by Ed Sneineh, Car Insurance Agent, Chicago IL
Automobile insurance contracts should be carefully read, examined and compared before you finally pick your choice. Invest your time in reading more before you decide and save money. Your learning will be a big investment for your financing.
Know the basic rule that affect you.
You do not have to be a legal counsel or an insurance representative to know You may not be fascinated by pursuing a job in the field of law or you do not intend to be an car insurance agent but it pays to get educated about the primary principles that influence your car insurance policy. Be sure to get familiar with the rules that are appropriate to the state you're living in because we all know that insurance laws are jurisdictional, which means that, what applies to a particular state may not be the same as those followed in another state. Check the website of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners http://www.naic.org/state_web_map.htm and inspect the rules of your own state.
Three primary components that you have to note when researching about rules affecting auto insurance policies:
1. Subjects and objects of insurance coverage- people, vehicles to be covered.
2. What and how much you are covered for.
3. Claim handling. For example if you lost your car due to a peril not insured against, then you record will be marked with a loss 'claim' experience. This tells you not to file a claim unless you are sure it is covered for it, as any claim will count against you.
Reading the policy or, at the minimum skimming it quickly is needed before you file it in your filing cabinet. The insurance identification card is not your car policy. The Declaration Page is not your car policy either. Your policy is the small booklet that attached with the initial package you received when you first purchased your car policy.
Know exactly your coverage benefits in case you lost your car due to the incidents that the car is insured for. Insurance companies are out there to profit, in the first place, not to trust or distrust your story. Insurers are very good at marketing their products but they are equally good at identifying a legal way out to escape liability when you incur a loss that needs to be paid.
Important things that you have to note are the requirements before you can file your claim and the period given for you to file the claim. You might lose your claim simply because it was filed out of time.
Learn about all options
Auto insurance policies may appear the same to you but they are not. Time limits and benefits set in the policy along with exclusions are critical to know. This may sound unexciting, right? It's true. Reading an auto insurance policy may be boring, but you need to get familiar with it, maybe once in a while. Reading your policies is good for your financial health. The one or two hours that you need to read a policy may save you thousands of dollars. There is no doubt that the biggest discount on auto insurance is the one that you get by reading the policy. Plus, reading your policy will make you sound like an expert among the mass majority of people who do not read their car policies.
The authenticity and strength of the insurance company is equally important along with the price. For sure, certain companies may offer you lower premiums but what if at the time that you file your claim, the company is already filing for insolvency proceedings? Some carriers may lower premiums to get more customers, and thus cash, when they are in financial turmoil, and to; unfortunately, be in further trouble later.
Know the factors that could affect your premium
Your Credit Score: Good credit score will lower your premium. Insurers give quotes in consideration of several factors such as your credit score. Thus,if you have credit issues you might have to check with companies that do not check credit.
The model and type of your car: Insurance companies charge based on certain criteria like value of vehicle, body build, performance, and engine size. Before buying a car, research on the car's safety rating. In addition, have a current data on what cars are prone to be car napped.
Do you really need full coverage?
Be advised that your thousands of dollars of extras in TVs, rims, and sound/video systems are not covered under the traditional auto policy. The policy needs to be endorsed for these extras and you need to pay extra premiums. You insurance company assumes that, at the time you got full coverage policy, your car has not been altered, therefore, value of the vehicle is determined without extras. Check with your agent to see if full coverage is for your old vehicle or not, and what are the benefits that you can get in the event of a covered loss.
Ed Sneineh, Chicago Car Insurance Agent since, former college educator of insurance, & founder of Chicago based Insurance Navy.