Car Insurance Policies and Procedures Tips

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What is the procedure for opening an auto insurance policy?

Applying for a New Car Insurance Policy

When applying for auto insurance, remember to ask as many questions as you answer.

After you have filled out the application form completely and honestly, question the agent, broker, or insurer about the car insurance company's practices regarding surcharges and non-renewals.

You may wish to select a high deductible, which will reduce your premium costs and the number of claims that you submit. Doing research and shopping for car insurance online will help you find cheap auto insurance premiums while having all your questions answered.

   
What is the renewal process for my auto insurance policy?

Renewing Your Car Insurance Policy

To renew your auto insurance policy, you must do so while the policy is still under effect. If you delay, your car insurance policy will be deemed invalid, and your auto will be uninsured.

Driving your car at that point is considered a traffic violation. If you want to renew your policy, and the policy is invalid, you must bring your car to the car insurance office for inspection before the renewal can take place.

   
Why do some car insurance companies only write six-month policies?

Auto Insurance: Six-Month Policy Terms

Auto insurance companies incur less risk if they insure drivers every six months. After the six-month period, the car insurance company is able to re-evaluate the driver's record and either increase or decrease the existing premium to reflect the driver's probability of having an accident or moving violation.

If an auto insurance company does write a 12-month policy, the premiums will be higher, since the company is taking a greater risk of locking into a rate for the entire year.

   
What is a "no-claim bonus" and when is my auto insurance policy eligible?

Rewarding Exceptional Drivers: the Car Insurance No-Claims Bonus

If your driving record is clean -- no traffic or moving violations -- you may be eligible for a no-claims bonus on your comprehensive car insurance policy.

The discount is given as follows:
* 20 percent for the first year;
* 35 percent for the second year;
* 50 percent for the third year;
* 65 percent for the 4th year (which is the maximum rate)

If you buy a new car, you can transfer your no-claims auto insurance bonus from the current insurance policy to the new one.

   

Car Insurance Tips for Accidents

Once you buy, car insurance policy types are still important to keep in mind. Your coverages are something you need to know when you get in your car so if an accident happens, you can feel secure that you know the basics of general auto insurance policies in case of an accident.

  1. Call the Police - Having a police report can be important to determine fault, as well as proving there was an accident and what happened leading up to the accident.
  2. Do Not Apologize - Even if it is the most natural thing in the world for you to say you're sorry regardless of something being your fault or not, just don't do it. Apologizing is legally like admitting fault, and you can find yourself in a lot of trouble even if you were just saying sorry to be nice.
  3. Exchange Information - Even if the person you were in an accident with gives the best reason in the world for not exchanging information, make sure you get a copy of that insurance card. It will be on the police report, so if you have called the police it will be on the report. Sometimes the police won't come to an accident site. If that is the case write down all the information from the other person's insurance card, including effective dates and policy number as well as the insured's name and address.
  4. Call Your Insurance Company - Let your insurance agent know you've been in an accident as soon as possible. If your insurance company needs to send an adjuster out to look at your car, calling right away means you'll talk to a claims adjuster that much sooner.

   

Car Insurance Policies Explained

If you have narrowed down your choices and are looking at just a few car insurance policies before buying one, here are a few tips to help you understand the differences in some policies, even if your coverages are all the same.

  1. Is the Claims line 24-hours? Some companies are only available to submit claims during normal business hours. If you do a lot of driving in the middle of the night and feel like you need to have access to a customer service agent or a claims adjuster during the middle of the night, you will want to make sure you have access. Some companies offer this and some don't. If you only need access during normal business hours, make sure you aren't paying extra for 24-hour claims service.
  2. Customer service that serves you. If you are trying to decide between two companies, call the customer service departments or send an email with a question to customer service. See how long you are on hold or how long it takes the company to email you back. If quick contact is important to you, this can help you find the company that provides fast customer service.
  3. Online access for your car insurance policy? Ask the company you're considering going with, "How to look up my car insurance policy?" If it is an easy process, you may be able to print out duplicate ID cards and even your whole policy from the Internet. That will save you time and you can have what you need immediately instead of waiting for it to come in the mail.

   
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Susan Sayour