Decide Which Coverages You Need
Auto insurance needs are
unique to a person's life situation and may change over time. One of
the best things to do before comparison shopping is to brush up on the
coverages found in auto insurance policies. To review some of the
basics, check out the National Association of Insurance Commissioners
(NAIC) consumer education website InsureUonline.org
. If you
plan to use current coverages as a guide, learn more about your
declarations/ information page here
A few coverage options that
should match up quote to quote:
- Liability Limits - Liability covers
the other driver in an accident, so your needs are based on the assets
you have to protect. Evaluate your situation and choose a limit
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP) -
PIP pays medical expenses, rehabilitation expenses and lost wages for
you or your family following an accident.
- Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured
Motorist (UM/UIM) - This coverage pays if you or family members
are injured or your car is damaged by another driver up to the limit on
your policy. Most companies will not allow UM/UIM limits higher than
- Deductibles - Comprehensive and
Collision coverages pay for damages caused in a covered accident. Both
coverages may not be required, but adding either requires the selection
of a deductible. This is the amount you have to pay if the covered car
is damaged in an accident, so evaluate how much you can afford to pay
in the future. Generally, the higher the deductible, the lower the
policy premium. Find out more about the difference between
comprehensive and collision for your life stage at Insure U.
- Optional Coverages - These can be
anything from rental car coverage to towing services. Check for any
deductibles (or co-payments) that may be apply. AAA or other auto club
memberships may already include some of these coverages.
To get a rate you will need
specific information to fill out the forms. Be prepared to share
- Your current auto
- The driver's license of
- The car's registration
You Start Answering Questions
are a variety of sites that offer auto insurance quotes. Some rate for
a specific company while others let you fill out one form and get
quotes from several companies.
A few things to know about
getting information online:
- Because of coverage requirements,
it is not easy to get online quotes in all states.
- Some websites will send the
information to an agent in your area to quote and write the policy.
- Not all websites provide immediate
quotes. In some cases a company representative will call to confirm the
information before providing a rate. In this case, ask to have the
information emailed for your records.
- If all the quotes do not have
matching coverages/limits, contact the companies and ask for a revised
estimate using matching coverages/limits.
- Some websites are authorized to
make coverage available immediately, while others cannot, even if you
have made a premium payment.
- Once you have made a payment for
the policy, you should have access to a temporary identification card
to keep in your car. Permanent cards and a copy of the policy should
come in the mail within 60 days. Some insurers will issue the policy
electronically if you mutually agree to communicate this way.
the Quote Request
disclosure is required, as the relationship between you and your
insurer is one of mutual trust. Here are a few things that require
- Drivers/Operators - Include all
drivers in the quote. If you fail to include household drivers and they
are behind the wheel in an accident, the company could cancel or
non-renew the coverage going forward or charge additional premiums.
- Driving Record - Generally,
insurance companies ask for three years of driving history and will use
a Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) to check the driving records of all named
drivers. It may also use a Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange
(C.L.U.E.), Colossus, or similar report to check claims histories. Some
companies rate your premium by measuring at-fault accidents and traffic
violations (often called risk classification factors). Further, MVRs do
not always reflect fault. Check all quotes for discounts or surcharges
based on driving history and risk classification factors.
- Credit Rating - In most states it
is legal for insurers to use credit-based insurance scores as a risk
classification factor in pricing a policy. Review your credit reports
(you have three) for errors before getting a quote.
lowest quote may not always be the best choice, so before making a
payment, do some homework.
by talking with friends and family about their auto insurance
experience. If they are insured by one of the companies you are
considering, ask about their best and worst experiences.
that the company and agent (if you are dealing with one) are licensed
in Arkansas online by clicking here,
or you can call our Consumer
Services Division at (800) 852-5494 or (501) 371-2640). You should
also inquire about complaints made against the company. The company's
complaint ratio will show how the company stacks up against other auto
insurers in your state.
have questions or are confused about your insurance
contact the Arkansas Insurance Department Consumer
at (800) 852-5494 or (501) 371-2640.
smart about your insurance needs! More information about
auto, home, life and health insurance options — as well as tips
for choosing the coverage that is right for you and your family —
is located on the NAIC Web site, www.InsureUonline.org.