Nearly every state in the Union requires that motorists carry minimum levels of auto insurance coverage (or the equivalent in financial responsibility waivers) in order to ensure that its drivers can cover the cost of damages to people or property in the event of an automobile accident.
Safeguarding your financial security is only one of the reasons it makes sense to purchase car insurance. And the more you know about auto insurance, the smarter the choices you'll make when it comes time to renew or buy that new policy. Spend a little time learning about car insurance; while you may never need to file a claim, if you do, you'll be very glad you did.
Getting cheap car insurance rates is easier than you think. You will increase your chances of finding low premiums if you know what discounts you can qualify and how. An agent or online quote form will ask all the relevant questions to ensure you get the correct price for the coverage you requested. So, knowing these questions and why they are asked will help you understand policies and prices better.
Below, we will discuss the questions asked when getting quotations and why. Your answers on quote forms form the basis of your coverage if you accept it. Correct and detailed information will allow insurers to offer you accurate and the best price. Most of the questions will be necessary to find out about you, your driving records, car and coverage requirements. You should fill the forms to the best of your knowledge.
A) Questions about Drivers to Be Insured : Personal details, experience, driving and credit history of the vehicle owner and listed drivers are the key to possible savings or rate hikes. These particulars determine if you are going to be categorized as good or bad risk and get charged high or low accordingly.
Your Age, Gender and Driving Experience
Personal information helps as driving behavior is affected by age, gender and years of driving. Your driving experience and number of recent claims will be the main factors in premium calculations. But other factors play a role as well. For example female drivers may get lower rates as they are considered lower risk.
Credit History of Policyholders
These days your credit score is very important in many aspects. It will affect mortgage, credit and tenancy applications as well as premiums charged. Good credit history can mean higher discounts and you will miss out if you don’t look after your finances. You will need to know if your credit score is good, fair or poor.
Almost every car insurer will want to know about everyone in driving age and living in your household regardless of them driving the cars insured or actually included in the policy. They and any listed drivers will affect your premiums. For example, existence of a teenage driver on your policy can affect your rates a lot.
If you live with a high risk driver your rates are likely to increase. Sometimes, this increase can be substantial that you consider driver exclusion on your policy. This may be allowed depending on your state and insurer. They may need to have their own cars and insurance policies before companies will consider your request.
It is important that specifically excluded drivers must not drive the insured vehicle. They will not be covered under any circumstance and the damages they cause will not be paid. As the owner of the vehicle you may personally be responsible for damages and injuries they cause as well.
You should indicate if you own your home or it is owned by your spouse. Most auto insurance companies offer discounts to homeowners. You can save further if you combine your home and auto insurance.
Furthermore, you may need larger liabilities coverage if you have assets like home to protect them against liability claims. Third parties can sue you for damages and injuries suffered if your cover is exhausted. So, you may consider a separate Personal Umbrella Liabilities Insurance Coverage as well.
Being married or single is important information as many vehicle insurance companies offer special rates for married motorists. Statistically, married people are less likely to get into accidents in comparison to single drivers. In addition, there are possible savings you can qualify like multi-car discounts or multi-policy discounts. You can possibly save more with multi-car discounts but if you prefer you can have two separate policies and still save as long as both policies come from the same insurer.
However, your rates may be affected negatively if your spouse (or domestic partner) has a terrible driving record. In that case, you may be able to exclude your spouse from your policy depending on your state and/or insurer . This could save you money. Read above for exclusions.
Members of certain professions can save on auto insurance depending on the state and insurer. That is why this information is needed and can help you.
Your Social Security Number
SSN will be required to get accurate car insurance rates. Social security number is needed by auto insurers when checking details like credit score and accident history. Usually, your information would be keep secure. Some companies may offer rough quotes without SSN number but need it to finalise the deal.
B) Questions about Cars to Be Insured : Certain automobiles are considered higher risk due to speed capabilities, theft records and safety features as compared to others. It is best to check the premium costs before you go ahead and invest large sums on a new auto. Every auto has its insurance ratings that can be checked through the manufacturer or online. Getting quotes would allow you to find out how well-liked it is by insurers too.
The Main Use of the Vehicle
Your premium and type of policy would depend on how you use your vehicle every day. Most automobiles are used for “Pleasure and Commuting to Work/School”. When you use a car for commute the risks are higher. You probably will need to travel during rush hours and be doing the same return journey at least 5 times a week. If this is how you use your vehicle then, this is the option you will choose.
