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  • Writer's pictureKeri Wildeman

What Are You Really Getting In Your Auto Policy?

We’ve put together a few things to look out for when shopping for insurance policies Take a look at what we have to say.

Think all car insurance companies are the same? Think again. With competition at an all time high, companies are finding ways to differentiate themselves from their competition, and that makes things all that much better for you. But how do you know you're really getting the best bang for your money? Is there really such a thing as cheap car insurance, or is it all just a ripoff?

Here's a few things you'll want to know about the policy you're looking at:

What kind of discounts do they offer? And better yet, is it all a bunch of hype that makes the policy more appealing, or do the discounts really mean something?

- Sure, your quote might have a list of discounts a page long on it, but what you need to know is, "How does the final number compare to other company's bottom number out there?" That long list may not mean as much by the time you get to the bottom of what it covers. Make sure you go with a company that has a fair price for what you are looking for. You don't want a company that offers gap insurance automatically in their quote if you don't have a car that's financed. You also don't want to get hit on price just because you've had a ticket. Find a company that's willing to work with you.

What is covered automatically, and what are optional coverages?

- Do you know exactly what you are covered for? A policy can say you have coverage for rental car reimbursement, but what does that really mean? Take a look at what the coverage actually entails. Do you have rental car reimbursement day 1 or day 3? Does it cover a small, midsized, or suv vehicle? What is it that you will need? A family of 3 may be fine with a small car, but a family of 7 is going to have a heck of a time fitting in that same car. How many days are you covered for? What is the max you will have coverage for? A suv with a reimbursement of $20 a day is going to end up costing you quite a bit of money if max coverage is up to $1000.... Think about it. Renting a SUV costs about $60/day. That means you are paying $40 a day regardless of the max coverage. In two weeks, you won't max out your coverage, but you will already owe out of pocket $560. With paying a very modest amount extra on your bill, you could have been $0 out of pocket at $60 a day reimbursement. Know your coverages.

Does the company offer rewards for safe driving? Does claims-free really make a difference to the company?

- Because accidents and tickets happen, companies are gearing their marketing towards acknowledging that "life happens" and making it easier on their clients to choose their company because of that. Again, bottom line here is, do you want to go with a company that budgets those margins for error into their plan and spreads the cost out among its drivers, or do you want to go with a company that rewards it's drivers for safe driving, gives them a return on their premium if they go claims free? It really can make a huge difference in savings when you look at the whole picture.

Are there other products that the company offers that will allow you to get a discounted rate on your auto?

- Do you own a home, rent, or need a small life insurance policy? Maybe you have a motorcycle. All these things can factor into your final premium. Check with the company to see if it offers discounts for your loyalty to their company. After all, if a company can garner your trust and have all of your accounts with them, they are more likely to treat you well, and cater to what your specific needs are. Look for that in a company when shopping around.

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