10 Must-Know Tips When Shopping for Norwich Auto Insurance

If shopping for auto insurance online is new to you, you can be overwhelmed because of the huge number of online auto insurance companies and websites vying for business in Norwich.

It’s a good idea to shop coverage around before your policy renews because rates are adjusted regularly by insurance companies. Even if you think you had the best deal a year ago you will most likely find a better rate today. Starting now, block out anything you think you know about auto insurance because we’re going to show you the right way to reduce your cost while increasing coverage.

Compare the Market for Auto Insurance in Norwich, VT

The are a couple different ways to compare quotes and find the best price. The fastest way to find the cheapest insurance rates is to perform an online rate comparison. It is quite easy and can be accomplished in just a few minutes using one of these methods.

  • One of the simplest ways to find low rates is a comparison rater form like this one (opens in new window). This method prevents you from having to do repetitive form entry for each company you want a rate for. Just one form will get you rate comparisons from multiple companies.It’s the quickest way to get rates.
  • A different way to obtain and compare quotes online consists of visiting the website for each individual company and fill out their own quote form. For sake of this example, we’ll assume you want comparison quotes from Liberty Mutual, Allstate and American Family. You would have to take the time to go to each site to input your insurance information, and that’s why the first method is more popular. To view a list of companies in Norwich, click here.
  • The least efficient method of comparing rate quotes is driving to local Norwich insurance agencies. Shopping for auto insurance online can eliminate the need for a local agent unless you require the trained guidance that only a license agent can provide. It is possible to find lower rates online but buy from a local insurance agent and you’ll learn how to do that later.

It doesn’t matter which method you choose, just double check that you are using apples-to-apples coverage limits and deductibles for each comparison quote. If you use different liability limits it will be next to impossible to determine the lowest rate in Norwich. Quoting even small variations in insurance coverages may result in a large different in cost. Just keep in mind that more quotes helps you find the best offered rates.

Policy discounts you shouldn’t miss

Insuring your vehicles can cost a lot, but companies offer discounts that you may not know about. Most are applied at the time of quoting, but a few must be asked about before being credited.

  • Federal Government Employee – Active or retired federal employment may qualify you for a discount with certain companies.
  • Bundle and Save – When you have multiple policies with one company you may save up to 20% off your total premium.
  • Seat Belts Save – Buckling up and requiring all passengers to use a seat belt can save up to 15% on the medical payments or PIP coverage costs.
  • Discount for Good Grades – Performing well in school can earn a discount of 20% or more. The good student discount can last up to age 25.
  • Theft Prevention System – Vehicles equipped with anti-theft or alarm systems prevent vehicle theft and earn discounts up to 10%.

A little note about advertised discounts, most of the big mark downs will not be given to your bottom line cost. Most only cut individual premiums such as liability and collision coverage. So even though they make it sound like it’s possible to get free car insurance, it doesn’t quite work that way. Any amount of discount will reduce the amount you have to pay.

Rate influencing factors

Consumers need to have an understanding of the different types of things that go into determining the rates you pay for auto insurance. When you know what positively or negatively controls the rates you pay allows you to make educated decisions that could result in better auto insurance rates.

Listed below are a few of the “ingredients” companies use to determine premiums.

  • How’s your driving record? – Your driving record has a huge affect on how much you pay. Careful drivers receive lower rates compared to drivers with tickets. Just one citation can boost insurance rates forty percent or more. Drivers who get flagrant violations such as reckless driving, hit and run or driving under the influence may be required to submit a SR-22 form with their state motor vehicle department in order to keep their license.
  • Never let your coverage lapse – Allowing your auto insurance policy to lapse will be a fast way to increase your auto insurance rates. Not only will rates go up, but not being able to provide proof of insurance will get you a hefty fine and possibly a revoked license.
  • Performance level impacts rates – The type of car you drive makes a huge difference in your rates. Lower performance four cylinder passenger cars generally receive the lowest base rates, but other factors influence the final cost greatly.
  • One company can mean more discounts – Some companies give discounts to policyholders who carry more than one policy. It’s known as a multi-policy discount. Discounts can amount to anywhere from five to ten percent in most cases. Even though this discount sounds good, it’s in your best interest to comparison shop to verify if the discount is saving money.
  • Don’t get talked into coverage you don’t need – There are a lot of extra coverages that can waste your money on your auto insurance policy. Coverages for personal injury protection, accident forgiveness and additional equipment coverage may be costing you every month. They may seem good when talking to your agent, but now you might not need them so eliminate them to save money.

