How do I get the best rate on insurance?


It's important to go with an agency that can quote your insurance with multiple companies. our insurance companies include: Travelers, Safeco, Republic, Progressive, Cornerstone, EMC, Dairyland, MDOW, etc. If your rate goes up with one company we can simply quote you with another.  If we only represented one company we would have no option for you when you're rate increased.

How do "points" affect insurance rates, and when do insurance companies check driving records?


Insurance companies order a copy of your driving history once you have applied for a policy, in order to confirm the information that you provided on the application. Your company may also check your driving record when your policy is scheduled for renewal.


Each insurance company has its own method of evaluating applicants, so the points on your driving record may or may not have a direct impact on the rates you pay for auto insurance. You should know that only "moving violations" will affect your insurance rates. Parking tickets and other non-moving violations are not used by insurance companies.

What information do I need to get an auto insurance quote?

Your current policy is the best starting point for information like your current coverage and vehicle information. It might also help you remember the dates of any traffic tickets or accidents.  Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) help to obtain a more accurate quote.  Most companies require your social security number, if not for the quote then for the issuance of the policy.  The more information given to the agent for a quote the more accurate the quote will be.




Why do auto insurance applications include questions asking for credit information?

A person's financial responsibility simply reflects the way they pay their bills. Studies indicate that financial responsibility is a good predictor of future insurance claims. This means that, by using financial responsibility when evaluating applications, insurance companies are able to more accurately understand the risk involved.


Can I just get an estimated rate?

That's one of the few things we don't offer. In our opinion, estimates are worth the time you put into them—spending very little time on a quote gives you very little usable information. We can make it worth your time and effort to get meaningful information back from actual insurance companies.



I'm marrying someone who has a poor driving record. Will my auto insurance premium go up?

If your fiancé has a poor driving record, you can expect it to affect your insurance premium after you get married. Your automobile insurance policy covers you, your spouse, any other named insured under the policy, and any licensed driver in your household. If any of those people have a bad driving record, it will affect your rates. But there are ways to received discounts on your policies.


If you arrange to purchase all of your insurance policies (including your homeowners policy) from one company, you may benefit from multiple car and/or multiple policy discounts. Your future spouse may be eligible to take driver safety courses to improve his or her driving record. Further, with a combined income, you might be in a position to raise your deductibles to keep your premium down.


I heard that some insurance companies cancel people's insurance if they have just one claim. Is this true?

Actually, it's very unlikely that any type of insurance would be canceled after you file a single claim. However, filing a claim could increase your premium on certain types of insurance.

For example, your auto insurance premium will almost certainly increase after an accident, especially if you're at fault. The reason for this is simple: statistical evidence indicates that people who have had accidents in the past are more likely to have accidents again in the future. This means the insurance company could see another claim from you someday, so there is a logical reason to charge you more for insurance coverage.


Homeowners insurance premiums, on the other hand, are far less likely to increase after you file a claim. Most insurance companies do not increase homeowners insurance premiums after a single claim, no matter how large, particularly if the loss is caused by a natural disaster.


If you arrange to purchase all of your insurance policies (including your homeowners policy) from one company, you may benefit from multiple car and/or multiple policy discounts. Your future spouse may be eligible to take driver safety courses to improve his or her driving record. Further, with a combined income, you might be in a position to raise your deductibles to keep your premium down.



Is a broken windshield covered under my auto policy deductible?

Broken windshields and other glass are typically covered under the comprehensive coverage of an auto insurance policy. So, if your windshield is broken but you don't have comprehensive coverage, the cost of replacing it will not be covered by your auto insurance. Most drivers purchase comprehensive coverage with a deductible, in which case you would have to contribute a certain amount out of your own funds toward the cost of replacing your windshield. For example, if you have a $250 deductible, you'll end up footing half the cost when your $500 windshield breaks.



My car was totaled in an accident. Is there anything I can do to get it back or at least get a larger settlement amount?

