the total premium.

6. Check the Competition

Before signing up for any insurance coverage, make sure to check out the rates of other insurance companies who are offering the same service.

Make sure the quotes include the same coverages so you are not comparing apples to oranges. Perhaps you should make note of the coverage you will need so that each quote will reflect your needs.

7. Verify the Legitimacy of the Insurance Company

Aside from the common national insurance companies, there are many local agencies attempting to lure customers. Some could be fraudulent, thus it is crucial to confirm that they are legit before purchasing a policy.

Make sure to check that they are not bankrupt and do not have a long list of complaints from previous clients.

8. Read the Terms and Conditions

Prior to signing any agreement, it is crucial to understand what you are signing. Read the terms of the policy and ask the agency any questions about documents you are required to sign. Perhaps you may not understand that you are signing a document stating that you rejected uninsured motorist coverage. You may assume you received this coverage.

9. Multi-policy Discounts

In many cases, it is suggested that you bundle coverage. If you own a house or rent property, select a company that will give you a discounted rate if you have both homeowner or renter and auto insurance with them. This will save you money on both policies.

10. Understand the Impact of Deductibles

The amount of comprehensive and collision deductibles have a major impact on policies. If you owe on a vehicle, it is likely that you are required to have full coverage and you may not be able to afford it, you can request higher deductibles. If you are truly concerned about paying deductibles in the event of an accident, you may want lower deductibles. Of course, lower deductibles will raise the premium.

Online Defensive Driving & Traffic School Courses

A defensive driving or traffic school course is a way for you to override a traffic ticket, meet a court-ordered mandate, lessen points from your driving record, and earn a discount on car insurance! You learn all of the essential traffic rules and regulations associated to your state, along with essential defensive driving methods designed to help you prevent risks before they even occur. Whether you are voluntarily taking a course to lower your insurance or points, or you have been asked by the court or DMV to attend traffic school, defensive driving courses will prove beneficial.