But I prefer to buy car insurance from an agent

Some people just want to get advice from a local agent. The biggest benefit of comparing rates online is you may find lower rates and still choose a local agent. Supporting small agencies is important particularly in Norwich.

To find an agent, once you fill out this form (opens in new window), the quote information is immediately sent to agents in your area who will compete to get your business. You don’t have to visit any agencies because quoted prices will be sent to your email. How cool is that?! You can find better rates and work with a local agent.

Norwich insurance agencies are either independent or captive

When looking for a local agent, there are two different types of agents to choose from. Insurance agencies in Norwich are classified as either independent or captive.

Independent Agents (or Brokers)

These agents are not locked into one company so they have the ability to put coverage with any number of different companies depending on which coverage is best. To transfer your coverage to a different company, your agent can switch companies and you won’t have to switch agencies.

When searching for an agent, you should always contact several independent insurance agents for maximum quote selection. Most have the option of insuring with smaller regional carriers who may have lower rates.

Listed below are independent agencies in Norwich that are able to give price quotes.

  • Ramel Insurance Assoc – Main St – Norwich, VT 05055 – (802) 649-2869
Captive Insurance Agents

Captive insurance agents write business for a single company and some examples include American Family, Liberty Mutual and AAA. These agents are not able to compare other company’s rates so they are skilled at selling on more than just price. Captive agents receive extensive training in insurance sales which helps them compete with independent agents. Some consumers prefer to choose to use a captive agent mainly due to high brand loyalty and the convenience of having a single billing for all their coverages.

Picking a car insurance agent should depend on more than just the bottom line cost. Any agent should be forthright in answering these questions:

  • How are they compensated?
  • What insurance companies do they recommend if they are an independent agent?
  • Who are their largest clients?
  • Are glass claims handled on-site or do you have to take your vehicle to a repair shop?
  • Did they already check your driving record and credit reports?
  • If you have an accident, are you able to get your vehicle repaired at the shop of your choice?

Upon receiving positive responses for all questions you ask and a good coverage price, you have narrowed it down to an insurance agency that is a good match to properly insure your vehicles.

Your coverage should be tailored to you

When choosing the right insurance coverage, there is no “best” method to buy coverage. Everyone’s needs are different.

For instance, these questions might help in determining whether you might need an agent’s assistance.

  • Are all vehicle passengers covered by medical payments coverage?
  • What discounts do I qualify for?
  • When would I need rental car insurance?
  • When should my teen driver be added to my policy?
  • Can I get a multi-policy discount for packaging my home and auto coverage?
  • What is high-risk coverage and where do I buy it?
  • What are Vermont no-fault laws?

If you can’t answer these questions, you may need to chat with an insurance agent. If you want to speak to an agent in your area, simply complete this short form.

Additional information can be read on the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation website. Click here for link. Vermont consumers can find out which companies have the most complaints, discover disciplinary actions, learn about specific coverages, and get help finding coverage.

Affordable insurance is out there

Drivers switch companies for any number of reasons including being labeled a high risk driver, extreme rates for teen drivers, an unsatisfactory settlement offer and high rates after DUI convictions. It doesn’t matter why you want to switch finding a new company is less work than it seems.

Affordable auto insurance can be found from both online companies and also from your neighborhood Norwich agents, and you should compare price quotes from both to have the best selection. Some insurance companies may not provide the ability to get a quote online and usually these small insurance companies provide coverage only through local independent agents.

As you restructure your insurance plan, it’s very important that you do not skimp on critical coverages to save a buck or two. In many instances, someone dropped full coverage and discovered at claim time that they should have had better coverage. Your aim should be to buy the best coverage you can find for the lowest price, not the least amount of coverage.