Finding an auto insurance company that will be there when you need them and will pay your claims on time is an important consideration when it comes to buying auto insurance.
A company’s financial strength is a good indicator of their ability to pay claims, and there are two websites where you can go to check out their financial status:
Standard and Poors (standardandpoors.com) – This website provides profiles and financial strength ratings of more than 4,000 companies.
A. M. Best (ambest.com/ratings) – This website provides financial ratings and reports on the overall condition of insurance companies.
These websites are great if you want to know how solvent a company is and how credit worthy they are, but if you want the inside scoop on how well they pay their claims and how good their customer service is, I recommend going to the following websites:
Epinions (epinions.com)- This website provides ratings and reviews of various companies by their customers. Reviews range from, “Great agents all over the country.” to “Buyer beware! Company is a fraud candidate for misrepresentation of their clients.” If you want to find out how customers have been treated and what their claims experience has been, this is the place to go.
1. Research – Put together a monthly budget and make sure that all expenses that go along with the car, including insurance, maintenance, gas, and payments fit in it comfortably. It is easy to overestimate your budget, so go its better to consult an expert for professional assistance. Do some homework on market values before you go shopping so you know the value of the car you are buying and the value of your trade-in.
2. Test Drive – Take the vehicle for a test drive along roads that are similar to the ones that you frequent. If possible, test the car on highways, bumpy, curvy, as well as smooth roads. It is important to test used vehicle under strenuous conditions. Test the car on hills, and in stop-and-go traffic.
3. Look it over – Make a through self-inspection of the vehicle. Check all the windows, make sure the interior is satisfactory, look under the hood, check the tires, the radio, the trunk, air conditioning, as well as the heater and seats. Have the car inspected by a mechanic you hire
4. Ask Questions – Make sure that you fully understand all of the responsibilities that come with owning a vehicle and that you comprehend all aspects of the contract. If you are unclear about anything, ask questions.
5. Be Confident – After you have researched, test driven, looked over, and asked questions about the vehicle, make sure you are confidant about buying. Take your time and if you have any questions, feel free to consult a dealer who can help you purchase right car for you.
In minor accidents, some people worry about filing a claim because they do not want their car insurance rate to go up. The first thing to do in an accident is exchange your name and telephone number with the other party. If you live in a state, where auto insurance is mandatory, look at the cards and copy all information about the person and the insurance company. This information is very important when any accident occurs regardless of the damage.
You should always ask for witness’s names and telephone numbers to give to your car insurance company. This is vital if the other party questions any charges being made or charges being made against you. You need to file an accident report even if the other person says they will pay for your damages. Do not ever ask someone not file an auto insurance claim. The accident report is extremely important when you submit a car insurance claim.
The next step is to notify your car insurance company, give them all the details, and submit the accident report along with witness’s name and the other party’s information. The time is critical since a claim adjuster needs to verify who was at fault and what the next step is to take. If the accident is not your fault, you may file a report of damages to the other car insurance company and pay no deductible as if you use your auto insurance and pay the deductible.
Never sign a release form for anything until you are completely satisfied with all the repairs and medical bills if any. There may be other factors to determine when signing a release such as wages loss, mental state and rental car costs to name a few. The auto insurance company will try to get you to sign as quickly as possible, hold your ground.
Now when I said “in full”, I mean that the other company pays all of it and sometimes rents you a car while your car is being repaired. If you were at fault, then your insurance company will pay for the repairs – minus the deductible. Most deductibles are $250 but can vary from $500 up to $1000. A deductible is the amount you have to pay out of your pocket for the repairs.
Let’s say you crash your car. The repairs on your car are going to be $3000. Your insurance company will use an adjuster to estimate the repairs or send you to a body shop for an estimate. Then, the insurance company pays you $3000 minus the deductible ($500) or $2500. Some insurance companies require YOU to pay the $500 up front before they cut their portion of the check.
Let’s talk deductibles for a moment. If you have a $250 deductible, then your premium is going to be much higher than if you have a $500 deductible. In most cases, you can raise your deductible and save the additional money you were paying and have $500 sitting in the bank just in case you have an accident. Its usually that significant of an increase in premium.
Again, if you finance the car, then you will have to purchase collision insurance. If you have an older vehicle, you could probably save the money you spend on collision insurance and have enough money to buy another used vehicle as good as the one you wrecked. Make sense?
In summary, collision insurance covers repairs to your vehicle after you are at fault in an accident, less your deductible. If you car is paid off, then you need to look at whether you really need this coverage or not, depending on age and condition of you car.