Published: April 30, 2019Updated: May 23, 2022

5 rookie mistakes to avoid when buying cheap auto insurance

Shopping for car insurance these days may seem like a relatively simple task—simply visit one of those online car insurance sites, input some information, and get an instant quote. Then, just choose the cheapest one, right?

Wrong—very, very wrong.

While you certainly want to try and save money when choosing an auto insurance policy, you don’t want to make a decision based simply on cost alone. It is possible to get an affordable, high-quality auto insurance policy, but you’ll need to do your research and avoid these 5 rookie mistakes many people make when buying cheap auto insurance.

1. Not Getting Enough Coverage

The insurance might be cheap, but the coverage could be lacking as well. Having the right coverage for your driving habits is critical. Take the time to learn about the different types of coverage that are available so that you can make a better determination as to what you definitely need and what you can do without. For example, you may want high liability coverage but aren’t too concerned about theft.

You should be aware that most insurance companies also offer different levels of coverage. You can often lower your auto insurance premiums if you are willing to pay a higher deductible on some types of coverage.

But try not to simply go for the lowest possible payment—you don’t want to wind up in an unfortunate incident without enough coverage and protection. At the same time, you may not necessarily need to load up on excess coverage. Take the time to weigh the different options available so that you can make a decision that best suits your driving needs and budget.

2. Not Speaking to Anyone Directly

As mentioned above, the internet makes it fairly easy to acquire auto insurance online. But if you don’t take the time to talk to your insurer before signing up, you might not be getting the best insurance or the best price. If there is no one available to speak to you, you may want to consider not dealing with that particular auto insurance agency. You want someone available to answer any questions you may have initially, as well as to provide you with customer service after you’ve purchased the policy.

If you’ve received a quote online, be sure to follow up with an actual agent to verify the quote and provide proof in writing or documentation. Additionally, before finalizing the policy, tell the agent about your driving habits and history. Sometimes the amount of time you drive, what you drive, and other factors can lower a monthly premium significantly.

3. Not Asking for Accident Forgiveness

More and more auto insurance policies these days come with a feature called ‘accident forgiveness.’ This means simply that if you get in an accident, the insurance company won’t penalize you with higher insurance premiums. Your standing in their internal rating system won’t be affected, even if you were ‘at fault.’ In other words, accident forgiveness is a way of keeping your rates low in the long term.

Whether or not an auto insurance policy comes with accident forgiveness can be a pretty important consideration. Remember, just because you are a safe driver doesn’t mean every other driver around you is. And of course, accidents can occur at any time, no matter how safely you may be driving.

4. Not Reading the Fine Print

It isn’t just the quote you want to double-check. Before committing to any policy, go through the details to make sure you are getting all the coverage that is expected. Knowing exactly what is covered, for how much it is covered, and what your deductibles are will save you from any stressful surprises and headaches later. Should you ever need to file a claim, you’ll be glad you took the time to read through all the details.

Likewise, make sure you are receiving discounts for any applicable items, such as anti-theft devices, low mileage, combining your auto insurance with homeowners insurance, not having any accidents in your driving history, etc. If you aren’t sure about it, ask for a complete list of what factors would constitute a discount on your insurance premiums.

5. Not Knowing the Payment Policies

Most insurance companies offer a grace period for paying bills after the due date. If you forget or are short on cash one month, this can be a real life-saver. But of course, you don’t want to_ assume_ that you can make a late payment without any penalties. Be sure to learn about payment due dates, late payment fees and penalties, and any other additional fees that might come into play. Excessive fees that don’t seem fair might make you want to take a second look at that particular auto insurance company and ultimately decide to go with another company’s policy. You may need to ask to see the final contract to learn the full details about your premium payments.

In conclusion, research and patience is really key to getting a good auto insurance policy at a cheap price. Sometimes an initial quote may seem expensive at first, but after you factor in a lot of details that lead to discounts, along with deciding on the actual levels of coverage you need, the price can drop significantly, enabling you to get high-quality, cheap auto insurance from a really good and reputable company.