Once drivers purchase an auto insurance policy, many simply let the policy renew each year. But with a little digging, drivers may be able to reduce their insurance costs considerably. According to the Insurance Information Institute in New York, consumers should ask themselves if they’re happy with the cost, service and coverage of their existing policies whenever it’s time to renew. If they are, they should stick with their existing policies. However, if customers feel things can be better, then it’s a perfect time to see what’s available. Many driver advocates advise shopping for a new policy every two or three years. When it comes time to switch car insurance companies, follow these steps and remember to avoid gaps in the coverage.
• Compare apples to apples. When shopping for new policies, consumers should compare the same features offered by various providers, including coverage types, deductibles and any limits. Keep a copy of your existing policy’s declarations page so that all quotes can be accurately compared to the existing policy.
• Research any cancellation fees. Before switching over, find out if there are any cancellation fees associated with an existing policy.
• Eliminate coverage gaps. Eliminate gaps in coverage by ensuring a new policy begins the moment the existing one ends. This prevents potential financial ruin should a driver get into an accident without any insurance during a gap period.
• Take note of any lifestyle changes. Be sure to list anything that can affect the cost of coverage, such as anti-theft devices on the vehicle, window etching or updated driving habits.
• Explore union or group affiliations. Drivers who are members of particular clubs, professional organizations or something similar may be eligible for special policies with certain providers. Make a list of any affiliations and contact the organizers to see if they have relationships with auto insurance providers. Law enforcement personnel or veterans may be eligible for certain discounts as well. Some insurance carriers only cover police officers or former military. It pays to look into these discounts.
• Consider small companies. Just because they don’t advertise as much as some of the more well-known providers does not mean small insurance companies are not capable of providing sufficient, affordable coverage. There are plenty of reputable small companies that offer excellent rates to drivers willing to exercise their due diligence.
• Check with the existing provider, too. Drivers can discuss their current rates and coverage with their existing insurance company, who may offer suggestions on reducing coverage or even offer lower prices in an effort to hang on to customers. Consider these possibilities before switching. Shopping around for a new automotive insurance policy may help customers cut rates and increase coverage.
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