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How to Shop for Car Insurance – 3 Approaches

shopping onlineHere’s what you need to do in order to get affordable car insurance in Miami FL that is also good value. Never settle for something just because it’s the lowest price. So basically, you have three approaches for finding cheap automobile insurance. You can seek recommendations from family and friends, compare and analyze policies, or pay a service to tell you which insurers are the best. After reading this article, and following my recommendations, you’ll never again experience trouble or confusion in buying an insurance policy you can trust.

Approach #1: Seek Recommendations from Family and Friends

When shopping for products and services, we’ve all asked our friends and others for their recommendations, experiences, and thoughts. After all, they’re much more trustworthy and objective that asking the company itself.

There’s no doubt that this approach works great for most consumer services and products. But it doesn’t work very well for insurance.

That’s because most people never really experience the impact of their vehicle insurance. They’ve probably never been in a significant car accident to see how the insurance company handled their claim. Did the insurance company process their claim fast? Did they drag their feet? Did they try to coerce your friend into a low ball settlement? Did they prevent the repair shop from installing original auto parts?

The truth is that most people buy insurance this way. They know someone who knows someone who said that Johnny Agent was a good guy.

While friends and family have good intentions, you should not buy insurance based solely on their recommendations.

Approach #2: Pay An Insurance Rating Service

car insuranceThere are services that collect information about the performance of Florida automobile insurance companies and rate them. You can search their database and learn how fast the company pays insurance claims, and deals with settlement issues, complaints, and more.

One such service can be found at www.theplan.com (The Consumer’s Action Plan). It cost $89 per year.

I think this is a great service if you want to really evaluate and choose the best insurance for all aspects of your life. But if you aren’t quite ready to go all out, then the next approach might be a better fit for finding  affordable car insurance.

Approach # 3: Perform Your Own Car Insurance Company Evaluations

Many insurance agents represent multiple insurance companies. So the first thing you should do is to ask an agent to provide you with quotes from two quality insurance companies. Let them know that you plan on researching those companies further after you receive the quotes. In fact, ask the agent if they can also provide any information on the financial stability, reliability, and general background of the companies. Review this information for anything that doesn’t look right or makes you uncomfortable.

When you get the quotes, go online and search for complaints. To do this, simply go to your favorite search engine and enter phrases such as “ABC Company complaints “and “ABC Company sucks” (without the quotes). Also check with the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org)

If you come across lots of complaints, that’s a red flag, especially if they’re about not paying claims. If you come across a few complaints, it might not be a deal breaker because every company will have an unhappy customer or two from time to time.

The next step in this approach is to identify 5 to 10 local repair shops in your area that are reputable and that you would trust to work on your car. So if you drive a 2009 Mercedes, seek out shops that would work on that model if you were in an accident. Include dealers on your list as well.

Then, I want you to call each of those facilities and ask to speak to the general manager or repair shop manager. Tell the manager that you drive the type of car that they sell or repair.

Let them know you’re currently evaluating companies to insure your car. Explain to them that you’re seeking  a policy with a company that will pay its claims quickly and cover original parts without a hassle, if your car has to be towed to their shop.

Ask them if the companies for which you have quotes are dependable and easy to work with.

If the general manager or shop manager sings their praises, you’re good to go. If not, ask the managers for the names of two or three insurance companies they would recommend.

Discuss your findings with the insurance agent. He or she might also represent some of the companies on your list.

So there you have it. You have three approaches for finding a quality car insurance company in Miami, Miami Lakes, Miami Beach, North Miami, Miami Gardens, or the entire Miami Dade County area. You can take suggestions from friends and family, pay an insurance rating service, or perform your own evaluations. If you’re looking for cheap auto insurance in Miami Florida, I would say do the leg work yourself. It won’t be too time-consuming and you’ll be happy with your final choice.