As costs continue to rise and inflation affects the global economy, even the necessities are costing people a lot of money. This includes car insurance. The good news is that as a consumer, you have the right and the ability to shop around to compare car insurance quotes. But take heed, just because you might be saving some cash, doesn’t mean you’re getting a policy that will protect you after an accident.
Insurance Forms May Be Different
Not all insurance policies are created equal. Every policy is written on a basic, personalized auto insurance form serving as a legal document. And while many of the basic forms could be similar, if not even the same generic form, it’s extremely important to remember that some companies write their own forms or use specific jargon to differentiate between coverage types.
At the end of the day, an insurance form is nothing more than a contract, so when you’re comparing contracts between two different insurance agencies, be sure that the two are actually comparable.
Size of the Company and Long Term Feasibility
An insurance company with a nationally known brand isn’t paying money for television ad after television ad without some financial weight to them. If a company has money to spend on advertising, then it probably means they have the financial strength to retain a number of clients and continue to stay in business for years to come.
Do you really want to have an insurance contract with an organization that’s financially unstable? Can you trust a potential claim payment for medical bills over a several year period from a company that can’t even stay above water? Understanding your insurance company is important because you want to know that it’s financially responsible and conducts good business.
Claims Handling and Payment
Claims and claims handling is the only reason that insurance is even an industry. People generally hope they won’t have to file a claim, but it happens. Claims are made every day; you just might not notice it because you don’t work in the insurance industry.
Every time there’s an accident, fire, visit to the doctor or a broken wind shield, someone is submitting an insurance claim. And, if the entire field is based upon the adjustment and the servicing of claims, you need to be sure that you can trust your company to be there for you when you need them.
Will you have a claims adjuster that will communicate with you on exactly what will happen after the claim has been filed, or will they ignore your phone calls? Will your adjuster approve all the costs of fixing your vehicle, or will they try to nickel and dime you out of the standard repairs? If you’re paying monthly insurance premiums, doesn’t it make sense that your insurance agency would make your claims experience fast and easy?
Direct or Agent Related
Finally, you want to have a good understanding of the working relationship between you and your insurance agent. If your insurance is written through an agent, are they able to present you with multiple quotes or discounts, and will they help you through the annual renewal process?
Or, will your agent want to renew your insurance with increased rates in the hopes of collecting a bigger commission check? Do you need the extra help of an agent, or can you go directly through the market with sites like CoverHound to compare car insurance packages?
Just understand the basic makeup of a given organization can be huge. While you think you are getting the same exact car insurance quote by switching from one insurance provider to another, you could actually be gaining (or giving up) a significant amount of coverage for a small change in price.
Sometimes it makes sense to pay a few dollars more for service, and sometimes you don’t need to have all of the bells and whistles. All that really matters, is that you understand what you are (and are not) getting when it comes to your car insurance quote.