April 6, 2010

Why An Auto Insurance Quote May Not Be What You Actually Pay

The internet has made it a simple matter for drivers to find accurate auto insurance quotes, and every year thousands of drivers go online instead of calling their local insurance agents. Unfortunately, not every auto insurance quote is accurate, though, and this can come as an unwelcome surprise to many motorists. There’s sometimes a big difference between a quote and an auto insurance premium, and, more often than not, this is due to an omission on an online form that affects the cost of insurance–a driver forgets about a certain detail of his or her record, or the insurance company doesn’t ask enough questions about the driver’s habits. However, there are several other major reasons for a discrepancy between a quote and the actual premium that a driver pays.

The first is form accuracy. Most insurance providers have online forms that generate car insurance quotes, but these forms have several issues that can throw off an estimate. Online forms assume that the information that a driver inputs is true; however, many drivers don’t remember the dates of previous claims or citations, and may not even know the exact year that their car was manufactured. Relatively minor details can make a big difference in car insurance rates, so car insurance providers double-check every estimate before offering a policy to a driver. They’ll check a driver’s record, run the vehicle’s VIN number, and more. During this process, it’s not uncommon for several details to change, which, of course, affects the overall cost of car insurance coverage.

Premiums can also change if a driver waits to sign on to a new policy after receiving a quote. Insurance companies use a wide variety of statistics to decide a driver’s premiums, and they’ll look at everything from a driver’s age and gender to the incidence of car theft in that driver’s zip code. If any of these statistics change between the time that the driver applies for an auto insurance premium and the time that the driver signs a policy, premiums could potentially change. Many insurance providers will honor the first cost they’d estimated for a driver, but of course, there’s no guarantee until a policy is signed.

When you look online for an auto insurance quote, be sure to keep printouts of every quote that you receive. This can help you out if you need to negotiate before signing a policy (for instance, if the policy’s premium is much higher than the initial quote). Answer all questions honestly, and collect several quotes–you’ll stand a much better chance of locking down a low-cost, high coverage auto insurance policy. It is definitely worth your time to look to do the research to get the best rates.