Obtaining Auto Insurance

Auto insurance can be ridiculously expensive, but by avoiding excessive coverage and perhaps paying a higher deductible, you can get affordable insurance that actually protects you. Before you shop, however, make sure there are no errors on your driving record or your credit record. A surprise on either can jack up your rates.

Contact the DMV to find out about any outstanding violations you might have on your driving record and straighten them out. Order a free credit report from a company like Experian site to make sure it’s clean.

Find out how much coverage you’re required to carry according to your state’s department of insurance and determine which types of coverage you’ll need. This requires balancing how much you can afford to pay with how much you can afford to lose. You should carry enough liability to cover your assets if you cause a very expensive accident; otherwise the claimant might go after your house and possessions.

Shop around for quotes based on what you’ve determined you need, instead of asking agencies what they think you need. Independent insurance agents and Web sites like esurance site Insweb site and All Quotes Insurance site will compare rates for you. Are you willing to pay more for a well-known company?

See what you can get discounts for. Here are some of the things you may already have that can save you money: air bags, anti-lock brakes, automatic seat belts, anti theft devices, safe driving record, safe car, age, marital status and multiple insured vehicles.

Ask the carrier if filing a claim raises premiums, and under which circumstances it cancels insurance.

Research prospective insurers. To learn how the company’s service is regarded, talk to other customers and repair shops who have worked with the insurer. Check out the company’s rating with your state’s department of insurance, the Better Business and national consumer surveys. The company should be in good standing so you can collect when there’s a claim.

Read your policy before signing. Make sure it includes the coverage you’re requesting and no surprise clauses. Avoid arbitration clauses that keep you from suing your insurer if it doesn’t pay a claim by asking the insurer to delete it from the contract or going to another insurer.