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Is cheap auto insurance the best Auto Insurance?

"Hey, I'm a safe driver why should I have auto insurance cover?"

Well, it really isn't about you and how good a driver you are, its about protecting your car and the other users of the highways. You really do need to have adequate cover just in case you have an accident, even if the other driver is covered but particularly so if it happens to be with one of the 15 per cent driving without cover. Auto cover is expensive, but not having it is likely to prove even more costly. More often than not, when your renewal notice drops into your mailbox you will gasp, say "How much?" gulp and think about saving some money.

But how?

Do you really need auto cover? The simple answer is an unequivocal 'YES!" for three key reasons;

Your state may have laws that make you have cover without which you could have your vehicle impounded, be subject to a huge fine or worse, you could get a custodial sentence.

If you bought on finance, your lender can make you get adequate cover to protect 'their' asset. And finally, to protect you and your assets and to cover for an attorney's costs plus the cost of damage to you, your vehicle and other vehicles if its required. Many states (most) insist that you have cover for injuries to you, your family and anyone else involved. They also ask you to have cover for damage to other people's property.

Some States also need you to take out cover for the other motorist who may be underinsured or even -God forbid - uninsured. They may insist on you having protection against personal injury (also known as PIP) and for medical payments.

We spoke about the finance house that lent you the money to purchase the vehicle - they might require you to take out a comprehensive policy that protects them if the car is stolen or damaged but not in a collision - that is covered in collision damage cover.

So, after all that how, can you save money?

The first answer is; decide exactly what is right for you!

Ensure you are covered for all the stuff that your state insists on.

When you have decided then you need to shop smarter and not just take for granted that your insurance broker is getting you the best deal; talk to a number of local firms, look on the internet or maybe in the local press, talk to your buddies.

You need to make a list of what you want and get quotes for the SAME premium from a number of insurance businesses - make sure it's a like-for-like quote, check out the small print (what they won't cover for).

Don't buy from the apparently cheapest quote. It may cost you in the long-run. Go with a reputable brand!

Comparing auto cover online

Turn back the clock ten years and surfing the web was for geeks, but today most people are savvy when it comes to buying off the web - anything from a book to a boat, laptops to a lounge suite, and one item that is big right now is the comparison site. And even bigger are the, literally, hundreds of thousands of sites offering auto insurance and cover - a simple search shows a little over 300 million sites listed when you search 'Auto Insurance' - almost one site for every man jack in the States.

How do you choose which one to go with?

Well, it helps to know your way round the web and how to surf smarter rather than choosing the first site on a web-search listing. Very few people have the patience to go beyond page 1 and yet on there are pitfalls that may cause you to stumble. Some listings are sponsored by the web-site themselves, some have simply paid to advertise but beyond that it's a matter of the number of hits, or clicks' on a particular site that moves them to the top of the list.

So how do you make it easy for yourself?

First narrow the search - don't just look at "Auto Insurance", add the city or neighborhood - for example I punched in "Auto Insurance Des Moines" and the number of pages dropped to 6.9 million and when I added Cheap at the front it halved again. So the more precise you can be, the more likely it will be nearer to what you need. So, on the first page of this search there are three sponsored (i.e. they have a deal with Google), and probably half a dozen under the heading 'Ads'. Then you get to the meat of the sandwich; the real listings ranked by popularity. From then on in it's plain sailing - or is it?

Before you begin to ask any one anything you need to know what you want from your auto cover, draw up a list of your needs; Collision cover, Liability cover, Comprehensive - all very confusing but I have listed an 'ABC' guide at the bottom that might help you decide.

If you are looking on the web, chances are you are going direct - that means cutting out the agent and his commission. You already have, or may have, your current auto cover and a renewal notice - use that to create a shopping list. Next, how much time do you have - time is our most valuable commodity - once its gone, its gone.

Try hitting the top five listed sites with your shopping list and then compare that against your own quote, you may be pleasantly surprised. Try one of the comparison sites if you are pushed for time - let them do the work for you.

Once you have a couple or three quotes that look interesting go to work on what they don't offer compared to what you have now - if it comes up short, don't do it. not affiliated with Local, State or Federal Government.