As inevitable as the sunset but a lot less welcome, auto insurance bills keep coming in. As you review your coverage for the coming year, you're probably considering buying cheaper insurance. But this can come back to bite you if the insurance company isn't reputable, offers poor service, or refuses to honor your claims, says Jeanne Salvatore of the Insurance Information Institute. Although auto insurance is an expense that has no ROI unless you're in an accident, taking a chance with insurance could cost you if you have to make a claim.
And while you're at it, do you need that commercial van, or would a smaller vehicle do? The bigger the vehicle, the higher the annual insurance bill.
Following are a few things to think about before your next renewal:
1. Put your car in your company's name to benefit from a business insurance rate, usually lower than a personal policy.
2. Shop around to compare prices.
3. Check out your insurance company's ranking. Some state departments of insurance offer this service.
4. Before you buy a car, know its insurance costs. Sports cars, SUVs and imports carry the highest rates.
5. Take advantage of opportunities for discounts: a good driving record, safety equipment, antitheft devices, more than one car under the same policy, low annual mileage, and combined commercial auto and business policies.
6. If your car is worth under $1,000, forget theft insurance. If your car is more than five years old, drop collision and comprehensive coverage.
Jill Amadio has reported on the automotive industry for 23 years as an editor and consultant.
- Insurance Information Institute, (800) 942-4242, www.iii.org
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