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Saturday, February 28, 2009

How to Insure Your Car

By Tom Martens

Everybody who drives a car has to maintain car insurance. But how can you choose the right policy at the right price?

First of all, make sure you understand what the policy does and does not cover. If the policy doesn?t provide the coverage you need, then ask your insurance provider to come up with a new policy quote. While you are required to have car insurance, you also need to make sure the insurance coverage will take care of you in case of an accident or vehicle breakdown. Get all insurance quotes in writing. Having a written record of the quote prevents the car insurance provider from trying to raise the price on the premium if you decide to purchase the insurance.

If you own a home or have life insurance, bundle your policies. That means you purchase all your insurance policies from the same provider. This can provide significant savings on all your insurance policies, and it simplifies your life because you are dealing with one insurance provider for all your needs instead of several insurance providers.

One of the major factors in computing how much you pay for auto insurance is where you live. Generally, coverage is more expensive in urban centers than in rural areas, especially if you own an expensive car. The more expensive your car, the more expensive your insurance. When buying a new car, you will also want to check your car's safety rating. Safer cars are less expensive to insure, while any kind of customization or "flash" will drive insurance costs up.

Ask your agent what kinds of discounts may be available to you. There may be breaks for members of the military, women, seniors, households with multiple drivers, and holders of bundled policies. You may get a reduction on your premium if you belong to certain clubs and organizations, like the AARP. If you have a teen driver who is a good student, ask about good student discounts. Insurers view good students as lower-risk, and charge lower premiums. Your teenager may also get you a substantial reduction in premium costs if he or she takes defensive driving or a basic driver ed course.

Finally, it's always a good idea to shop around. Get multiple quotes on your auto coverage. There's always a possibility that another company will offer you better coverage at a lower price?it happens all the time. The insurance companies make it easier to shop around that it used to be, especially if you are comfortable looking for coverage on the Internet. Do you research to find out the discount programs that may save you money, the risk assessment for your neighborhood, and the safety rating of your vehicle? Going to your insurance broker armed with information makes it much more likely you will get the lowest possible rates.

Regardless of your car insurance needs, contact a qualified insurance provider. They can examine your situation and answer whatever questions you may have before tailoring a car insurance policy that meets your needs and provides the coverage you want. Car insurance may be required, but you also want a policy that meets your driving needs.

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