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 Shopping for a car insurance rate can be a somewhat daunting process; there are so many options and the many large figures that salesmen present can be a bit hard to wrap one’s mind around.  Luckily there are a few easy steps that you can take to ease the selection process:

1) Know exactly what you need.  Take some time to assess just how much coverage you are going to need.  Given your typical driving conditions, what sorts of accidents are the most likely?  How much are they likely to cost if you are at fault?  If you work from home and primarily use the car to run small errands around town, you will probably need a smaller policy than someone who makes long commutes on the highway every day.

2) Research consumer opinions.  Browsing consumer watchdog sites and forums will give you a good idea of which companies are reliable, and which ones have a bad reputation.  This will help you cut down on which options you want to explore and get rid of some of the too-good-to-be-true deals.

3) Tell your potential insurers that you are shopping around.  Let them know that you are being selective with your car insurance rate.  This will make the salesmen less inclined to throw weak pitches at you.

4) Make sure the quote you are getting is accurate.  Many times salespeople will “hook” you with a seemingly excellent figure, making you feel committed to them, only to find out that this rate is for a much smaller policy, or hasn’t yet taken into account certain proxies that they use to determine quotes.  Any car insurance rate you receive should be preceded by a long series of questions, usually including age, sex, car make and year, mileage, credit score, driving history, and a number of others.  As a rule of thumb, if you don’t feel interrogated, the number is just a sales pitch.  And don’t even bother looking at the quotes on junk mail or written advertisements, they are probably written for a single man in his thirties with a perfect credit and driving record who wants to insure his used Civic, which he keeps in a fortress next to his house, for the state’s minimum liability requirements.

5) Consider your deductible.  Most American car insurers will offer you a three-fold deductible option: $1,000, $500, or no deductible.  Consider your personal resources and spending habits in making this decision. If you are a thrifty person with large savings, a high deductible is probably more appropriate whereas low or no deductibles will benefit spenders.  All of these tips should help you save a bundle on your car insurance rate.

This Financial Services article was written by Mark Karavan on 10/14/2009

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