When done correctly, getting an online auto insurance quote is the fastest and most efficient way to get the best coverage for the best rate .
When done incorrectly, you start to fall into traps as far as not having the right coverage, having coverage that you don't need, or paying more for coverage than what you should be paying.
Where you get auto insurance quotes from is also very important, as you will soon see. I have created a list of the eight biggest mistakes that I see most people make when they get a quote online. As long as you don't fall into any of the following eight pitfalls, you will be good to go far as getting the right coverage at the right price. All while spending the least amount of time shopping around for quotes.
1. Not understanding the basic coverages of an auto insurance policy. It is essential that you understand the five key parts components of an auto insurance policy.
Those are: liability, uninsured motorist, medical payments, comprehensive coverage, and collision coverage. If you would like to learn more about the basics of an auto insurance policy, feel free to listen to my short audio blog. Getting a quote without understand these 5 components is like throwing darts blindfolded!
2. Not asking questions when you're not sure about something. Don't just try to wing it! If you don't understand something, there's plenty of available help out there. Don't be afraid to do some quick online research, or call an agent and simply ask. By just winging it, you're missing out on important knowledge you need to make an informed decision.
3. Skimping on the cheapest and most important coverages. People tend to skimp on uncontrollable risks while at the same time spending a little extra on controlled risks. When in fact they should be doing the exact opposite. To learn more about why that is, have a quick look at my blog post about skimping on auto insurance coverages. Bottom line is don't skimp on uncontrollable risks such as liability coverage and UIM coverage.
4. Getting an auto insurance quote from a customer service rep. Many people simply like to look up a phone number online and then get a quote over the phone. And that's fine to do. But make sure you're speaking with an insurance agent and not a customer service rep. It's not that CSR's are bad, it just that they follow a sales script, and must steer you towards their company's best interest, not yours. I discourage you from doing that and suggest you go with an insurance agent instead.
5. Quoting with one company at a time. Although there's nothing wrong with this, it is very time consuming. It's very inefficient as far as finding the lowest rate. A better strategy is to get a quote with an independent agent who carries multiple companies that he/she can quote you with all at once. That way, you only have to get a quote once, and the agent will be happy to do the shopping around for you.
6. Getting a quote from a lead generation site. You may stumble upon an auto insurance website that allows you to get an online auto insurance quote. But yet nowhere on their website are any names, addresses or phone numbers listed. Watch out for those types of websites, as most all of them don't sell auto insurance at all.
Their goal is to simply sell your information to other insurance agents. And in many cases, a lot of agents! While this method may be effective as far as finding new the lowest rate, it will also cause your phone to blow up! Any an insurance agent worth their salt will at least put their name, address, and phone number on their website. If you don't see it, run for the hills!
7. Failing to include all drivers that should be listed on the auto insurance policy. If someone of driving age lives with you..... Or, anyone who does not live with you but has regular access to your vehicle, they need to be listed on your auto insurance policy. I've seen a lot of people run into big trouble with this. If your teenage driver lives with you and is not an insured driver on your policy, and he/she wrecks your car, you're screwed!
8. Failing to disclose everything about your driving record, accident and claims history. Companies are going to run your motor vehicle report and run your insurance history report (known as CLUE). Most all companies run these reports before you actually buy the policy and put it in force. A few companies may wait a couple days, but eventually they will run those reports and find out. You're much better off in the long run simply listing anything that you're aware of on your driving record or accident report or insurance claims.
Summary: By avoiding these 8 pitfalls, you will be able to find the right coverage for you, at an affordable price, spending the least amount of time and effort in doing so.
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Dan Lyles is an Independent Insurance Agent serving Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia..