5 Things You Need To Know Before Getting Car Insurance

July 19, 2014

Ah, car insurance! My most dreaded monthly expense. I’ve been very honest in sharing my mistakes when it comes to getting tickets, and racking up my rates to a point where it’s taking me years to bring it down. I’ve also raved about how awesome my insurance broker is, and how having one that you trust, and who knows your driving history/patterns is a a benefit. However, not everyone is in my shoes, and most have excellent, or good driving records, and just to need to find a company that treats them well, and works for them. So, are you in the market for car insurance? Before you sign on the dotted line, it’s worth the effort to understand the bylaws and loopholes that most insurance companies don’t include in their contracts. If you want to secure the best deal for you and your vehicle, here are five industry secrets you should know.

1. You Can Argue for Better Value

If you’re unhappy with your current rates, or if you’ve been in an accident and the insurance company is undervaluing your car, there are steps you can take to protest the given price. For example, if you’ve had your car regularly serviced, you can argue that its value is higher than a clunker with a bad engine that has not been regularly serviced.

2. It’s Possible to Recoup Sales Tax

More than 25 states require insurance companies to cover the sales tax and registration fees of a replaced car. However, insurance companies don’t have to do this unless you ask for it, and many drivers don’t even realize it’s an option. Ask your insurance company upfront if this is an option they provide.

3. Location Affects Valuation

After a serious accident where your car is declared a “total loss,” the insurance company has to decide how much it’s worth on the current market. What they won’t mention is that your geographic region has everything to do with its value. If you live in a city, costs will be higher than in the country or suburbs.

4. Stacking Your Coverage Can Save You Hundreds

While most states don’t allow “stacking” insurance coverage for fear of fraud, a few states don’t have any laws against this. If you live in Colorado, Texas, Pennsylvania or North Carolina, look into stacking your policies to increase your savings in the event of a crash.

5. Not All Accidents Will Punish You

At-fault accidents are the bane of insured drivers because they almost always result in the driver’s premiums being increased by as much as 40 percent. The secret, however, is that insurance companies don’t have to increase your premiums. If they offer accident forgiveness anywhere at all in the fine print, you can take advantage of it, even if it wasn’t included in your original policy.

These are just a few things car insurance companies like to keep under wraps. You can find more info by researching your local laws and insurance providers.

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  • Marie @ My Personal Finance Journey July 20, 2014 at 6:41 am

    Actually, we are still planning to purchase our first car and all these tips are very helpful. Getting a right car insurance is very important so we need to review the policy first before signing it.

  • Carol July 26, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    Marissa, you can negotiate with the claims adjuster about the value of your totaled car indeed. They should call you and discuss it anyway. However, you need to be smart about it and offer a good argument. They are generally happy to agree with you within reasons and close the claim.

    Also, there are many ways of saving money on your vehicle insurance. For example, paying your premium upfront can save you money as well as avoiding additional fees some companies charge. And if you want a no fault accident not to affect your rates you may need to look into making a claim directly with the at fault driver’s insurer rather than making a claim with your insurer. If you go with the second option, it will only go down as no fault accident if your insurer can subrogate the money they paid out to you.