When you get a new auto quote—whether it’s online or directly from an agent—you have some decisions to make. Is it going to work for you? Would it be better to keep shopping?
Before you finalize anything, there are a few important things to know about your auto quote.
Quotes Are Quotes
An insurance quote is an offer of insurance coverage from a specific company to a specific customer based on the best information available. An auto quote is not a policy—it doesn’t provide any actual coverage until the quote is “bound” and the premium paid.
Some people mistakenly believe that, by going through the quoting process, they have obtained insurance. But that final step—finalizing the policy and paying the premium—absolutely must happen before a person is actually covered.
Yes, the Numbers Can Change
As part of this final step, your agent will likely ask you a few additional questions. Sometimes these include simple points of fact that the insurance company needs in order to finalize your policy. Often, your agent will probe a little to determine whether you might qualify for some additional discounts that weren’t factored into the quote. An experienced agent might notice possible mistakes in the information that was submitted. It’s important for all of the data to be correct before a policy is written so that the resulting contract is based entirely on factual information.
Sometimes, these last-minute changes will cause your quoted amount to go up. It’s just as likely that your quote will actually go down. Based on any changes or new information, your licensed agent may make recommendations to help ensure that you get the best possible policy and coverage.
Time Is of the Essence
An auto quote is generally valid for 30 days. If you wait longer than that, you can usually request an updated quote. While it’s unlikely that your options and rates will change significantly from one month to the next, insurance companies do change their prices and underwriting guidelines from time to time. As with much in life, sooner is often better.
This is especially true if your coverage is expiring. Chances are pretty good that you’re shopping for insurance quotes because your current term is running out. If that’s the case, don’t delay! You definitely don’t want a lapse in coverage, which will drive your rates up. Also, if a better policy is available, it makes sense to take advantage of it as quickly as possible. Every day you wait could mean dollars out of your pocket.