When was the last time you went shopping for auto insurance? If it’s been a while, you could be missing out on some valuable discounts that could save you money. You could also learn that the coverage you have may not be enough to protect you or your assets. Shopping around for insurance can be cumbersome if you’re not familiar with the terms and if you don’t know how much insurance coverage that you really need. It’s best to contact an insurance professional that will provide you with various options to help you maximize costs. You could contact an agent by telephone or online. Many agents today have self guided websites where you can enter in your present policy information and obtain your own quote within minutes. Others have websites where you can go in and enter in your policy information and submit it and they will email you back a quote or contact you by telephone. There are even some websites where you can obtain a quote and buy it online unassisted. You can call the insurance companies one by one and obtain a quote or you can contact a local licensed insurance broker who has access to more than one insurance company to choose from, which will definitely save you time. Depending upon the broker, they may or may not charge you a broker fee for their services. Inquire in advance. If they do, this should be taken into consideration when evaluating any potential savings.
Ask about the various discounts that may be available to you. Insurance companies have many discounts that they offer but can vary by company. You can get discounts for insuring your home or other lines of business with the same company. The best way to maximize costs today is to keep all of your insurance with one company. It’s easier for you to manage and the savings can be substantial. There are discounts if you insure more than one car in the household. There are discounts if you have anti-lock brakes on your vehicle or any anti-theft device. There are discounts for certain professions like CPA’s, teachers, and police officers to name a few. There are accident and citation free discounts too. If you’re a young driver and maintain good grades, you may qualify for a good student discount. All of these discounts combined together can really save you a bundle.
Be sure to disclose to the insurance company all licensed drivers living with you in your household. You will want to be sure that all household members will be covered to drive your vehicle. Be sure to also advise any lender information to the insurance company if you are financing or leasing the vehicle so that they can be property listed on your policy. These lenders will also be notified that you have coverage in order to avoid lender forced placed insurance that will end up costing you a small fortune.
Decide how much coverage you really need. It is the law in California to maintain minimum limits of liability coverage. If you are financing a vehicle, you will be required to have the minimum liability coverage limits plus coverage for the vehicle itself. This is called full coverage. Some leased vehicle contracts require that you have higher limits of liability coverage in addition to having coverage for the vehicle itself. Be sure to read your lease contract for the specifics. If you have paid off your vehicle, it will be optional whether or not you want to maintain comprehensive and collision coverage. Depending upon what the value is of your vehicle, you still may want to maintain this important coverage even after you’ve paid off the loan. At some point however, it may not make good financial sense to continue to have full coverage on the vehicle itself. As the vehicle value depreciates, the costs associated with maintaining full coverage could be wasteful spending. This is something that you may also want to discuss with your insurance professional. They will have access to information that will help you determine how much your vehicle is worth and whether or not full coverage is cost effective or not.
Be sure to check all of the optional coverage available to you. There is Uninsured motorist and\or underinsured motorist, medical, roadside assistance, towing and glass coverage to name a few. The more options you add, the higher your costs will be so be sure to only buy the ones you’ll need.
Choose your comprehensive and collision deductibles wisely. If you have comprehensive and collision coverage and you suffer a loss, you will be subject to the annual deductible. This deductible amount will be your responsibility to pay before the insurance company pays their share. Remember, to keep costs down, you’ll want to consider a higher deductible.
After you purchase a new policy, you’ll want to be sure to cancel any existing coverage that you may have only after confirming your new coverage. Be sure to inquire with your old insurance company about whether or not a cancellation penalty or short rate will apply if you cancel before your term is up. If the short rate or cancellation penalty is substantial, you may want to wait and change on your renewal.
If you want to stay ahead of the game, you should shop your insurance about once every 3 to 5 years or even sooner if your household status changes. And always remember, you’ll never realize the true value of insurance until you need it!
For more information or a no obligation quotation or review of your insurance, contact us today.
Zenker Insurance Agency, Inc
3868 W Carson St., Suite 206
Torrance, CA 90503