An auto insurance company's decision to declare a car a total loss is based on two factors:


  1. The value of the car

  2. The amount it would cost to repair the covered damage


Basically, if the cost of repairs exceeds the car's value, the insurance company will declare your car totaled and give you a cash settlement rather than pay for the repairs.

When your car is totaled, the insurance company has an obligation to make sure you are left in approximately the same financial position you were in before the accident. To accomplish this, the insurance company will typically write you a check for the actual cash value of the vehicle, minus any deductible on your policy. After the settlement is paid, the damaged car goes to a salvage yard, where it is typically auctioned to the highest bidder and used for parts. The insurance company keeps the proceeds of this sale.

I forgot to pay my auto insurance premium last month. Will my policy be canceled?

If you fail to pay your premium on time, your insurance company has the right—after providing you with the legally required notice—to cancel the policy. Some companies may send an overdue notice, asking you to pay the past-due premium plus a late fee. Other companies may send a cancellation notice, stating that if payment is received prior to the effective cancellation date, your coverage will be considered "reinstated" and will remain in-force.


If you are sent a notice of cancellation, it will inform you of the date and time the cancellation will take effect.


It may also be possible for you to reinstate coverage after the effective cancellation date by paying the overdue premium and perhaps an additional sum. However, it is likely that you will not be covered for any accidents between the effective date of cancellation and the date of reinstatement.


Many companies accept online payment and payments by phone—so, if you've missed a payment, call your company or check online as soon as you remember.


If someone borrows my car, are they covered under my auto insurance?

As a general rule, auto insurance coverage actually follows the vehicle, not the driver. So if your car is involved in an accident, the car typically receives the full coverage provided by the auto insurance policy, regardless of who is driving.


Your insurance company may require that certain conditions be met in order for other drivers to be covered under your policy. For example, anyone who drives your car must typically be a licensed driver. Additionally, most insurance companies require that anyone driving your car be doing so with your permission. This doesn't mean that you have to give explicit permission each time someone takes your car for a spin, but the person driving must have a reasonable belief that he or she is entitled to do so.


Because these conditions can vary, it is important to check your policy carefully and make sure you understand any limitations that might apply before you allow others to drive your car.



My teenager just got his license. How can I insure him without going broke?

As you have probably discovered, insuring a teenage driver can be very expensive. Drivers under the age of 25 pose the greatest risk to insurers because of their high level of at-fault accidents. The least expensive option would probably be to add your teenager to your existing auto insurance policy once he gets his permanent driver's license. Although this can still be an expensive prospect, your teen might be able to take advantage of certain discounts as a driver on your policy (e.g., Good Student, Safe Driver, and Minor Child discounts, if eligible).


If you drive an expensive vehicle, it will be even more costly to add your teen to your policy. In this case, you might want to help your son buy his own car (a safe but used economy model, of course) and insure it in his name, rather than add him to your own policy. Older vehicles generally pose less risk to insurance companies, because repairs tend to be less expensive than repairs to newer models. Lower risk for the insurer typically translates into lower insurance premiums for you.


To determine your most cost-effective option, contact your insurance company. If you're thinking about purchasing a used car for your teen, be prepared with the make, model, and year of the cars you're considering. This way, you can get accurate, comparison auto insurance quotes, to help you decide whether to purchase separate insurance for your son or add him to your policy.

I am adding my son to my auto insurance policy and he'll be taking one of my cars with him to college. What do I need to do?

If your son is borrowing your car to take it to college, he will probably be listed as the principal driver of that vehicle on your insurance policy. If he attends school out of state, your company will make sure that the coverage options match those that are required in that state. There is certainly a chance that your insurance company does not do business in another state, and in that case, you may need to purchase a policy for him on his own, while he's at school.


Insurance Essentials by Nick Gann

© Copyright 2010, The Gann Agency   |   PO Box 2577, Benton, AR 72018   |