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Saving money on your car insurance as easy as 1, 2 & 3.  First, you must be prepared before you start to shop for an insurance policy.  Second, you need to use an online insurance comparison shopping site and third, you need to negotiate with your agent or insurance carrier.  If you follow these 3 simple steps, it will be more likely that you will find the best coverage and insurance rate for yourself and your family.

Preparation

The more prepared you are to get a car insurance quote, the better rate you will obtain.

1. Know the amount of coverage you need.  Most states have auto insurance coverage requirements and if you have a loan on your car or truck, your lender may require a specific level of coverage as well.  Keep in mind, you will want to get the higher amount of the two requirements.  Knowing the amount will assure that your quote doesn’t over or under insure you.

2. Know the amount of “deductible” you are comfortable with.  This is the amount of money you will need to pay first, before your insurance company starts to pay for your car or truck.  If you have savings and/or a good amount of available credit on your credit cards, you may want to go with a higher deductible.  While a higher deductible will lower your premium, you should be comfortable paying the amount in the event of a claim.

3. Decide if you are going to need car rental coverage on your policy in the event your car needs to be repaired.  It can sometimes take weeks or longer to repair your car if you are in an accident.  Do you have someone you can borrow a car from?  Can you use public transportation?  Can you just pay the rental fee from savings?  You will want to know this before you obtain a quote for your car insurance.

4. Decide if you want windshield replacement coverage.  If you do a good deal of highway driving or rural driving, you may want to consider this add-on coverage.  It only takes a second for a pebble to ding your windshield and cause a crack.  It can happen anytime and anywhere, but if you do a good deal of rural or highway driving, the likelihood of it happening is greater.

5. Decide if you are willing to bundle your insurance.  This can come in several different forms.  You can often get a better rate if you bundle several cars, motorcycles and/or trucks on the same policy or you can bundle your renter or home insurance with your car or truck.  This will save you money on your insurance compared to having individual policies for all your vehicles and where you live.

6. Have your vehicle VIN number and driver’s license number available, plus that information for any additional drivers and vehicles you want quoted.  To get the best possible quote, you will need to have this information available when you request a car insurance quote.  This will allow the agent to pull your vehicle history and driving record.  It is impossible to hide your vehicle or driver history, so it is recommended that you are upfront with this information.

7. Know the value of your car or truck.  You will want to make sure that you have an adequate amount of coverage for your vehicle should you get into an accident and experience a total loss.  Websites like KBB.com and others can help you with determining the value of your car.  This will also help you to decide if you should purchase liability only insurance.

8. Know the expiration date of your current policy.  Insurance agents and carriers will be more excited about working with you if they know your policy expires in the next few days or weeks. They will know that you are ‘ready to buy’.  You should also know this date because you want to avoid any period of time when you are not covered.  A gap in coverage will raise your rates, is against the law, in most states  and will put you at risk.

9. Know how you are going to pay.  Have your credit card and/or debit card number available and if possible, be prepared to pay for the entire policy period at once.  Many insurance carriers offer discounts when you can pay for the policy up front.  Having your form of payment ready will also lock in the quote you receive, as rates can change from day-to-day.
10. If you have a lender, know where to send proof of insurance.  This is a very important step that many car owners forget.  If your lender believes your vehicle is not insured or underinsured, they may purchase insurance on your behalf and make you pay for it.  Your insurance carrier or agent can make sure this proof is sent for you or you can send in yourself.

Process

The car insurance quoting process you utilize should provide you with a minimum of two or three quotes for the identical auto insurance coverage.

1. Use an online insurance comparison shopping site from your home computer or mobile phone.  Two excellent sites are SmartFinancial.com and UnitedStatesInsurance.com.  These sites will do the hard work for you.  All you do is answer a few simple questions and the site will connect you with companies that can provide you with the best rates.  You can compare rates on your own, but it takes considerable time and effort to contact 3 or more companies.

2. Get your auto insurance quote or estimate in writing.  Always get an insurance quote in writing, so that you can review coverages and terms and conditions.  If an agent is unwilling to give you a quote in writing, it is probably not the right agent for you to work with.

Negotiate

It is important to negotiate or work with the agent or insurance company to determine the options available to reduce your rate even further.

1. Don’t accept the first offer that you receive from any insurance agent.  Ask about discounts, affinity programs, good driver discounts and more.  What you don’t want to do is lower the coverage levels or deductibles that you determined were right for you.  If you determine that you do need to change your coverage or deductibles, you should go back to step one and prepare yourself to start over.