November 27, 2013
There aren’t many things we buy and hope to never use like auto insurance. And the longer we go without incident, the less we think about it. Inaction is not necessarily the best course of action, so knowing the following about auto insurance companies can make you better informed.
You get what you pay for. When you shop for insurance (which should be periodic, even if you’re content with your carrier), understand what you’re getting. A mutual insurer will often be more service-oriented, since policyholders are also shareholders and have a greater say than publicly-traded companies.
And regardless of whether you go for minimum coverage from a low-cost carrier or a full-blown policy from a big name, they all have to abide by your state regulations for handling your policy and claims. The big difference lies in the service you receive.
Know your policy. Scintillating reading this is not. But it is a contract and therefore is critical to understand. For most folks, that’s no easy task. Take time to go through it with your agent so you can grasp which coverage applies to which situation, as well as limitations and exclusions.
Know your specific coverage. By comparison to policy comprehension, this will be easy. Become well-versed in your specific coverage on your vehicle(s), including deductibles and policy limits. Consider extras that alleviate or minimize out-of-pocket costs in the event of a claim, like rental car coverage or an endorsement for your aftermarket infotainment system.
Know how a claim works. The prospect probably grabs you as much as investigating how a root canal feels. But if you don’t have a general idea from your agent, at least ask your adjuster if and when you do have to file a claim. There are a lot of variables to the process, and having proper expectations set early on will make for a less stressful disruption to your life.
You are a number. This probably doesn’t come as comforting news, and it may not come as news at all, but it’s true. Despite the level of courtesy and service you receive, good or bad, you are a number. Adjusters in particular can handle literally dozens of claims at any given time. They don’t exist to ignore, but they are stretched thin, especially at smaller insurance carriers.
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