Nowadays, it probably seems like a lot of your business is conducted online or over the phone. But when you're discussing complicated matters like insurance, it can be very helpful to actually meet with an agent and go over things in person. Sometimes, just seeing things written out makes them easier to comprehend. People who meet with their agent in-person often receive better customer service, too, so ask potential agents if they have a physical office where you can meet. When you're there, tell him or her you'd like to receive an annual personal insurance review. A really quality agent will automatically offer this service, but any good agent should be willing to do it upon request. Annual reviews help ensure you're not paying for coverage you no longer need, and that you're always carrying the coverage you do need.
Author's Note: 10 Questions to Ask Before Buying Car Insurance
Recently, our auto insurance took a big jump. Apparently, our insurer now assesses a surcharge for family members under 21, even if these kids have clean driving records and qualify for the "good student" discount by maintaining a high grade point average. So we're being penalized for having a straight-A college student with a clean driving record, who only drives our vehicles during her summer break -- just because she's 19. If my husband didn't work for said insurance company, you'd better believe we'd be shopping around!
I thought I knew a fair amount about car insurance before I wrote this article, but I realized it's so easy to inadvertently pay more than you should for your insurance. How many other customers got the same hike we did and didn't even notice? And even though I've long known you should drop your collision coverage once your car gets so old that its value is almost nil, it wasn't until I was working on this piece that I suddenly realized our van is -- gulp! -- 13 years old. Why weren't we having annual personal insurance reviews to catch these things? Better yet, why wasn't our agent suggesting them? I know the answer. We have to be our own advocates. Now please excuse me. I need to cancel the collision coverage on our van ...
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Is your car over-insured? Learn how to tell if your car has too much insurance at HowStuffWorks.