#1. Choosing your limits based on the minimums rather than the type of vehicle you drive.
Of course it's important to be legal - companies won't sell you auto insurance below the minimum requirements, but choosing just those minimums may leave you with the risk of large out-of-pocket expenses if you ever have to use your insurance for a claim. If you drive a mid-size SUV and you hit another vehicle, the damage could be extensive. If your state only requires a $10,000 minimum for property damage and you cause $15,000 in damage to a Mercedes, guess who's responsible for the remaining $5,000? That's right: You are, not your insurance company. So when you choose your insurance limits, think about the size of your vehicle and how much damage you could cause with it. If you're not able to pay large chunks of money out of pocket, you might want to choose higher limits.
#2. Choosing an insurance company by price alone rather than by what's offered for the price.
If you get several auto insurance quotes and you base your choice on who charges the least without examining what they offer for the price, you might be selling yourself short. Make sure your quotes are as similar as possible to see what the best deal is, and choose similar limits across all quotes to compare apples to apples. Also, consider a company's availability before you purchase a policy. Some companies may not offer 24/7 access to their customers.
#3. Not being up-front about your driving history.
If you don't disclose tickets, accidents or other moving violations during a quote, your rate may not be accurate. So, while the price may be enticing at first, you may be in for a surprise when you actually purchase the policy. Insurance companies will find out about driving histories because they check your driving records, and they'll adjust the price of your policy accordingly. So it really is to your advantage to tell a company about your driving history up-front to get a more accurate rate.
#4. Assuming all auto insurance companies are the same.
While insurance companies are regulated on a state-by-state basis, not every insurance company will offer the same products and services in a given state. Before you choose a company, make a list of what's important to you. Is it price? Convenience? Repair options? Types of parts used? Once you have your list, ask each company about the items on your list to see who can meet your needs the best. XXX offers options such as our concierge level of claims service, which caters to customers who prefer convenience and efficiency. This service allows customers to drop off their vehicles at a claims service center while XXX takes care of everything else. You simply return when your car is repaired and ready to go. The time-saving aspects of this service are a big selling point for XXX customers who've used our concierge service. So before you buy an auto insurance policy, see what a company offers that fits your needs. You'll discover that not all companies are the same.
#5. Choosing insurance coverages that could be available through other avenues.
Think about whether coverage options are duplicated elsewhere before you purchase your auto insurance policy. For instance, if your manufacturer's warranty is still active, or if you have AAA, towing many be covered if your vehicle breaks down on the side of the road. In these cases, you wouldn't need to purchase Roadside Assistance coverage on your insurance policy since you'd be covered for towing elsewhere. If you're on a budget and already have health insurance that covers injuries caused in an accident, you may be able to bypass Personal Injury Protection and/or Medical Payments coverage, but only if they're not required by law in your state. If you've tricked out your car with custom parts, you may not need Custom Parts and Equipment coverage during the first year if you chose a warranty plan that covers damage to those parts. Finally, you may not need Loan/Lease Payoff coverage through your insurance company if you've already purchased it through your finance company. This may be built into your monthly payments as part of your loan insurance. If it's too late to remove the loan insurance, there may be no need to purchase Loan/Lease Payoff coverage through your auto insurance company, too. Consider who offers the best protection - and at what price - to determine what works best for you.