When shopping for auto insurance, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by everything which by default can cause you to simply choose the cheapest policy blindly. This can leave you in serious financial trouble should you actually need to use your policy. Below is a checklist to help you in the shopping process to ensure you not only optimize your coverage’s but pricing too.
- Make sure your coverages are sufficient
Buying the state minimum insurance is not enough and it is dangerous to your finances. With the rising cost of goods and medical costs, you can find yourself personally on the hook. In Maryland the state minimum bodily injury limit for auto insurance is $30,000 per person. The average cost of treating a broken leg in Maryland is $17,000-$35,000. Even a minor accident can exhaust the minimum limit swiftly. For property damage the minimum limit is $15,000. There are very few if any vehicles out there that cost less than this. We recommend a Bodily Injury limit of $250,000 per person/ $500,000 per occurrence and at least $100,000 in property damage. A little secret to holding higher limits is that while in the short run it may cost a little more than the minimum, over time you will most likely pay less for having better coverage!
- Bundle your policies
Insurance carriers offer generous discounts for having your auto insurance and home (or renters) insurance together. These discounts range from 10-28%. So when shopping look to bring your whole portfolio for max savings.
- Ask your Agent for discounts
There are all sorts of additional discounts that carriers offer. Some will offer discounts for being an AARP member, having a AAA membership, being a good student, serving or have served in the military, etc. There are also discounts for the profession you work in and/ or if you are an alum at certain universities. The key point is to ask if these are available. It could be great savings!
- Pay your premiums in full
This may not be for everyone. However if you are able to pay for your premiums in full for the 6 or 12 month policy period, there is usually a generous discount for doing so.
- Inquire about safe driving telematics programs or apps.
Carriers are using technology more and more to determine driving habits of consumers. This technology is not going away. In fact, it is our hunch that it will only become more prevalent. If you are a good driver, it is a no-brainer to utilize these programs right now. Not only will you receive a great discount. It should also help with your rate in the long run as well.
- Look at raising your deductible
If you have an acceptable emergency fund stashed away, maybe look at raising your deductible. Especially if you don’t have an accident history. This will help keep your policy cost down. When you are shopping, ask to see what a $1,000 deductible would cost.
- Work with an independent agent/broker
Shopping around for insurance is time consuming. Between going to various websites to fill out (and re-fill out) your information, talking to numerous company reps, and receiving endless emails, a broker can do this for you. They can do a complete market check and report back with the most optimal options for you. Saving you time, money, and your sanity.