Automobile Insurance Carriers: Helpful Tips for Choosing One

Automobile insurance carriers are easy to find, but it’s best to be picky and diligent in your search for a new carrier. Don’t simply select the insurance company offering the lowest rate. Chances are, if you ever have to submit a claim with such a company, you will be disappointed in their coverage and customer service. Instead, choose a reliable, trustworthy, reputable company that fits both your needs and your budget.

Customer Service

Since most drivers must submit an insurance claim at some point in their life, it’s important to select an insurance carrier with highly-rated customer service. Top automobile insurance carriers handle claims swiftly, justly, and in full. Visit your state’s Department of Insurance to view customer service ratings and complaint information for several automobile insurance carriers.

Speak with a Body Shop Manager

A great way to get tips on the best automobile insurance carriers is to speak with a person who deals with automobiles on a daily basis: a body shop manager. He or she will let you in on such secrets as which company has the best customer service, claims procedures, and which company uses original parts (instead of aftermarket) when repairing a damaged car. Remember to also ask your family and friends which carrier they use and if they recommend them.

Reputation & Licensing

Select a carrier that is established and respected in the insurance industry. A good way to separate the good from the bad is to find out if they offer other types of insurance, such as homeowner's and life insurance. If they do, the company most likely has a large customer base and a good reputation. You should also check the financial strength of the company, so that you can rest easy knowing they will be there for you in the event of a claim.

It is also of the upmost importance that you find an insurance carrier that is licensed to operate in your state. Without state licensure, the company cannot help you.

Read the Fine Print

We all want cheap car insurance. However, people usually get what they pay for. When looking at potential automobile insurance carriers, make sure that you know what you are getting and NOT getting with your insurance policy. Many companies skimp on much-needed coverage, such as protection against uninsured drivers. Be sure to ask questions and read the fine print of your policy before signing the dotted line.

Find a Deal that Fits Your Lifestyle

Most automobile insurance carriers offer a slew of discounts for drivers. Be sure to ask which discounts apply to you. Types of discounts include:
  • group rates
  • low-mileage discounts
  • student savings
  • safety discounts
  • electronic bill pay
  • multi-car discounts
Look Out for Scams

Finally, protect yourself from insurance scams by knowing what to look for. If you follow the steps above and find a reputable, licensed company with solid customer service ratings, you should be fine. However, if a company asks you to pay your premium with cash or through a wiring service, it’s most likely a scam. Never give out any personal information until you are sure of the carrier’s legitimacy.

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