Consumers are not always interested in the quality of their auto insurance policy. That may sound strange, but some people carry insurance simply because most states require drivers to have auto insurance coverage and there are stiff penalties for not having it. It is not surprising then that some consumers are more interested in getting insurance coverage right away, and that having a cheap premium may be their highest concern. That kind of thinking, however, can be a terrible mistake when purchasing an auto insurance policy.
We agree that cost is an essential part of a buying decision. However, be careful! Buying a cheap auto insurance policy can result in cheap quality. You should be looking for a policy that effectively protects your vehicle and your finances from expensive hazards. If you decide to consider an auto insurance policy with East Street Insurance (and, we hope that you do!), here are the essential things our agents will discuss with you:
1. The minimum required by state law
Depending on where you live, there may be a state law in place that mandates the amount of coverage you must have. Anything less can cause trouble for you later. Once you know the amount of coverage required by law, you and the agent can design a policy that works for you.
2. The age of the vehicle(s)
An older car may not need the full protection that you would give to one fresh off the assembly line; some people feel that, after a car is over 10 years old, it might be financially advisable to switch to liability-only.
3. Your driving record and your insurance score
People make mistakes. Speeding tickets or reckless driving citations may impact the type of auto insurance you qualify for and its cost. Also, someone who has a history of accidents (even if they are just fender benders) may be considered a risk.
We are not saying that a bad driving record will prohibit you from buying auto insurance, however, you may be forced to buy a substandard auto policy that may include higher premiums. Another item that may affect your premium is your credit-based insurance score.
4. What are you covering?
Automobiles are more than just four wheels and a chassis. People will spend extra money on amenities that make driving more enjoyable. These are rarely cheap, and the cost of replacing a damaged GPS or streaming radio can be high. East Street Insurance offers several types of auto insurance coverage you may need, including:
Property Damage Liability - This type of coverage can help pay for property damage, within your policy limits, from the specific covered use of your car.
Bodily Injury Liability - Within your policy limits, this type of coverage can help pay the medical expenses of those who may have been injured due to an accident you caused.
Medical Payments Coverage – This type of coverage can help cover any medical expenses that you or a passenger incurs during a covered accident.
Collision Insurance - If your auto was damaged in an accident, this coverage can help pay for repairs or a replacement vehicle.
Other Than Collison Coverage - Loss does not always come from a collision. This coverage can help pay for damages that are not related to collision with another car, such as hail, theft or vandalism.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury – This can help cover your medical expenses if an uninsured or underinsured driver of another vehicle is legally responsible for an accident.
Uninsured Motorists Property Damage – If damage is caused by an uninsured driver, this may cover the harm done to your vehicle or personal property.
Other types of protection
The above are the primary auto insurance coverages. The insurance industry can provide other types of protection depending on what the consumer wants:
Gap Insurance - Gap insurance is a policy endorsement, or add-on, that may cover a vehicle’s negative equity in the event of an accident.
Rental Reimbursement - Provides coverage to for the cost of a rental car that may be required while the damaged vehicle is being repaired.
Roadside Assistance - East Street Insurance offers affordable roadside assistance for towing, jump starts, tire service, fuel delivery, vehicle lockout and winching.
An auto insurance policy is not something you pick off a shelf in a store. There is significant decision-making involved in finding the best policy. Low premiums are nice but should never take priority over adequate coverage.
There are all kinds of insurance protection and some are particularly important. Other coverage you may only need under unique circumstances. Anyone who is unfamiliar with auto insurance can end up with either too much coverage, not enough protection or may not include important coverage such as liability. Having a knowledgeable insurance agent helps you avoid serious problems.
The East Street Advantage
A good insurance agent is more than someone who sells policies. A truly professional insurance agent is a teacher who instructs a consumer in the workings of auto insurance. By teacher, we do not mean a lecturer. We think an insurance agent must gently guide a person through all the language and nuances of sound insurance coverage. The buyer always makes the final decision, and an informed, well-reasoned choice results from an agent’s skill at sharing information.
East Street Insurance helps folks make the right decision. Our agents are knowledgeable professionals who embrace our philosophy of putting the customer first. We want to be of service as you search for the right policy. East Street Insurance representatives are easy to contact and will make time to answer your questions. Please feel free to connect with us at your earliest convenience.