4 Things to Know Before Buying Insurance

June 4, 2015 Updated: April 23, 2016
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The Altoona Mirror reports that the insurance fraud charges filed against 33-year-old Michael Traveny stem from a crash in Duncansville.

State prosecutors say Traveny didn’t have insurance when he crashed that night so he called Safe Auto Insurance from the scene and purchased coverage without mentioning the wreck.

Prosecutors say Traveny filed a $3,900 claim the next day claiming the crash happened after the policy took effect.

This man obviously did not read up on the Dos and Don’ts of buying car insurance, because one of the big suggestions, not only for auto insurance but for ANY type of insurance, is Don’t Lie

Here are some more things you should know before investing in an insurance policy of any kind:

Start with the essentials

There are basically 5 insurance policies that experts recommend every adult should have. They are Long-Term Disability Insurance; Life Insurance; Health Insurance; Homeowner’s or Renter’s Insurance; and Auto Insurance. These are the essentials. Unfortunately, not very many companies offer all five in a benefit package, so you’ll need to go shopping for the best deal for yourself and your family. 

Full coverage, or . . . ?

Sure, buying the minimum amount of coverage for your car allowed by law (or by your lender) will save you money, but it won’t save you anything in the long run if you ever have a claim. For example, if you choose a high deductible policy, you’ll have cheaper premiums. But that also means you’ll have to fork out more cash before you can make a claim. If you have a huge emergency fund, maybe that works for you, but you could spend more in the long-term. Take a look at your state’s minimums, but seriously consider taking more than the absolute minimum. Remember that some car insurance companies will also give discounts if you work in the government sector or set up a payroll deduction agreement.

Look into bundling for significant savings

Many people go with the auto insurance provider their parents use and buy homeowner’s insurance from the company their real estate agent or title company recommends. Many of these people end up with multiple policies at different insurance agencies. It’s not just an advertising gimmick; some insurers will knock off up to 15% from both your auto and home policies if you bundle them together. Just make sure all policies provide the right amount of coverage. Depending on what services and insurance you get bundled, it can be very difficult to change services or companies down the road; so keep that in mind as well.

Consider an umbrella insurance policy

Broadly speaking, umbrella liability insurance protects you when one of your regular insurance policies reaches a specified cap limit and is not able to pay out any more. This might involve car insurance, health insurance or even your retirement policies. Umbrella coverage might include paying for things like false arrest, libel, slander and invasion of privacy. Typical umbrella policies start at $1 million in coverage and are sold in million-dollar coverage increments. You’ll usually need to carry minimum underlying liability coverage on your homeowners or renters policy before you can buy umbrella insurance.