UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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There are some things that auto insurance companies would rather their policyholders not know about. These “secrets” can not only help you save money, they can protect you from being taken advantage of by your insurer. A major part about being a smart consumer is to educate yourself on the product you are buying so that you make the right decisions. Continue reading below to learn about some auto insurance secrets that insurance companies know about, but the average consumer does not.
You May Be Paying More to Insure Your Vehicle
Not all cars will get the same coverage, for the same price. Not only is the cost of your car factored into your premium, but the make, model, safety features, and size of your vehicle are also considered. A fast and small roadster is going to cost you a fortune when compared to a sedan with all the safety features. The color of your car however, is not taken into consideration, contrary to common belief.
Your Assets in the Car are Not Protected
If you have your laptop, iPhone, or any other item of value in the car with you during the time of an accident, and these items are damaged, chances are they aren’t covered by your auto insurance. There are special coverage types you can opt in to to get these things protected.
You Must Cancel Your Former Policy When Changing Auto Insurance Companies
When you sign up for a new policy, you are responsible for canceling your old policy. You can usually call in advance to have your coverage discontinued on a set date. If you don’t do so, you may end up having to pay 2 premiums at the end of the month.
Good Credit Goes a Long Way
Almost all auto insurance companies will pull your credit report when calculating your premiums. This is because your credit score is an easy way of determining your likelihood of filing a claim. Your credit score also says a lot about your ability to pay, and be a long term customer. This is one of the many factors that are used to calculate your insurance risk score. Your insurance risk score is not available to you.
Paying in Advance Can Save You Money
You can pay for your auto insurance in a variety of ways. You can pay in monthly installments, semi-annually, or annually. The more you pay in advance, the more you can save. Each payment will cost you an administrative fee. If break up your payments into installments, these fees can add up. Try to pay your insurance in one-lump-sum to avoid these administrative costs.
You’re Responsible For Your Friends Too
Just because you weren’t driving at the time doesn’t mean you won’t have to file a claim and pay up. If you lend your car to a friend, and they get in an accident, you will have to file the claim with YOUR insurance company, not theirs. Either make sure your friends are insured through your existing policy, or tell them to get coverage of their own before you even think about giving them keys to your car.
Your Insurance Policy Assumes Everyone in your House is Driving your Vehicle
When you buy a car insurance policy, that policy will cover more than just you, the primary driver. Your car insurance policy covers everyone in your household – like roommates or family members who might drive your vehicle with your permission. Your car insurance company will analyze the risk of other drivers in your household when setting up your policy. If one member in your household has a DUI or an at-fault collision on his or her record, then you might pay significantly higher insurance rates. In this case, you can exclude a certain driver from your policy. You pay cheaper car insurance rates and that driver can’t drive your vehicle.
You Can Switch Car Insurance Companies At Any Time
Many drivers are unaware they’re free to switch car insurance policies at any time. In fact, you can even cancel your auto insurance mid-policy and get a refund on the remaining months (in some cases). You may have to pay additional financing costs (if you’re paying for car insurance monthly). However, you’re free to switch to a new provider at any time. As long as you don’t let your car insurance lapse when switching policies, it’s a good idea to periodically shop for new car insurance and switch providers.
You Don’t Always Need to Add a Teen Driver to your Car Insurance Policy
Adding a teen driver to your car insurance policy can be extremely expensive. However, it doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, in many states, you don’t need to add a teen driver to your insurance policy at all. If your teenage child is living at home and has a learner’s permit (not a full license), then he or she can drive your vehicle without making any modifications to your car insurance. You still have to abide by the rules of your learner’s permit (like having an adult in the vehicle at all times), but you don’t have to pay exorbitant teenage car insurance costs.
You Can Keep the Car Insurance Payout In Many Cases (You Don’t Have to Use it for Repairs)
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, then you might receive a payout from your insurance company. However, if the check is in your name, and you fully own your vehicle, then you’re not actually required to use that money on car repairs or replacements. You’re free to pocket the cash if you like. The only time you’re not permitted to do this is when you don’t own your vehicle outright (say, if you’re making car payments or leasing the vehicle) or if the insurance company’s check is made out to a car repair shop or the leasing company.
More Auto Insurance Secrets
To learn even more about auto insurance, scroll around our site. We have a plethora of information in our Blog, Learning Center, and Glossary that can keep you occupied for hours and will make you an auto insurance expert in no time!