Auto Insurance Mistakes You Never Want to Make
Have you ever made a terrible mistake due to the sheer lack of knowledge? Have you later wished someone had warned you before-hand? Well, that’s exactly what we’re doing today. In order to save you from unprecedented grief and debt, we’ve decided to explore some of the most common and costly auto insurance mistakes.
Not getting any
People pose several justifications for not doing so, ranging from “Nobody can tell me what to do!” to “I’m the safest driver in the country and will never cause an accident.” to the most frequent, “I can’t afford it.” Are these your favorite excuses for making this mistake? Well we have news for you.
- First off, the government can and will tell you what to do and it says that you have to have valid auto insurance in order to drive. Still feel rebellious? Well, go right ahead but keep in mind that you will be penalized if caught driving without car insurance. Common penalties include and are not limited to having your license and registration suspended, having your car impounded, and getting an expensive ticket. Not so tough now, are you?
- For those who think they are the safest drivers on the road, kudos to you for having such a high level of self confidence, but no matter how great you think your driving skills are, remember that anybody can get into an accident. And if you’re found at fault or the other party is also an uninsured motorist like you, you’ll have a world of financial problems to contend with, not to mention the aforementioned penalties attached to driving without insurance.
- Yes, times are hard, the economy is still in shambles, and spending your hard-earned money on insurance (which you may never need) seems like a complete waste. You genuinely may feel like you can’t afford auto insurance. But consider this: Can you afford thousands of dollars in medical bills and damages? Because that’s the risk you take every single time you drive without auto insurance.
Not getting enough
So now that we’ve convinced you to purchase car insurance, let’s take this one step further. How much is enough? The minimum amount of car insurance every driver is required to have varies from state to state. While most states require some amount of liability coverage, which covers damages caused to another person’s vehicle, property, or person, some states require that you carry PIP (Personal Injury Protection) coverage as well. While this is the minimum required to legally drive a car, it may not be enough. The minimum required auto insurance may not cover theft/vandalism of your car, collision into posts, trees, animals, etc., or damages due to rain, etc. For your insurance to really serve its purpose you should at least have collision and comprehensive coverage, in addition to the state mandated liability and PIP (if applicable). Don’t skimp on auto insurance coverage; it could set you back by thousands of dollars, and your insurance policy won’t be able to help you out.
Picking the wrong insurance provider
Let’s tackle the next hurdle: choosing the right insurance provider. Yes, we know that the internet is littered with ads for ‘CHEAP INSURANCE QUOTES’, but falling into their trap may not be the best idea. When picking an insurance company, don’t choose a company simply because it gave you the cheapest deal. An obscure, unheard-of insurance company is not likely to have the funds, means and inclination to handle a claim the way you need. Besides, a common ruse is to lure people in with cheap auto insurance premiums initially, only to raise the rates later for absolutely no reason. Opt for an established, reliable, well rated auto insurance company that offers you affordable automobile insurance quotes and thorough coverage. If you’re going to be paying premiums every month, look at car insurance companies that will handle your claims seriously, efficiently, and effectively. You’ll save money in the long run and enjoy a greater peace of mind.
Just because you have purchased full auto insurance from a great provider, doesn’t mean you can now proceed to crash into the first car that brings out your road rage, or drive while you’re inebriated (translate: drunk). Yes, you can file a claim with your company and have the damages taken care of. But that is if you have adequate coverage and if your claim is approved. Also, making a claim tends to raise your insurance premiums. Furthermore, if you cost your insurance company too much money, or exhibit behavior indicating that you will do so in the future, they will not keep you around as a client. Yes, you can look for new auto insurance providers if this happens, but good luck finding someone to represent you if your driving record is sullied with DUI’s or other major offences. Remember, a clean driving record will get you the best auto insurance rates out there.
Opting for a Deductible you can’t afford
Many people decide to reduce their insurance premiums down by opting for a higher deductible. However, please keep in mind that in the event of a claim you will actually have to pay this deductible. While you may never have to file a claim, you must prepare for the day you might. So make sure you can actually afford to pay the deductible you sign up for.
Neglecting to make payments
Set a reminder on your phone, circle the date on your calendar, keep a certain amount of money aside every month so that you don’t run out; do whatever it takes to pay your insurance premiums. Failing to make your insurance payments on time will result in termination of your policy and this will leave you completely uninsured. Any damages you or someone you crash into sustains from this point onwards are your own burden. Also, if your policy has been cancelled due to non-payment, other auto insurance companies will be wary of taking you on as a client.
Lying to/ withholding information from your agent
You may be tempted to misrepresent yourself or your vehicle to your auto insurance company in order to save a few bucks but trust us, it’s not worth it. Be honest about purchase price, condition, modifications, tickets, accidents, miles driven, and pretty much everything regarding your vehicle and its use. Anything less than full disclosure can be construed as fraud.
Not reading your policy (Yes, you need to read EVERY word)
Yes, it’s long. Yes, it’s tedious. Yes, some of the font is really tiny. But you must read EVERY word, especially the fine print. Why? So that you know exactly what to expect from your auto insurance provider and don’t get any nasty surprises later on. For example, you may think that your insurance provider will cover the costs of a rented car if you get into an accident that prevents you from driving your own vehicle. But on having this situation occur, you may find that your policy doesn’t include this service. Similarly, you may be eligible for several discounts and privileges that your auto insurance agent has conveniently neglected to mention. But if you read your policy carefully, you’ll know about your rights and privileges.
They say that knowledge is power, and we believe it’s true. Now that you’ve been informed before-hand, you can avoid these deadly mistakes, and save thousands of dollars as a result. Make the effort; don’t force us to say we told you so.
Bethany Collins is a Work at Home Mother (WAHM) who lives with her husband and two kids. She loves to read and surf the internet looking for new money saving tips, recipes, etc. In her spare time she writes on personal finance [home, life and car insurance, budgeting, and other investment options] and grows organic vegetables in her small vegetable garden.