As temperatures rise and the days get longer, car owners are eager to get back out onto the road. But as pleasant as it is to be outside after months of hibernation, it’s also a great time to take stock of your auto insurance.
Depending on where you live, the cost of car insurance can vary widely. Understanding the basics and staying on top of your insurance can help keep you and your car protected. Here are five simple tips for springtime auto insurance tune-ups that will help you stay insured and keep your premium costs down.
Make the most of your coverage
If you’ve recently purchased a new car and are trying to decide between full coverage, liability only, and no coverage, it’s important that you take the time to analyze your needs and which type of insurance would best suit you.
If you live in a no-fault state, then it might be wise to purchase liability only or an affordable umbrella policy. If you live in a tort state like Massachusetts, then it might be worth considering full coverage.
No matter what type of coverage you choose, understanding the limits on your policy is crucial – both on what types of claims are covered (ex: medical payments) and how much is paid out for each claim (ex: $30,000).
It’s also helpful to know what is not covered by your policy. For example, if you have collision coverage on your auto insurance plan but there was no damage to the vehicle involved in an accident with another vehicle, collision will not cover the costs.
Before choosing a policy and committing for the year or two years, it’s also essential that you read through every word of every page of your contract. In particular pay close attention to exclusions such as whether or not theft is covered–and what counts as theft.
Get a new policy or review your coverage
The first and most important thing to do is to get a new policy or review your coverage. A majority of insurance providers offer discounts for customers who have multiple policies with them. This is an excellent way to save money on car insurance and make sure all your assets are protected.
Hire a professional agent
Although shopping for auto insurance is as simple as entering your zip code, selecting the coverage you need, and getting a quote, it’s also important to remember that it’s an all-encompassing process. You should never trust something this important to a website alone. Allstate suggests speaking with an agent directly who can review your needs, answer any questions you have, and provide personalized recommendations. This will help ensure that you are prepared with the right coverage and understand how it will affect you financially in the event of a claim.
Check your liability coverage
Liability coverage is designed to protect you and your family in the event of an accident. If you have a car, this is an important coverage to have.
If you live in a state that requires drivers to carry liability insurance, it’s worth double checking that your current policy meets the state’s minimum requirements. For example, if you live in California and your liability coverage is less than $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident, you may want to take a look at upping your liability coverage.
Invest in collision coverage
Collision coverage will help protect you and your car from the costs of a collision. It’s designed to cover expenses from damaged or destroyed vehicles. These expenses may include repairs, medical bills, and other costs to repair or replace your vehicle. Collision coverage doesn’t require any out-of-pocket cost for you, but it does come with a deductible that varies depending on the type of policy.
: make sure you’re covered
Before you get back on the road, do some research. It pays to work with an insurance agent who knows your driving history and can help you find the right coverage at the right price. By considering what’s important to you in terms of coverage, along with your budget, it will be easier for an agent to find a plan that works for you.
Research your rates. If your auto insurance rates are too high, contact your agent and ask about other companies and their rates. If you’ve been driving responsibly for years but see your premiums continue to rise, then it may be time to switch carriers or work with an independent agent who can help find the best coverage for what’s most important to you.
Investigate discounts. There are discounts available that can help reduce the cost of your premium. Some common discounts include: Good Student Discount: Available to those under age 25 who have maintained a B average in college or university studies; Multi-Car Discount: Available if more than one car registered on same policy; Homeowners Discount: Available if home owner has security system installed; Auto Club Membership Discount: Discounted rates offered by members of certain clubs such as AAA; Retired Military Discount: Retired military personnel are eligible for discounted rates; Multiple-Policy Discounts: Additional discounts offered when multiple policies are purchased at one time (i.e., home and auto).