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5 Questions You Should Always Ask your Car Insurance Agent

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Research Last Updated: 05/31/2017

When you purchase insurance, make sure you are asking your car insurance agent the right questions.

Car insurance is a more important purchase than most people treat it. Buy too much and you are wasting your money. Buy too little and you are putting yourself at serious financial risk. To make sure you are right where you need to be with your coverage, ask these 8 important questions.

1. What Car Insurance do I Need?

Before you even go to the car insurance agents office, know what your assets are. How much is your car worth? How much money do you have in the bank or invested that you can liquidate quickly if needed?

Knowing how much your vehicle is worth will help you determine whether it is worth putting coverage on it at all and what deductible makes the most sense. You don’t put physical damage coverage with a $500 deductible on a vehicle that is only worth $500.

Knowing your assets and how much cash you can have on hand will help you decide how much liability coverage to choose to protect those assets in the event you are sued after a car accident.

2. Does My Policy Pay Attorney Fees?

In most cases, yes, your car insurance policy will pay for you to be represented by an attorney if you do find yourself in court from a car accident. But, make sure how much your policy covers and what the fine print is in a policy before you purchase.

3. Do I need Coverages That Aren’t Required by the State?

The only car insurance coverage you are required to purchase is liability coverage. However, even though other coverages like loss of use, towing, collision and comprehensive are optional they are still important in providing financial protection.

For example, if you are in a car accident that disables your vehicle, you don’t have a second vehicle and didn’t purchase loss of use coverage you are left without transportation to get to work. Without being able to get to work you aren’t getting paid and could possibly lose your job. A whole scenario that could be avoided just by purchasing the optional loss of use coverage; which is guaranteed to be cheaper than the wages you would lose.

4. What Discounts Do I Qualify For?

When your agent puts together your quote have them provide a list of available discounts. Make sure you go through the list and that the ones you qualify for are added to your quote.

5. Will My Policy be Non-renewed if I get a Ticket or into an Accident?

This last question will get a variety of answers and it all depends on who your car insurance agent is trying to place you with.

 

 

Filing a Car Insurance Claim With Another Company

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Research Last Updated: 05/03/2017

How do I file a car insurance claim against the other driver?

claimNo one wants to file a claim against their own insurance. Between having to pay your deductible to get repairs done and the hit that your CLUE report takes, it makes for a bad situation for something that wasn’t your fault. So the other alternative is to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s car insurance instead, but how do you get that done.

Steps to Take at the Accident

Being able to file a claim against the other driver’s car insurance starts at the accident scene. When you are exchanging information take a picture of the front and back of the insurance card of the other driver. The front of the card will give you the policy identifying information and the back of the card will provide the phone number to call to be able to file a claim.

If possible, call the police so they can create a police report for the accident.

After the Accident

Call the other person’s insurance as soon as you are able to after the car accident and get the claims process moving. The adjuster with the other company isn’t going to be able to do anything until they can get a hold of their insured and take a claim statement of what happened during the accident, so get the process started as soon as possible. Also please understand that if they are not able to get a hold of their client to take a statement, they are not going to be able to do anything about the claim.

This is when you provide the police report with the details of the accident. Hopefully, the report will clearly show that their client was at fault.

Claim Denied by Other Company

If the other company denies the claim because of not being able to get a hold of their insured or they do not believe that their insured was at fault, then you will be left with no recourse other than to file a claim with your own car insurance company for your damages.

Increasing Car Insurance Premium After Small Accident?

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Ask An Insurance Question, Research Last Updated: 04/30/2017

Q: I was charged for failing to yield making right turn on red after I made complete stop and check did see not car approach. Believe driver made illegal u turn. She had witness in car or following her. Once police arrived he was called to side they talked privately. He refused to listen to me and was very rude. I did report him later. Anyway this happen 2014 now 2016 Dec my rates went from 140 to 262. monthly after reporting Kroger employee pushing cart tore off my review mirror. Even though Kroger was responsible. I live on fixed income. According to them they forgave my first and only accident .

 

A: Unfortunately, it feels like there is something else going on here.  I am not saying that your accidents aren’t playing a part in the increase in your rate, but a $1,464 annual increase is not something that I have ever seen for a side-view mirror claim. There are two other things that come to mind right now. First, almost every insurance company increased their rates in 2016. I fielded these calls everyday for the insurance company I work for and also had feedback from agents that we weren’t the only ones doing so.  I would definitely talk to your car insurance agent or car insurance company and see if they did have a rate increase in their car insurance product in your state.

Second, you mentioned “fixed income”. I may be wrong, but that usually indicates that you are of retirement age. After a certain age, car insurance premiums go up and the older you get the higher they increase.  I know this doesn’t work well because that’s when you are usually on a fixed income, but car insurance companies do it because older drivers, while they do have more experience, start becoming more of a risk because of slower reaction times and a decrease in eyesight.

All in all, contact your insurance agent to have them go over your policy to explain what is going on with your rates. If you don’t like what you hear, start shopping around for a company that can give you a better car insurance premium.

 

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.

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