The ability to buy insurance policies online may make it tempting to skip an appointment with your auto insurance agent. But it’s important to stay in contact with your agent to be sure your chosen coverage is adequate. To ensure that your coverage suits your needs and includes all the discounts you qualify for, talk to your insurance agent about these five aspects of auto insurance.
1. Goals for Your Coverage
When you begin talking about purchasing an auto insurance policy or expanding your policy, paint a picture of your ideal coverage for your agent. Address these factors:
By letting your provider know where your focus is, you allow them to tailor your coverage to your needs and offer the solutions that will work best for you.
2. Modifications to Your Vehicle
The make, year, and model of your car factor heavily into your coverage rates. Likewise, any modifications that add to the value of your car will affect your coverage. This doesn’t mean the XM radio you installed; modifications that add to the safety of your car can save you money on your monthly rate.
Here are a few modifications to consider:
You are legally obligated to report any modifications to your vehicle to your insurer, but while you’re at it, make sure to discuss how those changes affect your policy as well.
3. Your Driving History
You’ve probably heard so many commercials touting the benefits of good driving discounts that you’ve begun to tune them out. But don’t forget to bring it up with your auto insurance agent. You can save as much as 20% on your premium through a good driver discount.
If your record has a few penalties on it, you should still bring up driving history discounts. You may be eligible for other good driver provisions. If you decide to take a defensive driving class, for example, it can reduce your insurance rate, regardless of your driving record.
If you have a history of accidents in which you were found legally at fault, talk to an ICBC lawyer, like those at the Burnaby firm Kenneth Cristall Law Corporation. Your legal counsel can help you determine what information your insurance provider must know and what you are not obligated to disclose.
4. Your Driving Habits
The more miles you drive, the higher your insurance rate can get. It actually makes sense if you think about it: the more time you spend on the road, the more likely you are to be involved in an accident. If you have a long daily commute, it may raise your rates. However, the opposite is also true: you may get a discounted rate for taking public transit several days each week or cutting your miles another way.
Each insurer has slightly different accommodations, so talk to your auto insurance agent about your options.
5. Options for Lowering Your Rate
There are more discounts available than just a cost reduction for safe drivers and drivers who install new alarm systems. Here are some other potential discounts to discuss with your agent:
Combining Policies: Many insurance companies offer a special rate if you insure multiple assets through their company. Some common combinations include: home and auto, or multiple vehicles.
Student Discounts: Students who are in college out of the state may qualify for a discount.
Increase Your Deductible: Increasing your deductible may not sound very appealing (as it will mean paying more out of pocket if you are in an accident), but it will decrease your premium. Common deductible amounts are: $0, $100, $500, $750, $1,000, and $1,500.
Increase the Time Between Payments: Instead of making a monthly payment, talk to your agent about making an annual or biannual payment. The payments themselves will be bigger, but most insurers lower your monthly rate as a thank you for the decreased processing time and billing materials.
Use Alternative Payment Methods: Many companies offer discounts if you go paperless—paying all your bills online or using an automatic bill pay option.
Your auto insurance agent is your guide to protecting your vehicle and family in the event of a car accident. Communicate effectively with your agent, addressing these five points specifically, to ensure that you are getting the best coverage for the best amount.