It’s natural to have a few questions when shopping for car insurance. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. After searching online for answers, you can also use a car insurance agent to help you make sense of the process and lock in a policy.
Knowing what information you need before speaking with a car insurance agent will help the process go more smoothly too.
Being prepared helps you find the right policy
It’s always good to plan ahead, especially when buying car insurance. Having an idea of your insurance needs and gathering your information can reduce your stress and help you avoid overpaying for insurance you don’t need.
Before getting on the phone, you should:
- Get all the necessary information about yourself, your vehicle, and any other drivers who will be covered on the policy.
- Have an idea of what kind of coverage you're looking for and how much you're willing to pay.
- If you've been with the same insurer for a while, you might also want to look over your current policy and see if anything needs updating.
- Shop around and compare rates from different providers, so you have a good idea of what’s out there and what you can roughly expect to pay.
We know—it seems like a lot of unnecessary detail. But car insurance companies ask for so much information because they want to prevent fraudsters from taking advantage of the insurers for lower premiums or a higher claims payout.
Be ready to share your personal information
To buy car insurance, you’ll need to provide information about anyone who will drive your car, including yourself. Keep your driver’s license on hand. Other information an agent may need includes your driving record and where you live.
Your Driving history
The agent will want to know how often you drive, the types of roads you usually drive on, and any speeding tickets or accident reports you may have had in the past. This goes for any other drivers you want to include on your policy. You should also provide a history of any claims you’ve made in the past.
In some cases, an agent will ask you if you’ve completed any safe driving courses.
All of this information helps them assess your risk level, which can directly affect the rate they offer you. Typically, the more likely you are to get into an accident, the higher you will likely have to pay for car insurance.
Where you live
Your zip code and the type of neighborhood you live in can play a major role in the cost of your policy. Knowing this information ahead of time will help ensure that you get the best possible rate for your coverage. The agent may also ask where you park your car (like in a garage or on the street).
information about your vehicle
The type of vehicle you drive affects your car insurance rates. Your agent will want to know the make, model, and age of your car, and your vehicle identification number. Other vehicle information you should about your car includes:
- Safety features, like anti-lock brakes
- Anti-theft devices, like GPS trackers
- Roughly how many miles you drive your car each year
If you don’t have safety or anti-theft devices installed in your car, you may want to consider adding them before shopping for insurance, as they can make finding coverage more affordable.
Questions you should ask your insurer before buying a policy
When speaking to a car insurance agent, ask questions to make sure you're getting the best coverage at the best price.
It's natural to feel overwhelmed with the various terms and options out there, but don't be intimidated. A good agent will want you to be as informed and confident as possible. They are there to help explain anything that's confusing or answer any questions you may have.
No question is too silly or small—chances are, they’ve gotten it before.
How much coverage do I need?
Protecting your vehicle is important, and it's worth the time to ensure you have the right coverage in place. Too often people find out they had coverage and deductible amounts after they've been in an accident.
First, make sure you’re meeting your state's minimum insurance requirements. Once these minimum requirements are met, you may want to consider additional coverage that fits your needs. Your agent can help you determine if you should add more coverage.
Research different types of car insurance coverage—including liability, collision, and comprehensive—so you can make sure you have coverage that meets your needs. Make sure to understand what each type of coverage offers so there are no surprises when something happens.
Wondering if you’re covered if a tree falls on your car? Or if a rat chews the wires under your hood? Ask your agent!
If you currently have insurance, prepare to share details about your existing coverage and any changes in coverage you need. We've even create an entire guide on the subject if you need help finding the right amount of coverage you need.
Information about your deductible
It’s important to know how much you’ll pay out of pocket if something happens. This largely depends on your coverage amount, policy limit, and your selected deductible.
Typically, if you get in an accident and it wasn’t your fault, the other driver’s insurance will pay the damages. If you’re at fault, your insurer will pay for covered expenses once you’ve met your deductible, up to your policy limit.
Many drivers will opt for a higher deductible in exchange for lower premiums, but remember you’ll wind up paying more if something were to happen.
Information about potential discounts
In some cases, you may qualify for special discounts that lower your premiums. There are often discounts for drivers who:
- Drive safely or don’t have a history of filing claims
- Have taken a defensive driving course
- Belong to an certain occupational group (which we think is unfair)
- Are in the military
- Have installed safety features to their car, like anti-lock brakes
- Have installed anti-theft devices, like tracking devices
- Don’t drive their car very often or very far
- Bundle their auto insurance policy with their homeowners insurance policy
- Pay their car insurance premiums annually, instead of monthly
The number of discounts available depends on your insurer. Your agent can help you find the discounts that work for you. Of course, you can also check out our guide on a few ways to get the cheapest car insurance you need.
Overall, working with an agent can help ensure you get the best value for your money, and getting prepared beforehand can make the process as efficient and easy as possible. You should know exactly what you’re buying before you sign the dotted line on car insurance.
If you’re actively looking for car insurance at the moment, why not check out if LOOP is a good option for you? You can check your price here.
About the Author: This article was crafted by the LOOP Marketing Team. Comprising of seasoned professionals with expertise in the insurance industry, our team is dedicated to providing readers with accurate, up-to-date, and valuable information. At LOOP, we're passionate about helping families navigate the world of car insurance, ensuring they get the best coverage at the most affordable rates. Learn more about our mission and values here.
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