A lot of how our society runs and functions on a daily basis is changing during the COVID-19 Pandemic. This can make acquiring items and services we commonly use quite difficult.
With non-essential employees being told to stay home, there are about 20% fewer cars on the road, according to a report by Arity. This has thrown car insurance companies into a frenzy.
Some people want refunds while others want to suspend their policies for a period of time. However, there are still plenty of people driving on the road that need insurance. If you’re looking for a new company to cover your vehicle, make sure to review these six tips first.
They’ll help you during your research and with any troubleshooting that might be required during the purchasing process.
1. Utilize Online Services
One of the greatest changes to our society during this pandemic is how we purchase goods and services. Due to the reduction of staff, social distancing recommendations, and stay at home orders, in person sales are greatly reduced.
You’ll be hard pressed to find any local agents in their office. That isn’t very helpful if you’re in the market for new insurance, though. While you can combat this through phone conversations, many call lines have long wait times. Unless you have an agent’s direct number, it’s probably easiest to find companies that will let you apply online.
Of course, all the big companies have quote forms you can fill out to start the process. But, your local companies might have created something similar. It never hurts to do a quick Google search for options in your area.
2. Look for Guarantees
With the climate of the pandemic ever-changing, you may also be worried about purchasing a new plan you might not need in the future. If this is the case, choose a company that is currently putting its customers first.
For example, All-State has a Shelter-in-Place Payback set up. Most customers can receive 15% off their premiums for April and May. While this might not assist you now, it shows that the company will work with you if your situation changes in the future.
Geico is also giving a 15% discount, but theirs runs through October of 2020. State Farm is offering an automatic 25% refund to its customers, which will be applied to their account as a credit. Progressive is doing the same at a rate of 20%.
Almost all companies are suspending late fees and cancellations, at least for the months of April and May.
3. Research Your State Minimums
Each state sets the amount of coverage you are required to have for certain types of accidents. While you may have purchased more expensive plans with expanded coverage in the past, times have changed.
Now, you may need to know what your state minimums on car insurance are. That way you can purchase the cheapest plan possible. Typically, this information can be found on your state’s DMV site.
4. Try to Make Your Current Plan Work
If you are currently insured and having trouble making your payments, discuss your options with your insurance company. This could save you a lot of time and trouble shopping around for a new policy. Plus, most companies are very understanding during this time.
A few ways Forbes says you can reduce your costs are:
- Increase your Deductible
- Reduce your Coverage to the State Minimum
- Ask About a Pay-Per-Mile Plan
5. Use Bargaining Tools
If you can get an agent on the phone, don’t be afraid to bargain with them. You can ask for a reduced, introductory rate for the first few months with a contract. Or, you may be able to receive the Pandemic Policy Discounts already in place if you fight for it as a new customer.
More than likely, phone lines will be excessively busy. If you don’t want to wait around on hold all day, look for an online chat option. While you may have to wait for a period of time, you’ll be free to perform other tasks on your list. Plus, you won’t be forced to listen to an annoying song or sales pitch on repeat.
6. Know Yourself
One of the biggest keys to getting a great rate on car insurance at any time is knowing your own profile. What is your driving history? Have you been in several wrecks? Did you just purchase a new car? Are there any tickets on your record?
These are all questions that help car insurance companies decide whether to increase or decrease your rate. If you know where your profile lacks and where it shines, you will be much better prepared to negotiate a budget-friendly rate. Consumer Reports says that you may even be able to take a bonus driving class online or prove you have good grades for an extra discount.