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auto insurance 101
Unlike life insurance, vehicle insurance is required in 48 of the 50 states as well as the District of Columbia.  These states all require a minimum amount of insurance including liability coverage.  If you are shopping for vehicle insurance or are considering switching to another company, there are certain things that you should know before making your decision and spending money unnecessarily.

Don’t Pay More than You Need To

You could be paying up to twice as much with one company compared to another, so you want to be sure that you compare rates for the same coverage and get several quotes to examine.  There are literally dozens of websites that will give you quotes on vehicle insurance premiums, so look at several.  After all, there is no point in paying more than what you need to or can afford.

Expert Insight

Many individuals today are always trying to save money anywhere they can and opting for a lower deductible or less liability coverage is what they will usually do.  According to the experts, you should do exactly the opposite.  You could be financially devastated if a liability claim exceeds the limits of your policy.  Conversely, there will only be a minimal financial impact if you have to reach into your finances and come up with a few hundred dollars more to pay for an accident damage claim.

Get Credentials

Never be afraid to see an insurance agent’s credentials or those of the company they are employed by.  The levels of education and experience can vary from one insurance agent to the next so it is imperative that you ask them about this.  Look from proper certification and licensing as well as these may also be required for them to practice as an agent.  You might want to ask them if they classified as a Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) or a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU).

Policy Features

Considering the fact that all vehicle insurance companies offer numerous discounts, you should take full advantage for this and try to get all the discounts you are entitled to.  If you are classified as a senior, consider enrolling in a defensive driving class if they offer a discount for this.  The same is true if you have children that have just started driving.  If they are taking, or have taken, a drivers ed. course and if they maintain a good grade point average or GPA, you will probably be entitled to additional discounts on your premium.

Additional Considerations

One of the aspects of purchasing vehicle insurance that many individuals are not aware of is how their credit history can impact the amount of their premium.  Just as a poor credit history can negatively impact the rate of interest that you pay on your credit cards and personal loans, it can impact the amount of your insurance premium in similar fashion.  You should obtain a copy of your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion to clear up any discrepancies that may exist as they are damaging to your credit history.