4 Buying Tips from an Auto Insurance Expert

When buying auto insurance, (1) lower your risk, (2) compare quotes as well as coverage, and (3) look at each company's financial ratings.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Nov 8, 2021

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Things to Remember...

  • Auto insurance underwriters look at several factors to determine your risk and likelihood of being in an accident in the future
  • If classified as a high-risk driver, you can lower your risk factor by taking a defensive driving course
  • It’s a good idea to compare multiple car insurance quotes before making a final decision

Most people think that finding affordable auto insurance is like finding a needle in a haystack. Although it can seem like a daunting task, it isn’t impossible.

All you need to is follow the tips from insurance experts, and you will be on your way to saving big bucks! Enter your zip code above and start comparing affordable car insurance quotes today!

What the Experts Say Not to Do

There are many places where you can find advice about buying car insurance, but not all of it is good advice. Experts in the auto insurance industry caution against following advice that is not sanctioned by professionals.

For instance, well-meaning friends and family may advise you to stretch the truth a bit on your car insurance application. You may be told to lie about how many miles you drive, where you keep your car, or even where you live, in order to save money on your premiums.

Essentially, all of these facts go into evaluating your risk and your premiums. So, if you withhold accurate information, you are lying to save money from your auto insurance provider. Under most state laws, lying in order to get or save money is considered fraud.

Such inaccuracies on an application can cause you to be dropped by your insurance provider or even prosecuted by the state. You want to make sure that all of the information on your application is factual.

Another piece of advice from the experts is to buy more than the basic amount of car insurance. Again, some people may advise you to buy only the state minimum amounts of insurance or to drop optional coverage such as collision or comprehensive once your vehicle is paid for in order to save money.

Experts all agree that buying only the basic amount of car insurance required by law in your state will likely put you at great financial risk.

Your state minimums for car insurance coverage are probably not enough to cover the damages and injuries you may suffer if you are involved in a serious accident. Also, dropping optional coverage will leave you with the bill if your vehicle is damaged in an accident, stolen, or damaged in another way.


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#1 – Lower Your Risk

The first tip comes from the experts at the Insurance Information Institute (III), and it is advice that is meant to be followed before you begin the car insurance buying process.

Auto insurance underwriters look at several factors to determine your risk and likelihood of being in an accident in the future. If your risk is low, then your rates are low; but if your risk is high, then your rates will be higher as well.

There are many ways to lower your risk before you begin searching for car insurance. A lot of your risk is based on your past driving history. Most car insurance companies offer a discount once a driver has completed a safe driving course.

Essentially, you are re-learning the rules and laws of the road in order to be a better driver. You can start saving from the course as soon as your insurance company has a record of your satisfactory completion.

Another way to quickly lower your risk in the eyes of car insurance providers is to lower the risk of your vehicle being stolen. When you fill out your application, insurers ask you where your vehicle is parked when you are not driving it.

Those who park their vehicles on the streets or in their driveways have a greater risk of their vehicles being stolen.

If you are able to park your car in a locked garage or a secured parking lot, then you should begin doing so. Let your current or future car insurance provider know that your vehicle is always secured.

You can also install security devices on your vehicle to lessen the chances of it being stolen and increase the likelihood that it will be returned. Car alarms, GPS tracking devices, and VIN etching will all help you save on your auto insurance premium.

Another long-term way to lower your risk is by improving your credit history. Car insurance providers contend that those with poor credit make bad financial choices and poor driving choices. The better your credit is, the better your car insurance premiums will be.

#2 – Get Multiple Quotes

The next tip comes from the hard-working people at the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. Once you start the buying process, the best thing to do is to get multiple quotes.

While many car insurance providers use the “save hundreds here” gimmick in their advertising, it is really possible to save hundreds of dollars per year on car insurance rates.

The trick is to find the car insurance provider who will offer you the lowest rates.

The only way to know how much any particular car insurance provider will charge you for coverage is to get a quote. If you go with the first provider who offers you a quote, then you will never know if there is a less expensive rate out there.

#3 – Compare the Same Amounts of Coverage

There is one more thing to know about getting multiple quotes. If you want to be able to compare those quotes side-by-side, you have to get quotes for the same amount of coverage.

This tip of comparing the same amount of coverage for every quote comes to you from the Maine Bureau of Insurance.

If you don’t use the same amount of coverage when applying for each quote, then you’re not really comparing the same thing.

If you ask one insurance provider for a quote for minimal coverage and another provider for full coverage, they obviously are not going to return quotes that are anywhere near the same amount of money.

Figure out how much coverage you want and need, and then stick with those amounts. In this way, you will really be able to compare the auto insurance company pricing.

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#4 – Look at Ratings

The last tip has to do with the cheap insurance versus good insurance debate. While no one wants to pay extra for car insurance, it is important to make sure that you are purchasing coverage from a reputable car insurance provider.

It will cost a lot more money in the long run if that provider doesn’t follow through on paying your claims. That’s why the National Association of Insurance Commissioners advises that you look at ratings of all the car insurance companies you are considering.

Auto insurance providers are essentially promising to make you whole again if you suffer an accident or other loss concerning your vehicle. You don’t want a provider who can’t pay your claim in the future.

One way to find out if a car insurance company has a strong financial foundation is to research its financial ratings.

Rating organizations such as Standard & Poor’s, Fitch Ratings, and A.M. Best look at the financial standings of businesses such as auto insurance companies. They publish their findings for the public and business sectors, using an alphabetical rating system.

Those car insurance providers with ratings such as A or A+ have a good outlook for honoring their financial commitments in the future, according to the rating organizations.

How to Get Multiple Quotes

Getting multiple quotes is important, but so are the methods that you used to get those quotes. It can be a long and arduous process contacting one car insurance provider at a time to get a quote.

If you would like to avoid all the time and hassle of getting multiple quotes, then you should utilize websites that provide quote comparisons.

Such websites allow you to fill out only one form, and then they send a copy of that form out to car insurance providers for quotes.

Using quote comparison websites cuts your search time down to almost nothing. You can also get quotes from car insurance companies that you never thought of, though you are under no obligation to buy insurance from any of the providers.

Enter you zip code below to get multiple car insurance quotes online now!

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Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

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