The Claims Process
The hope is that you never have to file a claim, but what happens when you do?
Each carrier will have a different process. Some will suggest that you call an 800 number, some will allow you to file a claim through their app. However, the best way to handle a claim is directly with your agent. Besides the personal service, the most important reason to have a local agent is the claims process.
When you work with a local agent, they will be able to help you navigate and streamline the claims process. An accident is inconvenient enough, you do not want to get the run around on the claims process as well.
If possible, it is always best to get an estimate of the cost of damages before you file a claim. Most body shops will give you a preliminary quote free of charge.
But I have car insurance with no down payment plan, why should I do an estimate of the cost of damage?
Great question! You may save yourself some money in the long run by getting an estimate first. Once you (or your agent) files a claim, that claim is on your record for at least three years.
Even if you come back later and withdraw the claim (or the carrier denies it) that claim will show on your record. In most cases a claim will have an adverse effect on your car insurance with no deposit plan until it drops off.
Why would I not want to file a claim?
Another great question! You would not want to file a claim if the damage is less than your deductible. Let’s say you are in a minor accident. The damages amount to $950, but your collision deductible is $1000. In this case it would not make sense to file the claim.
In addition, you may not want to file a claim even if the damage is more than your deductible. Maybe the accident was a little more serious, the damage is going to cost $1200 to repair. If your deductible is $1000, the carrier is only going to cover $200. This relatively small amount may not be worth having a claim on your record. Therefore, it is important to go over your options with your agent before calling the claims department.
If you decide to file a claim, you will be assigned to a representative that will help you through the process.
Tips for Shopping for Car Insurance
After you learned the basics of car insurance, all that is left to do is to go shopping!
You can shop for and change your car insurance at any time. Car insurance policies are usually six- or twelve-month policies, but you do not have to wait until the end of your policy to make a change. That being said, if you change too often, it could negatively impact your rates.
Factors that could affect your rates
While we are on the subject, here are the other factors that can have an effect on your car insurance rates:
- Where you live.
- Your driving history.
- Your vehicle(s).
- Your age.
- Marital status.
- Your profession.
- Your annual mileage.
Not every company takes all of these factors into account or weighs them the same. Your agent can help determine which factors are both positively and negatively affecting your rates.
In some cases, some of these factors may cause a company to deny you coverage all together. There are carriers and agents that specialize in non-standard or high-risk clients. If you run into that situation, a good agent will be able to help you navigate it and get you covered.
Finding an agent
When it comes to finding an agent to get the cheap car insurance with no deposit you need, it is best to find someone with a local presence. There are plenty of good and cheap car insurance companies that operate only over the phone or online. However, when you really need help it is always nice to have someone local to call or go see.
In general, insurance agents are split into two categories, captive and independent. Both types of agents have their benefits:
- Captive agents are usually bound to one carrier (Farmers, State Farm, Allstate, etc.). A captive agent has a direct relationship with the carrier. This can be extremely helpful if any issues arise.
- Independent agents will have access to multiple carriers (Progressive, Safeco, Travelers, etc.). An independent agent will be able to help you find the best carrier to fit your specific needs. Furthermore, if you ever decide to change insurance companies, you can stay with the agent that you are accustomed to working with.
One last note about shopping
I strongly suggest going directly to an agent or agency. If they have a contact form on their website or Facebook page that is a good way to get a hold of them. Just enter your contact info for a quote and select the coverage you need.