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How Do I Get the Best Car Insurance Rate?

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Research Last Updated: 04/04/2017

You never have to settle for the car insurance premium you are offered

money and car keyNo one wants to pay any more than they have to for car insurance, but most people don’t know that they have control over what they end up paying. Here are a couple easy ways to keep that car insurance premium down.

Educate Yourself About Car Insurance

Your best ammunition in fighting car insurance premiums is to arm yourself with knowledge. Know what the coverages are, what they do, if you really need them, and if you are required to have them. By knowing what you are buying, you are less likely to end up with something on your policy that you don’t really need or with a coverage that is at a level that is way too high for what you own.

Check Out What Others Are Saying

Never go with a car insurance agency or company without first reading the reviews on the internet about them. Know what you are getting into with a company BEFORE you give them money. Pay special attention to reviews of how claims are paid out and customer service.  However, don’t just go with the reviews from one source, take a look at a number of sources to get a balanced view of the company.

Never Go For the First Car Insurance Policy Offer

Never, ever purchase the first car insurance policy you get a quote on. Print out the quote you received and then shop those same coverages around to other insurance companies. When you make a big electronics, vehicle or home purchase you shop those around, so do the same for your car insurance.

What Happens If I Forget to Pay my Car Insurance Bill?

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Research Last Updated: 04/04/2017

Cancellation for non-payment of your car insurance may not be the end of your coverage.

A Cancelled Policy

Always ask for a reinstatement if your car insurance cancels

Things happen and we get busy with our lives to the point that we just sometimes forget to pay a bill. If you do find that you forgot to pay your car insurance and have been canceled you can ask your car insurance company for a reinstatement.

A reinstatement is when they begin your car insurance policy over again, but with a lapse in your coverage from your cancelation date to the date that you pay to reinstate your policy. A reinstatement is a much easier way to get your car insurance coverage back than having to start all over again with a different company. Car insurance companies also prefer that you reinstate with them rather than taking your business to a different company, but even car insurance companies have their limitations when it comes to reinstatements and may not agree to one.

Reasons your car insurance company may not reinstate your policy:

  • You have had too many returned payments.
  • You have been canceled for too long.
  • You have had too many cancellations for non-payment.
  • Underwriting has blocked your policy from being reinstated because you are not a risk that they want to insure any longer, but they are not able to legally invoke a company cancellation.
  • Underwriting has a valid cancellation reason and has set your policy to “do not renew” already. Your policy was going to be canceled at your next renewal anyways, so just best to find new insurance now that you canceled a little earlier than expected.

If you do find yourself with a canceled policy, it’s best to take care of the situation as soon as possible especially if you are in a state that will suspend your license or vehicle registration for not having active car insurance.

Vehicle Tracking Devices: To Use Them Or Not Use Them

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Research Last Updated: 04/01/2017

The new craze lately is to let your car insurance company use a tracking device on your vehicle, but should you?

We are all looking for ways to save money on our car insurance premium and one of the new ways that insurance companies have come up with to help us do that is by offering to track our driving habits. They offer a device that you plug into your car and records how fast you drive, accelerate, stop, swerve and all other manner of driving habits. It takes all of this information and reports it back to your car insurance company.

In most cases, your car insurance company will use that information to provide a customized discount on your policy.  In other cases, your car insurance company uses the information to determine how much premium you should be paying based on your driving habits.

Downsides

  • You can’t use the device in older cars, therefore you can’t participate in these programs if all you have is older cars
  • Some companies determine the premium from the device and not just give a discount, so you may be better off without the device if you aren’t a safe driver.
  • There is no disputing the outcome, the device calculates the end result and there is usually nothing even an employee can do to change the end result.

Upsides

  • This is a great way to save some more money on your car insurance if you are a safe driver.
  • Discounts can be pretty significant.  At least one company offers up to a 30% discount.
  • The device is easy to use, just plug it in and forget about it until it is time to return it.

For more information about your insurance companies vehicle tracking program, contact your car insurance agent or your insurance company directly.

Car Insurance for Uber and Lyft Drivers

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Research Last Updated: 04/04/2017

If you drive for Uber or Lyft, you may not have car insurance coverage on your vehicle at all.

Car insurance companies that write personal insurance policies do not like it when the cars that they are covering are used for business purposes. They especially don’t like it when you are using your vehicle to transport people for money, like if you drive for Uber or Lyft. In fact, they dislike this so much that there is a clause in your car insurance contract that states that you will not have coverage if you are transporting people for money. This clause is why Uber and Lyft drivers sometimes have no insurance coverage when they are driving.

Confused? Here is how it works……

Before a driver turns on the app that they are available for passengers their personal car insurance policy covers their vehicle. After they pick up a passenger their coverage through Uber or Lyft then covers them. However, from the time they turn on the app to the time they actually pick up a passenger, there is no car insurance coverage on their vehicle. There is a gap in the coverage.

Insurance companies know about this and some are now introducing coverage that will cover your vehicle under your personal car insurance all the way up to the time that you actually pick up a passenger. This is a special endorsement that has to be added to your policy and not all insurance companies are offering it. To find out if your company is offering this new coverage, contact your car insurance agent.

 

Non-standard Car Insurance

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Research Last Updated: 03/23/2017

Non-standard car insurance isn’t the lowest you can go.

Non-standard car insurance is not a good place to be, it’s not the worst place you can be, but it is not a good place. Non-standard insurance is the lowest level of acceptance in an insurance company before they just flat out tell you that they don’t want your business. This level is usually for those that have a number of car accidents, violations, and bad credit.  It can be a combination of two or more of these or just a really bad level of only one.

Non-standard car insurance policies are also treated differently by insurance companies:

  • They usually have different billing fees if you go with a payment plan
  • They have larger down payments at the time of new business
  • Different coverage options
  • Less optional/additional coverages available to be added to the policy

If you do get a non-standard car insurance policy it would be in your best interest to not do anything to add to your number of accidents or violations or do anything to decrease your credit score. If you do get worse in the car insurance company’s eyes they will DNR (Do Not Renew) your policy and you will end up in the assigned risk pool.  The assigned risk pool is where the government forces insurance companies to take on a certain number of clients that are considered uninsurable. The rates in assigned risk are astronomical and will make you miss the rates you were paying in non-standard car insurance.