You probably have no idea just how complicated looking for car insurance can be. If you stayed in the same general area you grew up in, you probably just took out a policy with the same company your parents use, or maybe you moved to a small town and the insurance office just down the street from you was most convenient.
Unfortunately, if you’re only with your current company out of some sense of loyalty or convenience, you might be missing out on a better deal somewhere else. Take a look at these little-known secrets insurance companies like to keep . . . and adjust your plan accordingly.
Secret #1: Discounts
Many companies will offer you discounts . . . but only if you ask about them first. It’s like the secret menu at your favorite restaurant: it’s not information available to the general public.
So before you sign up for a policy, do your research. Ask the representative what kind of discounts they offer upfront. The more specific you are, the harder it will be for them to withhold information. Here are a few questions to ask:
- What kind of discount do I get if my teenage driver has taken driver’s ed, has good grades, or is a low-mileage driver?
- Do I get a discount if I have college students on my policy?
- Can I get a discount if I take a defensive driving course?
- As a member of the military, do I get a discount?
- Is there a discount for driving a hybrid?
- My car has anti-lock brakes and an anti-theft system: do either of those qualify me for a discount?
Secret #2: Policies
Not all policies are equal. That might seem obvious, but here are a few ways to get a better deal:
- When you need to insure a new teenage driver, it is usually cheaper to add them to your policy. That isn’t always the case, however, so check with your provider before you assume anything. It might be cheaper to take out a second policy. In addition, your policy will probably be cheaper if you have your teenager driving an older, safer car—gifting them with a brand-new sports car for passing their driver’s ed course will not make your insurance company very happy.
- Having multiple cars on the same policy can come with a discount.
- Having what companies term a “safe” vehicle can also get you a discount—more expensive, newer, flashier, or sportier cars will increase the price of insurance dramatically.
Secret #3: Focus
Not all companies are equal—and not just in price or benefit options, but in who they aim to please. Some companies are simply geared toward older audiences and offer excellent rates to senior citizens or mature adults. Other companies target younger audiences and offer more discounts or benefits for teenage or young adult drivers.
When you’re looking for an insurance company, then, dig deep. Don’t just look at surface prices and find the best one that fits the needs of your car—take a look at who you’re insuring and choose a company that will accommodate your family. If your teenagers are grown and gone, find a company that will offer you senior discounts (even if you don’t need them now, you might as well establish a relationship with a company that will treat you well in the coming years). If your oldest is just starting high school, make sure your current company has a good policy when it comes to new drivers.
So whether you’re looking at Red Deer car insurance or a local branch from your hometown, make sure you do your research.
Secret #4: Fraud
It seems that no business is free of shady tricks these days, and insurance companies are not exempt. Insurance agents are just as susceptible to the lure of a little extra commission as the next guy, so be careful that you’re placing your trust in the right company and the right agent.
This isn’t to say that every agent out there is out to steal your money—far from it. But it doesn’t hurt to be on your guard. Two of the most common frauds to watch out for are:
- The agent who pockets your premium, leaving you with no coverage when you need it.
- Companies that pad your policy with extra benefits you never asked for, upping your monthly bill and their commission at the same time.
Make sure you know exactly what you’re paying and why—you don’t want to be stuck paying for coverage you don’t need or can’t afford.
Car insurance is an unfortunate necessity of life, but it doesn’t have to be a hassle. Do your research and find the right policy for you—and don’t let the tricks of the trade fool you into getting less than you deserve.
Edson Senna is a business student. He enjoys applying what he has learned by writing about investing, finance, entrepreneurship, and other business-related topics. He recommends Anthony Clark Insurance for all of your auto insurance needs.