If you are not regularly driving your auto to work you are likely to have a light use. Then you may want to get a “Pleasure Only” car insurance. Make sure that this use includes limited commute to work before you buy the policy unless you have no intention of driving to work (or you work from home). Many people don’t regularly drive to work but there may be occasions that you will have to; like a strike on the subway or trains. Pleasure Only use may be selected by people who are working from home or stay at home parents. This option may work out cheaper, but find out about the limitations of this use.
The final option you can select is Commercial Use. You may be directed to a different form or different company if they don’t do commercial vehicle insurance. This option is for vehicles used mainly for carrying goods, passengers and running business errands. It is different than commuting to work.
Many people use their personal automobiles for business occasionally. For example, you may need to drop to one of your clients on the way home. There are many companies that will include this light commercial use within your personal automobile insurance for a small additional premium. Talk to your carrier about it. Your policy may already have limited business use depending on your state insurance rules.
This information tells the companies how much you drive every year. The longer you stay on the road the higher the risks of accidents and other damages. Generally, your annual mileage will affect the premium you have to pay. You will be required to provide mileage figure for premium calculation in most cases. You can find odometer readings on vehicle service records. If your mileage is likely to change due to retirement or moving closer to work you should discuss this with your agent to see if there would be savings.
Auto Ownership Details
Ownership details will tell if you have insurable interest on the vehicle. Many states will require ownership to be able to insure a vehicle. In addition, if you lease or have a loan on the vehicle you may be required to insure it for Comprehensive, Collision and Gap Insurance.
Does Your Automobile Have a Salvage Title?
Not many companies insure cars with salvage title. Some companies kindly ask this question at the start to tell you that they don’t do salvaged vehicles. It is a bit more intricate to insure cars that were declared total loss once because of an accident, flood or other natural disaster.
Questions about Anti-theft Devices
These devices make it harder for thieves to steal your car and also some of them make it easier to find a stolen vehicle. Therefore many companies would offer discounts on your Comprehensive Coverage. Depending on your state, following devices would qualify you for this discount; manufacturer installed alarms, Glass VIN etching, keyless entry devices, motion detectors, fuel cut-off switches, Ignition cut-off switches, Door sensors, immobilizers and tracking systems. You will probably be asked about these details. Many quote forms detect and automatically fill factory installed security devices.
Multi-car insurance policies can insure up to 5 cars on the same policy. In most states and through most insurers you will be able to find such policies and possibly save handsomely on the overall premium costs. If this is the type of policy you like you will need to fill in details of all your cars in the same way above. Remember that you can select different level of coverage for each automobile if you prefer.
C) Questions about Past and Current Auto Insurance Coverage : Policy lapses are frown upon by most carriers and they want to make sure you have been insured all along. Also, they want to find out about your current arrangements to see what they are up against.
Current Car Insurance Coverage
In most cases, motorists use their current automobile insurance policies as a benchmark when they are seeking alternative quotations. You may like to have your current policy handy when you are filling quote forms as they would include valuable information about your covers and claims.
Maintaining continues coverage is a good indicator that could save you money. Otherwise, you may be placed in a higher risk group if you allowed your policy to lapse especially in the last 12 months.
Companies look at your claim record with the previous insurers. They would ask you about your claims and some may require proof. Also, they check your CLUE report to find out if you have ever involved in an accident. Drivers with no recent claim can have up to 30% automobile insurance discounts. You can get the maximum amount if you have not had any claim in the last 3 or 5 years depending on the provider.
Current Policy Renewal Date
Everyone likes to know this date so that they know which date to aim and if you accept the quote when you should be placed on cover. They wouldn’t want you to have a gap in your coverage as this can have serious consequences in case of accidents. And a lapse can mean increase in your future premiums that you would want to make sure your new policy starts as soon as the old one ends.
Getting Several Auto Insurance Quotes
Most quote forms will be similar to each other. There could be additional information or fewer details required. Some companies may offer express quote facilities as well that would give you a rough idea as to how much they would charge you. However, quotations given without a proper check may be subject to change following discovery of new information or discrepancies on the details provided.
Most of the above information would be required if you want to get an accurate premium quote. Brokers would require these details as well to be able to shop on your behalf. Remember that alternative car insurance quotes are essential part of finding the best deal policy. Finding and comparing your alternatives will help you in making a good policy and carrier selection as well as saving you money.