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Auto Insurance Shopping: Are You Doing It Right?

Auto InsuranceAuto insurance is generally a must-have in life if you own a vehicle, but you don’t have to take the first offer you receive. Comparison shopping can save you hundreds of dollars on auto insurance annually as long as you hit all the right notes.

Pick Your Poison
There is more than one way to shop for insurance quotes. Before you get started, you’ll have to decide what method you’re most comfortable with. Online, in person with an agent or on the telephone are the most common choices. Online offers the advantage of speed, but if you need to give extra information, talking to an agent in person or on the phone may yield more accurate results.

Considering your level of comfort with each quote application type is important because the more confident you are with the method, the more likely you are to ask questions and get answers. While visiting an agent in person is more time consuming than the other two avenues, you can get answers to all your questions at the time of application.

You’ll also need to consider insurers. According to Bankrate, you should get quotes from at least three insurers before committing to a policy.

Level the Playing Field
Don’t change coverage levels between insurers. In order to make a direct comparison, you’ll have to get quotes for the same types of coverage across all the insurers you’re considering. Set the limits, such as a dollar amount for deductibles and other coverage, before you get quotes so you’re getting accurate results.

Make a list of all the coverage aspects and levels you want and use

Be the Squeaky Wheel
Insurers offer auto insurance discounts for a surprisingly varied amount of circumstances. For example, some insurers offer rate reductions for employment affiliations, driving history and car alarms. Ask each insurer you’re getting quotes from for a comprehensive list of all available discounts, and don’t be afraid to ask about anything you feel may qualify.

Accuracy is Everything
Nothing can throw an auto insurance quote off more than inaccurate information. Write down all the data you think an insurer will need and don’t assume anything. For example, for your mileage, physically check your odometer for the exact number, as you would to sell used car. Review your car’s make and model. If you have a model with luxury features, it will affect your rates if you’re looking for comprehensive coverage. Take a look at your driving record as well. If you have older infractions that are due to fall off soon under your state’s laws, it may be worthwhile to wait until your record is as spotless as possible before getting quotes.

Once you’ve received quotes, compare the offers based on rates and level of customer service. Value services that some insurers offer include towing, repair priority and extra coverage for items in the car. You should be satisfied with the level of customer service in addition to the premium amount charged, so consider all the angles before selecting a policy.

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