When your auto insurance is up for renewal, even if you have been happy with your service and coverage, it’s a good idea to review your policy carefully for any changes as well as think about anything that has changed in your life that could affect your coverage.
Here are some tips for renewing auto insurance in Michigan:
1. Check rates
If you are looking for a lower premium, of course, you can do some rate comparison shopping online. If you are working with an independent agent, she or he can also help with rate shopping. However, don’t let premium costs be your sole deciding factor when choosing to renew or change auto insurance. There is tremendous value in trusted personal service, especially following a stressful event like a car accident. If someone you trust has been in a car accident recently, ask these questions:
How did the insurance company interact with other parties after the accident? Were they professional and courteous?
Did the insurer make a fair loss estimate?
How much did rates increase, if at all, following the accident?
If you work with an independent auto mechanic or repair shop, ask them for carrier recommendations. They have likely worked with many and can tell you who they prefer working with and why.
2. Adjust your deductible
As part of your policy review process, look at how much your deductible is. If you have not had an accident in many years (or ever) you may want to consider a higher deductible, because it can reduce your premiums by a significant percentage. Just be sure that if you needed to, you would be able to afford to pay the higher deductible.
3. Ask about discounts
Most insurance carriers will offer discounts if you have multiple policies with them. If you currently have different carriers for your homeowners, renters, and even life insurance, ask about the advantages of moving all of your policies under the same roof.
4. Review life changes
Has the number of miles you drive each year gone down? Do you have a teenager in your house who is of driving age, but does not yet have his or her driver’s license? Do you have a college student who lives more than 100 miles from home and does not have a car? Do you now have health insurance or do you have a coordinated policy? These are important details that can help reduce your costs.
5. Check your coverage.
Do you have uninsured motorist coverage (UM) and/or underinsured motorist coverage (UIM)? If not, you should. A 2015 MarketWatch report states that the percentage of uninsured drivers in Michigan is 21%.
UM and UIM insurance can help cover injuries sustained by you and/or occupants of your vehicle in an accident caused by an uninsured driver. UIM can help cover claims made against a driver with insufficient auto insurance coverage.
Luckily, many auto insurance plans in the state of Michigan automatically include this coverage, but not all do. Be sure to check your declarations page to find out what your coverage levels are under Uninsured and Underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage. The cost to increase the coverage amount is typically minimal (from as little as a few dollars a month) and can be critical to make sure you’re covered should you get in an accident with an uninsured driver.
Do not wait until after an accident to review your car insurance policy. At your next opportunity, take the time to review your coverage to ensure you and your family are adequately protected.
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, contact Whiting Law. We’re here to help answer your questions, review your declarations sheet and coverage, and work together to take the next right steps toward getting you the fair and just coverage you deserve.