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Car Insurance Tips – Five Questions to Ask Before Buying

– Posted in: Auto Insurance, Everything Auto, Money Management


Buying car insurance on the surface seems like an easy thing and for some companies it is. You can go online and sign up for car insurance day or night and never get out of your pajamas. The problem with this is that you don’t get to ask the important questions.

Sitting down with your car insurance agent and getting straight answers is the best way to buy car insurance. If you are unable to do this, at least find someone to talk to online or via the telephone that can give you a fair representation of what the company has to offer.

Once you have the chance, what questions should you ask? Here are five important ones that often get overlooked when buying car insurance:

Top 5 Questions to Ask Before Buying Car Insurance

1. What happens if my car breaks down after hours?

A significant enough portion of car insurance companies will not have a 24 hours claim service and that should matter to you. Being able to get in touch with your car insurance company at all times is something you should be able to do. This is a deal breaker for many but most never even realize they don’t have it until they need it. Ask ahead of time before you buy any car insurance.

 2. What discounts do you offer?

The vast majority of car insurance companies have potential discounts that get missed. Some offer up discounts for good grades, young drivers, multi-car policies and countless other things. Get the full list of potential discounts and be sure to cash in on any that apply to you when you get your rate quote. You might as well get your best offer.

3.Where do I sit in your risk assessment hierarchy?

Few sales people will say it, but all car insurance companies do a risk assessment of some sort when they quote car insurance. They each seem to have their own formulas and that is part of what determines your rates. Where you stack up in that formula is important and you should be asking about it. What counted against you? What was in your favor? These types of questions can give you vital information about how to lower your rates when you do take the policy. Be sure to shop several places first though.

4.What is my deductible?

You would probably be shocked at how many people have no clue what their deductible is. That is the amount that you have to pay out of pocket before the insurance starts paying if you happen to be one of those people. This amount is going to be a huge factor in how much your rate is as well. If the deductible is high, your rate will probably be a bit lower. If it is low….well, you get the idea.

5.What are my payment options?

The dreaded payment options question is one that nobody wants to ask, but you should welcome it. If you pay it off for an entire year, how much money will you save? Ask what payment options is the cheapest over all and try to accommodate that if you buy. Insurance costs are high enough without us paying bonus money for not having the right information. Inform yourself.

Car insurance is not that complicated, but it does require a degree of common sense. Taking  the time to know what to ask is a good step in the right direction. Knowledge is power, and that is a lot  true when you are buying car insurance.


19 Comments… add one
Laura B November 23, 2013, 9:05 am

These are great tips on questions to ask! I find that I never ask the right questions before making important and expensive decisions such as this. Thanks for sharing!

Vinma November 23, 2013, 10:40 am

You are welcome! Glad that you find these tips helpful.

Anne Sweden November 23, 2013, 10:30 am

I really liked that you mentioned deductibles. It helps to save up some cash and put it aside for a higher deductible. That way, all year long you’ll pay lower premiums….and the money will be there in savings just in case there’s a claim.

Vinma November 23, 2013, 10:42 am

Yes, its all about saving some money for a rainy day. Deductibles play a big role in controlling your premium as well as in a claim scenario should it occur.

Danielle November 23, 2013, 10:32 am

What a great list! These are definitely important things to think of when purchasing car insurance. We were surprised when we got a collage graduate discount with our provider.

Vinma November 23, 2013, 10:43 am

Yes, discounts like that are not popular and you won’t know about them until you ask. Each and every penny counts, right? 🙂

Melinda Dunne November 23, 2013, 11:15 am

These are all very important! I worked in insurance for several years and people really don’t always know what they are signing up for.

Marika November 23, 2013, 11:48 am

I’m wondering if these apply to every country? I’m thinking of buying a new car and some new insurance, so I’ll have to look into these.

Vinma November 23, 2013, 1:26 pm

Each country has its own rules and regulations pertaining to Insurance. Your best bet is to check those regulations and go from there.

Robin (Masshole Mommy) November 23, 2013, 1:21 pm

I don’t think car insurance agencies around here have 24 hour service, but thankfully we have AAA for that.

Vinma November 23, 2013, 1:24 pm

Some Insurance companies have claims departments that are open 24 hours. Again, it might not be applicable everywhere. AAA gives you roadside assistance but the claims department helps you in repairing your car after an accident and putting it back on the road at the earliest.

Anita Breeze November 23, 2013, 3:53 pm

I never think of any of these things when I renew! Here is BC where I live we actually only can choose ICBC for basic car insurance but we can choose a couple options for collision. Not very consumer friendly!

Vinma November 23, 2013, 4:12 pm

Anita! yes, I have heard some horror stories about ICBC- not too many choices regarding coverage and all that. 🙁

Rosey November 23, 2013, 5:31 pm

All good questions. We recently switched to a choose your own options type and it was kind of a disaster so we switched back. Totally best to be prepared before moving in to get the insurance.

Michelle November 24, 2013, 10:45 am

Great topic and excellent things to know! I bought my insurance through a local agency and when I accidentally scratched a car in the grocery store parking lot, it was after hours. Not knowing what to do, I called my agent (who is also a friend) on his cell phone and he took care of everything for me, and told me exactly what to do. I’d much rather deal with a local business where I am a face that they care about rather than just a number.

Elle November 25, 2013, 4:44 pm

Great tips indeed. Am sending this to hubby, he needs to read it to!

Cher November 25, 2013, 6:54 pm

Excellent advice, Vinma! I’m getting ready to add another kid to my insurance within the next year – aaaack!!

Poppy November 25, 2013, 11:51 pm

Never thought to ask about my risk assessment. Thanks!

Rae Buchanan November 26, 2013, 11:35 am

I never knew there was risk assessments either. I also need to make sure that we are getting all discounts we quality for.

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