Common Car Insurance Questions

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What information should I give my agent or company? Most likely your agent will want to know the make and model of the cars you own. They will want to know around how many miles you drive each year and the type of liability coverage you desire. The agent may also ask how many people drive the cars, their ages, where you live, and the driving records of each household member. Have your VIN, or Vehicle Identification Number handy. The agent will want to know whether your car has passive restraint systems or air bags, anti-lock breaks or anti-theft devices. Before making your purchase mention of you or other drivers in your household have completed safe-driving courses, is you have another insurance policy with the company for home or life insurance, and if student drivers in your home are getting good grades. You may qualify for discount on your car policy. Once the information is assembled, the agent will give you a quote on your premium. The amount will depend on the above factors and the deductibles you choose.

What can I do if I cannot find coverage? Chances are, if you are unable to find coverage you have a poor driving record, you own a special, high performance car, you have not driven long enough, you have not owned your car very long and therefore have no insurance record, or you live in an area where theft and vandalism losses are high. In such cases you can either join a state assigned risk pool or get a policy from a private insurance company that specializes in “high-risk” drivers.

How do I insure my teenage driver? Immediately notify your insurance agent when your teenager begins to drive. Your policy can go up fifty to one hundred percent if you put your son or daughter on your policy. Insurance companies charge more because inexperienced drivers tend to get in more accidents. You may want to consider raising liability limits or buy an umbrella liability policy for extra protection.

How do I minimize the increased cost? Insure your son or daughter on your own policy. Let your insurer know if your teenager is going away to school. Shop around. Let the insurer know if your teenager is getting at least a “B” average in school. Pick a safe car.

How do I file a claim? Immediately call your insurance agent regardless of who is at fault. Find out if you are covered for this loss. Inform your insurance company no matter how minor the accident appears. Find out what documents or forms are needed to support your claim. You may need a copy of the policy report (if there is one) and a “proof of claim”. Many companies allow you to monitor progress of your claim on their web site. Provide your insurer with requested information. Carefully fill out the claim form. Have detailed records, names and phone numbers of everyone you speak to, and copies of any bills related to the accident. Ask your insurance company or agent the following questions.

Does my policy contain a time limit for filing claims and submitting bills? Is there a time limit for resolving claims disputes? If I need to submit additional information, is there a time limit? When can I expect the insurance company to contact me? Do I need to get repair estimates for the damage to my car? Will my policy pay for a rental car while my car is being repaired? If so, how much?

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