MCU’s Guide to Shopping for Auto Insurance
Drivers know that insuring their vehicles is a responsibility that comes with getting on the road. However, it can also be an expensive bill to pay. In fact, the average driver in New York State pays more than $1,170 per year for their insurance. That’s nearly $100 per month! Luckily, drivers aren’t married to their insurance companies and shopping around for an insurance policy could lead you to better deals and lower monthly bills. Check out how to get started here!
1. Get quoted.
Most auto insurance policies are issued to drivers every six or 12 months. While getting a quote a month or two prior to when your policy is up for renewal, drivers are also recommended to shop for rate quotes if they move, purchase a new car, have seen a significant improvement to their credit score, or are looking to change the kind of coverage their insurance would offer.
2. Contact your current insurance provider.
It’s recommended to request quotes from at least three insurance providers but don’t let the policy price be the end all be all to your search. Not all policies are created equally and it’s important to make sure you understand what’s covered and how much protection you’d have from a new policy.
Be sure to do your homework on each of these new insurance providers and to note the details of the policies offered. This includes liability protection, collision coverage, bodily injury protection and the kind of coverage provided if you’re hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver.
Your insurance provider may be more willing to keep your business than you think. By bringing your new rate quotes to the attention of your provided, the company may offer to match or even beat your best offer.
3. Beware of penalties.
Your circumstances may have also changed since your last policy with your current insurance provider. Be sure to let your insurance provider know if you now qualify for bundled policies (with renters insurance, home insurance, etc.) or if there are steps you can take, such as a driver safety course, that will improve your current rate. You could be missing out on discounts and financial opportunities.
Auto insurance companies will typically give you the right to cancel your policy at any time. And as long as you give them the required noticed outlined in your contract, they will also typically refund your premium.
4. Don’t leave a gap in your insurance.
However, if you decide to switch insurance providers before your current policy has expired, you might be responsible for an early cancelation penalty. Be sure to understand if you’re responsible for any penalty fees before you go ahead and cancel your current policy. It’s important to weigh any potential fee against the savings you’ll experience with your new insurance policy. You may even find that it’s cheaper to stick with your current insurance provider.
A lapse in insurance coverage is a legal and financial liability, especially if you have an accident during that time. Because of this, it’s important not to cancel your insurance before you have the new policy in place. To do this, make sure you have something in writing from your new insurance provider before canceling your old policy.
5. Cancel your old insurance policy.
This may seem like a no-brainer but you’ll need to formally let your insurance provider know that you are canceling your coverage. Be sure to call or write to notify the company that you’re ending your policy and are going with someone else. It’s important to follow up to make sure you get written confirmation that you’ve canceled.
6. Drive carefully!
If you don’t formally cancel your premium, your old provider will continue to bill you. Even if you didn’t realize this bill wasn’t cancelled, not making payments will hurt your credit score.
Most insurance providers can drop you easily and quickly if you file a claim within 90 days. The same goes for if you receive a speeding ticket or earn points on your license.