It’s next to impossible to watch any type of TV programming without seeing a commercial advertising how you can save money on auto insurance. But should you really purchase your auto coverage based upon the cheapest price?
Before I elaborate on this, allow me to ask you a different set of questions:
- Would you hire an attorney based solely upon who has the cheapest hourly rates?
- Would you hire a financial planner or investment advisor based solely upon their fees?
If you’re like most people, you probably answered these questions with a resounding “no.” Then why should making a decision on your auto insurance policy be any different?
Your personal auto insurance policy protects your vehicles against physical loss and protects you against financial ruin stemming from liability losses. Working with an insurance agent shouldn’t be much different than working with an attorney, financial planner, or accountant – all of them should be trusted professional advisors to you and your family.
Obviously the auto insurance purchasing process involves a number of factors but coverage and claims service should carry just as much weight – if not more – than price.
Some auto insurance companies that advertise solely on price – especially those that advertise state minimum limits of insurance – will only cover drivers who are specifically named on the insurance policy. In such instances, if anyone else drives your car (even with your permission), you will have no insurance coverage in the event of an accident. Is that really worth the premium savings?
Other companies that advertise predominantly on price do not always point out the missing “bells and whistles” in their auto insurance products. One overlooked “bell and whistle” that many companies are now providing today as a value-added service is Roadside Assistance. The best insurance companies provide a full range of services, including towing, jump starts, tire changes, fluid delivery, lockout services, and winching services to help you get back on the road in the event of a roadside emergency. Try getting all of those benefits from a cut-rate auto insurer!
Finally, what type of service do you expect once you have an auto claim? The old adage “you get what you pay for” certainly applies to insurance, as many of the insurance companies that advertise solely on price have some of the worst consumer complaint ratios. On the other hand, insurance companies that utilize local independent agents and local claims adjusters tend to have a higher degree of customer satisfaction.
Since insurance isn’t a tangible object, it’s easy for people to focus on price. However, will a cheap auto insurance program provide you with peace of mind and confidence that you will be made whole after suffering a loss? Or will it leave you asking what you actually purchased once your claim isn’t fully paid or – even worse – denied?
Just as you rely on an attorney or financial planner to assist you with important life decisions, an independent insurance agent can assist you with finding the auto coverage that best fits your needs…and your pocketbook.