Here are six areas to review with your insurance agent so you know if your car insurance covers what you need it to.
1. What is …
- What is the amount provided for medical payments and personal injury payments?
- What is the difference between cancellation and non-renewal of a policy?
- What is the difference between liability, comprehensive, collision, and full coverage insurance in terms of financial costs and also in terms of the extent of coverage?
- What is included on an umbrella liability policy and when do I need one?
- What is Personal Injury Protection and how do I know if I need it?
- What is a deductible?
- Is this a reasonable amount?
- What is the national average for this?
- What is the state average for this?
2. Who or What is Covered?
- Who is covered under this policy? Are other licensed drivers (friends, family members) covered if they drive my car? Does this cover what I need?
- What are the different levels of coverage available for my car’s make and model, and for my family situation?
- How do I insure my teenage driver? What factors can reduce or increase the cost of his/her insurance?
- If I use my car for my business, is it covered under my policy?
- Can I take cars on and off my policy? For instance, if I have a car I only drive in the summer, can I put it on insurance for only June, July and August? What kind of lead time does the insurance company need?
- Does the policy include roadside assistance?
- If not, does the company offer it, how much is it and what geographic areas does it include?
- Are there certain times that are/aren’t included?
- Are there services that are/aren’t included?
3. Uninsured, Licensed, Non-Licensed Passenger, Driver
- Are other licensed drivers covered if they drive my car?
- What about non-licensed drivers?
- Are passengers covered? For how much? Is that amount enough/does it fit with recommended averages by your firm?
4. Rental and Leased Vehicle
- Are leased or rented vehicles covered under this policy?
- If I choose not to add this coverage, do I need to get insurance that a rental car company offers when I rent a car?
- Does this insurance policy cover me anywhere in the country? What about outside of the country?
5. Accident, Damaged, Stolen
- Are personal items in the car covered in case of an accident or theft? Do I need a rider on certain items if I’d like that option?
- If I am in an accident, does the policy include legal fees if I have to go to court? If not, how is that paid for? Is that an additional charge?
- In your experience, if my vehicle is damaged, how quickly can I expect to see an adjuster?
- If the adjuster determines that the car is repairable, can I choose to take a check (less than my deductible)?
- If my car is damaged or stolen, will the policy pay for a rental vehicle until I get my car back?
- Does this policy offer a percentage or full reimbursement?
- If not, how much more does it cost to get that?
- Am I covered if the damage to my car was due to an uninsured or under-insured motorist?
- If my car is damaged as a result of a non-collision event (such as a fire at my home or natural disaster), is it covered?
- What situations DOESN’T my insurance cover? Is there something I’m missing?
6. How Much…
- How much insurance do I need if I have one car, two cars, etc.? Does this cover what I need it to?
- Tell me where I fit in with national averages – am I paying average, more, or less, and what factors into your answers?
- Are there certain models of car that cost more to insure? Do I have one?
- What vehicles get the lowest insurance rates?
- If I owe money on my car, does that affect how much insurance must I carry?
- If I have a lower deductible, how much are my payments? With a higher deductible, how much are my payments?
- What are my payment options? Annual payments, bi-annual, monthly, etc.?
- What coverage is available for a “basic” auto policy? How much is that?
- What is the breakdown of the benefits I have?
- How much will it be to insure myself at the level I’m comfortable with?
- What factors increase policy cost?
- What can I do to decrease the cost of my policy? (Have a safe driving record or increase the deductible, for example.)
- What discounts do you offer? (Many insurance companies offer a discount if you insure multiple cars with them, or have multiple policies, i.e., home, theft, auto, business, etc.)
- What does my zip code have to do with my car insurance?
- What is the length of time that the policy is in effect?
- What can result in the policy being canceled or premiums raised?
- What do I do if can’t get insurance through traditional private insurance companies?
Also – talk with friends about their insurance company, their agent, and their experiences.
Photo Credit: edar