The responsibility of purchasing auto insurance may give a sense of satisfaction knowing that you and your family are protected. But it may be a very frustrating and confusing process. There are ways to determine how to get the best rates for you and your specific circumstances.
The first thing to consider is any special circumstances you may have that can affect your policy and rate. If you have had a driving under the influence (DUI) charge or recent accident and you were at fault, it can limit your options. If you have a job where you provide transportation to clients, such as some social service agencies do or perhaps you use your primary vehicle as your own taxi service, this may affect your rates.
The first thing to know when searching for the best rates is what criteria auto insurance companies use to accept or deny you. Do not just call the insurance company you see on television commercials. I tried that and will not do it again. Just because the company is on TV only means that they had the money for the commercial. While the companies on TV or the internet may turn out to be the best option for you, there is no guarantee.
When you call insurance companies and they ask for your social security number or require it when applying over the internet, consider if you really want to give out your social security number and you are only making an initial inquiry. The first time I did that, I regretted it and will not do it again. The companies that require you to give your social security number are overwhelmingly likely to be running a credit check. Yes, they can turn you down for auto insurance based on your credit report. If you have less than perfect credit, you will probably want to consider another company.
I pay under $45 a month for my policy. So how did I get such an outstanding rate? There are several factors. First, I shopped around. There were a couple other insurance companies that I was considering several years ago and I am glad I did not get my insurance with them. One was a local company on a corner in a not-so-great neighborhood, I discovered when I drove by. I did not even go in. Another did not answer my questions to my complete satisfaction. The third, the company I have used the last 10 years is the company that I knew was right for me. When I made the initial phone call, I was not asked for my social security number or even my full name as soon as the man said “Hello,” as other companies did. He simply asked my first name and a few basic questions in a very pleasant, helpful tone of voice.
“Have you had any accidents in the past three years that were your fault?”
“No,” I replied.
“Do you use your primary vehicle to transport others for business?”
“No, I don’t.”
“Do you currently have insurance with another company that will result in a change of policy?” “Will there be anyone under the age of 18 who will be driving your car?” “Is there anyone besides yourself who will be covered under this policy?”
We made arrangements for me to come in to the office and complete the application. After verifying my information, he informed me that “You have one of the lowest rates of any of our clients!”
How did I manage to have the third lowest rate of all the clients at that particular office? I had not had so much as a speeding or parking ticket in more than five years. I had no at-fault accident in more than five years. The criteria for points on your record was three years. I had no points at all.
When shopping for auto insurance, the best rates can be found by shopping around. If the potential insurer asks for your social security number up front, you can be pretty sure they are checking your credit. Know that the best company for your family member, neighbor or friend may not be the best choice for you. Your individual situation may affect what company you should use and the amount of the policy. Even if you have to have an SR-22 or have another special situation, that does not mean you jump at the first company willing to insure you. You should still shop around for the best coverage and rates.
It is imperative to make contact with several companies and not just because they advertise on television or on-line. Be cautious when dealing with a local company that has only one office. The local company I mentioned disappeared from that corner several years ago and never reopened elsewhere. I have no idea what happened to those who had policies with them. The company I chose, on the other hand, is continually expanding. They have moved into other cities, opening several new offices.
If you want the best rates on auto insurance, don’t drive under the influence of any illegal substances. If you live in an area where marijuana is legalized, do not get behind the wheel. In Colorado, the first state to legalize medical marijuana, USA Today reports that the Colorado Department of transportation has started a “Drive High, Get a DUI” campaign.” Marijuana may be legal, but it is still illegal to drive under the influence. Check for discounts on auto insurance. Shopping around takes time, but it is how I got the best rates. Be honest about any special situations that may affect the type of policy or cost. You will be found out anyway. Check out tips suggested by “10 tips to help you get the best auto insurance rates.” When you practice safety behind the wheel, you are certain to get a much lower rate than many other individuals have.