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Questions to ask when shopping for auto insurance

June 5, 2015

A lot of companies guarantee the best auto insurance rate, promising driver discounts and rewards for being accident-free. While many of them offer these services, it is important to shop around, talk to different people and ensure you are finding the best company that fits your needs.

With so many brands out there, it can be tricky determining where to begin. Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself when looking at different auto insurance brands.

While many companies offer auto insurance, it is important to shop around and find the best deal for you.

How will my insurance rate be determined?

Every company has different standards and practices for helping drivers, so it is important to know the difference between them. Additionally, every state has their own unique requirements as well. Inquire about a company's rating system, which is their way of evaluating what type of risk you may pose as a driver, and find out where you fall along that scale. This rate can be based on your driving record, where you live or the history of the vehicle and other factors. Knowing in detail how your rate will be determined helps when differentiating different insurance companies.

"Ensure that you are finding the best company that fits your needs."

What will impact the discounts you receive?

Every company will have their standard rate, but many have special benefits and bonuses for safe drivers. Learn about the driver discounts offered by the different insurance companies and see how you fit in.

For example, if you have just one car, but the discount is offered to customers with multiple vehicles, then that company may not be a good fit. But if you have a young driver, and the insurance company has good student discounts, then that is something that may entice you. Other common benefits include discounts for low mileage or rewards for going an extended period of time without an accident or legal infraction.

Where should I look for unbiased sources?

Many insurance agents will tell you what they think you want to hear, even if it isn't the full truth. That is why when looking for affordable auto insurance it is often best to lean upon unbiased sources. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners suggests scouring websites and libraries to learn more about auto insurance coverage and state regulations. Independent evaluators, such as consumer report publications, can also be of use, as they can answer questions and offer comparisons of different companies.

What is the deductible?

According to Forbes, the easiest way to save on auto coverage is by increasing the deductible on your vehicle. That way the insurance company is still responsible for maintenance in case of an accident, but you will not run as great a risk of raising your rates. Find out what the deductible each company is offering and how that compares to your personal situation. The auto insurance company should work for you, not vice versa, so find the program that fits your individual needs the best.