Massachusetts, New York, and Texas have all raised insurance rates in the last few months For Texas it was the first significant rate hike in 22 years, and was brought on by an increase in liability requirements. In the other states, rate increases were brought about by legislative changes. The Boston Globe is suggesting that in such situations, careful shopping is the only way to preserve your budget.
Rate increases are not limited to those three states, of course, but even with insurance rates escalating there are ways to get cheap car insurance quotes from reliable companies, and the two best methods of shopping for auto insurance are going online, and using an agent.
While it may seem that looking for cheap auto insurance online is frustrating because of the many spam sites that seemingly exist just to host advertising, insurance shoppers can really save money by doing the digital thing. A recent British insurance survey showed that online insurance buyers saved roughly 25% more than their offline counterparts, and using the computer saves you time, both because you don't have to make endless phone calls to get your questions answered, since most reputable insurance sites have large collections of information, and because you don't have to take time to meet with a human being.
In many cases, you can spend ten minutes at your computer, find out what insurance you need, and generate a request for a free quote, all without ever having to sort through telephone voicemail menus.
Using an Agent
Whether you use an insurance agent in place of going online, or in addition to it, having a person who can help you navigate the muddy waters of liability insurance, collision and comprehensive coverage can be incredibly useful.
As with insurance websites, agents are either affiliated with one insurance company, or they are independent, and can offer you coverage from a variety of insurers. The first type of agent may know of special promotions or discounts that will save you money, while an independent insurance agent may be able to offer you coverage from smaller, but still dependable, insurers that may be unfamiliar to you.
Tips to Help You Save
Whether you ultimately choose to work with a live person from the start, or simply log on and shop without ever leaving home, there are three things that can help you save money in either situation:
1. Be honest. If you lie about your driving record or credit, it will come back to you, and you could lose your auto insurance entirely. The insurance company will check on these things, so give them all the information up front.
2. Ask about discounts. Whether your initial quote is from an online or offline source, at some point you will have to speak with a human being. When you do, ask if they've considered all the relevant discounts. These include credits for loyalty and having excellent credit, as well as discounts for bundling home and auto coverage, or taking defensive driving classes, and sometimes can even involve your job title.
3. Sign up for EFT. Making your insurance premium payments electronically, and automatically, means that the savings from not having to send out paper bills is usually passed on to you.
Insurance rates don't go up and down on a daily basis, the way gasoline prices seem to, but when they do change for the worse, careful shopping will help you survive the changes with minimal financial strain.