Auto Insurance

The Zen of Auto Insurance

If human beings were perfect, there would be no need for auto insurance. Fortunately for the insurance industry, and the many thousands who work for it in one capacity or another, we're not. Even the best driver is likely to get into the occasional minor accident, if only because you can't account for all the doofuses out there on the road. For that reason, car insurance is a multimillion-dollar industry in the United States alone, and likely provides a significant portion of our GDP. That being the case, you can be sure it's a complicated industry, and one with a variety of pitfalls that can swallow up the unprepared insurance-seeker. There are, however, a few things you can do to make this necessary part of your life a little easier to handle.

A few practical tips for better auto insurance

We won't bore you with all the standard tips, like "Clean up your driving record," or "Buy this or that kind of car." You already know all that, because those are common sense items that most of us think of first -- and they don't necessarily reflect reality. Your first real task, if you can afford it, is to hire a specialist to conduct a risk assessment of your automobiles and all the drivers in your family. This individual will point out all the factors you have to take into account, and will generally be worth every cent you spend on them.

When you do venture out to acquire auto insurance, go to an independent insurance broker, not an agent -- unless you're dead set on acquiring one specific brand of insurance. You see, a broker deals with a variety of insurance companies, while an agent specializes in one. This is fine if you know you want Allstate or State Farm, but not so hot if you're looking for an inexpensive county mutual deal (not an uncommon occurrence in a household with driving teenagers). With a broker, you can shop for the best price available.

More to the point, be sure you deal with a broker who specializes in auto insurance. Because insurance is such a large industry, you want someone who understands the mystical language of auto insurance in all its forms, from riders to coverage and exclusions. You don't want to end up with something that's more applicable to a bass boat than a car, unless of course you have one of those neat Amphicars from the 1960s. Man, were those cool or what?

Save a little money here and there

There are plenty ways to save money on your auto insurance that don't involve suddenly improving your driving record. For example, consider paying your premiums yearly or biyearly if you can, because insurance companies always charge extra for monthly payments. Good credit will always bring your auto insurance premiums down, but if that's not easily possible, try increasing your deductibles, and don't bother to file small claims (unless you can't bear to have a scratch on your powder-blue Buick). Even more to the point, drop collision coverage on your older cars. You'll have to keep liability, but if you crack up that '77 Ford Granada, wasn't it about time to get something a little newer anyway?

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