As the year comes to a close, it’s the perfect time to review your auto insurance policy. Too many people stick with their same insurer for years just because it’s easy and because the insurer met their needs at one point during their car ownership. But your insurance necessities change all the time, and you run the risk of being underinsured or paying too much if you aren’t vigilant about an annual review of your auto insurance.
So make a New Year’s resolution to make sure you’re getting the best coverage at the most reasonable price for your car insurance.
Check out our annual review checklist to make sure you find the right insurer for your current auto insurance needs.
1. Have you purchased or sold a car since your last insurance assessment?
You want to ensure that all cars are listed on your car insurance, otherwise they might not be included in coverage. You and your immediate family can usually bundle your cars’ coverage for a discount. Also, if you have purchased a safer or low-risk car, you may be able to get a safety discount on your premium.
2. Have any of your children reached driving age?
You want to make sure all of the drivers are listed on your insurance, especially teen drivers. Although teen drivers raise your rates, you can sometimes ask about other good-student or safety discounts. If someone gets into an accident in your car and they are not listed on your insurance, your insurer will likely not cover any of the claim. Make sure all drivers—even if they only take the car once in awhile—are listed on your insurance.
3. Are you noticing unexpected price increases with your premium?
Some insurers will slowly and slyly raise auto premiums based on “changing risk factors.” Take a look at all of your policies from years past. Is there a steady incline that you can’t seem to explain? Talk to your insurance agent to understand where these might be coming from so you can get discounts where possible or compare quotes from other insurers to see if that will lower your rates.
4. Have you moved to a new area with different weather concerns, like flooding or hurricane?
This could impact the amount and cost of your comprehensive auto insurance. If you are facing new weather risks, you may need to increase your comprehensive coverage. See some of the more common comprehensive coverage claims here.
5. Have you moved to a different part of town?
If you’ve moved to a safer area of town, your insurer might consider you at less risk for vandalism and theft, which could make your comprehensive rates go down. You’d want to talk to your insurance agency about your new address and decreased risks.
6. Have you changed where you park your car?
Parking your car in a garage versus on the street may allow you to lower your insurance rates. You’ll want to talk to your insurance company about how parking impacts your risks and rates. Neglecting to share new info with your insurer could lead to penalties and denied claims, so make sure to update your info as soon as possible.
7. Are you bundling?
If you have the same insurance agency for multiple policies (like home and auto) or you’re considering using one insurer, you can usually bundle your policies to save on your premiums. Discover the benefits of bundling here.
8. Are you interested in changing your deductible?
If you raise your deductible, your insurance premiums will usually lower. However, you want to make sure you would be able to pay that deductible out of pocket in the case of an incident. If your financial situation has strengthened, raising your deductible might make more sense because you could pay it in the case of an incident, but you’ll pay less in monthly premiums. But if your finances have dipped, you might want to keep a lower deductible. Learn how to choose the right auto deductible here.
9. Do you have all of the legally required coverages and minimums?
Most states require auto bodily injury liability and property damage liability. This protects you in the case you are found at-fault for someone else’s medical or property damages. Most states also require uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Different states require different legal minimums, so make sure you’re fully aware of what the numbers mean in your state. Also keep in mind that the legal minimum requirement is the minimum and may not be enough coverage for your car’s needs.
10. Are you interested in optional auto coverage?
Having the bare minimum auto insurance usually isn’t a good idea. Take a look at your policy to see what is and isn’t covered and how that could impact your life. Consider optional auto insurance coverage plans for greater protection of your car.
11. Do you have no fault coverage?
If you suffer from injuries that another driver caused, your health insurance may help cover it, but it may not always be enough. You might want to consider adding Personal Injury Protection (PIP) to further protect you in case you had to pay for medical expenses.
12. Have you added safety features to your car or taken a defensive driving course?
You may be able to get a “safe driving” discount with your insurer.
13. What does your claims history look like?
Make sure your previous auto claims are accurate so your insurance premiums aren’t incorrectly impacted.
14. Do you know what the claims process looks like, especially with regards to property damage of your own car?
How quickly is the turnaround for a claim with your insurer? Take a look at your policy to see what this process looks like. Consider the following questions:
How quickly will an appraiser come out to look at the damage of my car?
- Can I select the shop where my car is repaired? Will they cover repairs at my dealership?
- Does the policy recover repairs made with original equipment manufacturer’s parts?
- Does the policy include rental car coverage while my car is in the shop? Does the rental car coverage come out of my liability limits or is it separate?
15. Do you have or need an umbrella policy to strengthen your liability coverage?
Learn more about the use of umbrella coverage here.
16. Do you have enough coverage?
Ultimately, you want to take a look at your limits to ensure that you are fully covered in the case of a total loss of your car.