All Rhode Islanders are of course required to buy liability auto insurance. Here are five tips to consider when you next shop for auto insurance:
1. Carefully Choose Your Car Insurance Company
Large insurance companies have seen tremendous growth using “direct response” TV and internet marketing to attract consumers. But, bigger is not usually better for your auto insurance needs. Bigger can mean longer wait times on the phone, dealing with out-of-state agents, and a less personalized approach to your insurance needs. In my opinion having seen the local market as an RI car accident lawyer, I would generally avoid the top ten auto insurers. These mega companies are identified here and include Allstate, State Farm and GEICO. Consider established companies with a local presence such as Amica or The Providence Mutual Company.
2. Do Not Shop By Price Alone
Not coincidentally, the mega insurance companies heavily advertise low prices, attracting a high volume of customers. BEWARE: Lower prices = Less Coverage. Additionally, lower prices also tend to mean lousy service and poor claims handling, including “low-balling” your claim when you experience a covered loss. Only compare price based on an “apples to apples” comparison after you understand the different types of coverage.
3. Understand The Different Types of Coverage
Know what you are buying. This site provides an overview of common types of coverage and terms used in auto insurance policies.
Rhode Island requires that we purchase Bodily Injury (“BI”) limits in at least the policy limits of $25,000 per person/$50,000 per occurrence. That bare bones coverage is completely inadequate. Our RI personal injury law firm’s site also includes a FAQs page detailing the importance of purchasing RI Uninsured Motorist Coverage (“UM/UIM”). Finally, consumers have a right to receive a complete copy of their jacket (declarations page, insurance policy, endorsements, riders, etc.) at anytime. Read the policy language itself to understand the coverage.
4. Buy “Full” Coverage Above The Minimum Policy Limits
Once you understand the different types of coverage available in an RI auto insurance policy, you will understand the importance of purchasing: (1) “full coverage” and, (2) coverage above the minimum policy limits. Specifically, the following types of coverage are very important to have:
- Medpay Benefits
5. If They Raise Your Rates, Fire Them!
Now that you have invested the time to learn about auto insurance coverage and have selected a company, make sure that company treats you fairly. For example, if you experience a Rhode Island car accident that is not your fault, Rhode Island auto insurance companies are not supposed to raise your rates. If you do not like the way a company is treating you, then fire them! You can terminate coverage at anytime, including within a policy period. (You will receive a refund for any premium you paid in advance).