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HomeCar Insurance ResourcesWhat Should I Look For When Buying Car Insurance

When buying car insurance, it’s important to look for the following:

  1. Coverage: Check what the policy covers, including liability, collision, comprehensive, and personal injury protection. Make sure the coverage meets your needs and state requirements.
  2. Deductibles: Determine the amount you’ll have to pay out of pocket before insurance kicks in. Lower deductibles can mean higher premiums and vice versa.
  3. Premiums: Compare quotes from different insurers to find a policy that fits your budget. Don’t forget to factor in any discounts you may be eligible for, such as safe driver discounts or multi-car discounts.
  4. Customer service: Research the insurer’s customer service reputation, including their responsiveness to claims and complaints.
  5. Financial strength: Look for an insurance company with a strong financial rating to ensure they can pay out claims.
  6. Discounts: Check for any available discounts you may be eligible for, such as safe driver discounts, good student discounts, and multi-car discounts.
  7. Reviews: Look for online reviews from other customers to get a sense of their experience with the insurance company.
  1. Province requirements: Be aware of the minimum coverage requirements in your province. You may need to purchase additional coverage if you have a loan on your car.
  2. Claims process: Understand how the claims process works and how long it takes to get your car repaired or replaced.
  3. Exclusions: Review the policy’s exclusions carefully to understand what is not covered, such as intentional damage or racing.
  4. Add-ons: Consider additional coverage options, such as roadside assistance, rental car coverage, or gap insurance.
  5. Car type: Some insurers charge higher premiums for certain types of cars, such as sports cars or luxury vehicles. Consider the cost of insurance when shopping for a car.
  6. Driving habits: Be honest about your driving habits, including how much you drive, where you drive, and any accidents or tickets you have had in the past. This can impact your premium.
  7. Insurance company reputation: Research the insurer’s reputation for handling claims and customer service. Look for complaints and reviews online, and check the insurer’s financial stability rating.
  8. Your own needs: Consider your own needs, such as the level of risk you are comfortable with, your budget, and your overall financial situation. Don’t skimp on coverage if you need it, but also don’t overpay for coverage you don’t need.
  9. Renewal process: Understand how the renewal process works and whether your rates are likely to go up at renewal. Make sure you review your policy regularly to ensure you have the coverage you need.
  10. Discounts: Check with the insurance company about the discounts they offer, such as bundling policies, paying in full, or installing a tracking device in your car.
  11. Communication: Make sure the insurance company is easy to communicate with and has multiple ways to contact them, such as phone, email, or online chat.
  12. Claims satisfaction: Look for an insurance company with a high level of claims satisfaction among their customers. This will ensure that if you need to make a claim, the process will be smooth and hassle-free.
  13. Expertise: Choose an insurer with expertise in your specific situation, such as insuring teen drivers or drivers with a history of accidents. This can ensure you get the coverage you need at a reasonable price.
  14. Transparency: Make sure the insurance company is transparent about their pricing and coverage options. Ask for a detailed breakdown of your premium to ensure you understand what you’re paying for.
  15. Claims handling: Check how the insurance company handles claims and whether they have a dedicated claims team available 24/7.
  16. Agent support: Consider whether you prefer to work with an independent agent or a direct insurance company. Independent agents can provide more personalized support, while direct insurance companies often have lower premiums.
  17. Reputation: Research the insurance company’s reputation in your local community. Ask friends and family for recommendations and read online reviews.
  18. Financial stability: Check the insurance company’s financial stability to ensure they have the resources to pay out claims. Look for ratings from third-party organizations like A.M. Best or Standard & Poor’s.
  19. Policy documents: Make sure you read and understand the policy documents before signing. Ask the insurance company to explain any terms or conditions you’re unsure about.
  20. Flexibility: Choose an insurance company that allows you to customize your coverage to meet your unique needs. This can include adding or removing coverage options or adjusting your deductible.
  21. Accessibility: Choose an insurance company that is accessible to you, whether that means a local office or an online platform that allows you to manage your policy online.
  22. Discounts for safety features: Check if the insurance company offers discounts for safety features such as anti-lock brakes, airbags, and alarm systems.
  23. Payment options: Ask about the payment options available, including automatic payments, online payments, and payment plans.
  24. Usage-based insurance: Consider usage-based insurance programs that monitor your driving habits and offer discounts for safe driving.
  25. Rental car coverage: If you frequently rent cars, consider adding rental car coverage to your policy to avoid having to purchase expensive insurance from the rental company.
  26. Liability limits: Consider increasing your liability limits beyond the state minimum to protect yourself financially in the event of a serious accident.
  27. Multiple drivers: If multiple people will be driving your car, make sure they are covered under the policy or consider adding them as named drivers.
  28. Online tools: Look for an insurance company that offers online tools to help you manage your policy, file claims, and track your payments.
  29. Coverage limits: Make sure you understand the coverage limits for each type of coverage and choose limits that provide adequate protection for your assets.
  30. Renewal process: Understand the renewal process and whether your rates are likely to increase at renewal. It’s important to review your policy annually to ensure you have the coverage you need at a price you can afford.
  31. Personalized service: Choose an insurance company that provides personalized service and is available to answer your questions and concerns.
  32. Discounts for good driving: Check if the insurance company offers discounts for good driving habits, such as maintaining a clean driving record or taking a defensive driving course.
  33. Bundle policies: Consider bundling your car insurance policy with other insurance policies, such as homeowners or renters insurance, to save money on premiums.
  34. Accessibility of repairs: Check whether the insurance company has preferred repair shops or if you have the flexibility to choose your own repair shop.
  35. Reputable repair shops: Make sure the repair shops recommended by the insurance company are reputable and provide quality service.
  1. Reputation for claims handling: Check the insurance company’s reputation for claims handling. Look for an insurer that is known for paying out claims fairly and efficiently.
  2. Claims process transparency: Look for an insurance company that is transparent about their claims process. Make sure you understand the steps involved in filing a claim and the timeline for getting your car repaired or replaced.
  3. International coverage: If you plan to travel abroad with your car, make sure your policy provides international coverage or consider purchasing additional coverage.
  4. Customizable deductibles: Choose an insurance company that offers customizable deductibles so you can adjust your deductible to fit your budget.
  5. Discounts for loyalty: Check if the insurance company offers discounts for loyalty, such as staying with the same company for multiple years.
  6. Insurance agent support: If you prefer to work with an insurance agent, look for an agent who is knowledgeable, responsive, and willing to answer your questions.
  7. Online reviews: Read online reviews from other customers to get a sense of their experience with the insurance company. Look for reviews that discuss customer service, claims handling, and overall satisfaction.
  8. Special needs coverage: If you have special needs, such as a modified vehicle or a driver with a disability, look for an insurance company that provides specialized coverage options.

By considering these factors and shopping around for the best coverage and price, you can find an insurance policy that meets your needs and fits your budget.

About the Author: Valerie D. Hahn

Valerie is an insurance editor, journalist, and business professional at RateLab. She has more than 15 years of experience in personal financial products. She strives to educate readers and ensure that they are properly protected.

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