Buying a car can be an exhilarating experience, and taking time to deal with such practicalities as insurance before committing to a new ride can save you time, money and aggravation. If you arm yourselves with insurance information before rushing out to look at cars, you can eliminate a number of hurdles that might otherwise turn a few blissful hours of car shopping into a stressful, fight-ridden afternoon.
Before you can drive your new car off the lot, you'll need to provide proof of insurance. If you haven't called around for quotes or contacted your current insurance agent, setting up a policy could take as much as half an hour, a veritable eternity after an afternoon of test driving and negotiating. Expedite the process by getting quotes before you head out to the dealership, then jot down the rates and contact info to bring with you. If you decide to buy insurance from a local agent, make sure the office is open on the day and time that you plan to close the deal on your car.
Auto insurance rates can vary widely between vehicles, so purchasing a car before checking insurance prices means you are agreeing to a sale without knowing the final cost. Anticipating your monthly insurance payment before you head to the dealership will help ensure that you stay within your budget. If you are considering a few vehicle models in particular, call insurance agencies beforehand and ask for quotes for each model. If you don't have any specific models in mind, get a rough estimate by obtaining quotes on a common model of the vehicle class you are most likely to choose.
In order to start a new insurance policy, or add a vehicle to an existing policy, you must provide your insurance company with certain information. Save yourself a headache at the dealership by contacting your agent ahead of time to find out what information she will need. Generally, you will need the driver's license numbers of every driver on the policy and a rundown of their recent driving history. Right before you pay for the policy, your agent will check the driving history of each driver. If possible, have the agency run the driving histories in advance so there are no surprise rate increases due to forgotten violations or accident claims. Some insurance companies offer discounts if you pay with automatic withdrawals from a checking account, so you may want to bring your checkbook with you, too.
Insurance is not just about obeying the law, it's about protecting your assets. Before you put your new car on the road, consider that if you are found to be at fault in an accident, you could be sued and your assets seized. Discuss your financial situation with your insurance agent to be sure you purchase a policy with enough coverage to protect your home, savings and investments.
Kristy Barkan began her writing career in 1998 as a features reporter for the University at Buffalo's "Spectrum" newspaper. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in film and media production from the University at Buffalo, a Master of Fine Arts in visual effects from Academy of Art University and a Diploma in social media marketing from ALISON.