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User's Guide To Discount Car Insurance

Cheap Auto Insurance: 4 Ways You Might Get Hurt

By Ara Rubyan

In auto insurance, as in everything else, you get what you pay for. What this means is that discount auto insurance will do little more than keep a car on the road, meeting the basic legal requirements. But if you expect anything more than that, you might be disappointed.

Here are 4 ways your discount auto insurance might let you down.

1. Slow -- or non-existent -- customer service
A decent car insurance company prides itself on the customer service it can offer to its customers. After all, it is much easier to keep an existing customer than it is to find a new one. But cheap auto insurance companies will sacrifice your long-term satisfaction to make a quick dollar upfront. They'll cut costs wherever they can including in customer service and claims departments. As a result, they simply can't provide the resources necessary to offer you anything more than a legal car -- as long as you never make a claim. When that happens, good luck.

For example, many discount auto insurance companies use customer service automation. As a result, getting a live human being on the phone is difficult. Whether you're dealing with claims or billing errors, you stand a good chance of being put in voicemail jail. Not only that -- they are more prone to mistakes simply because the human element is gone.

2. Lost time
When you have an accident, your auto insurance company will send an adjuster to look at you car and assess the damage -- and to weed out phony claims. Cheap auto insurance companies provide a bare-bones staff to do this. As a result, your claim may sit in a file for days or weeks (or even months) without anything happening. This means your car may remain in damaged condition for that

entire time. If you can't drive it, that's bad.

But it can be even more complicated than that. In many states, accident damage must either be fixed before state inspection is due or the car will have to sit idle while waiting. At the same time, very few states regulate how long an insurance company may take to respond to your claim. So if you have to wait months for a claim to be done, tough luck. The auto insurance company is within their legal right to string you along.

3. Beyond the basics -- not so cheap
In brief, the only thing people save when choosing cheap auto insurance is about $50 on the basic, no-frills policy. Once you start adding more extensive coverage, your premium may well skyrocket. In other words, you'll end up paying more than they would have if you had started with a reputable car insurance company.

4. How much is it worth to keep your privacy secure?
One of the least talked-about dangers of buying cheap auto insurance is security. Your personal information may not be protected by a decent privacy policy. Your credit card number, social security number, address, phone number, even your medication history is in the hands of a company that may not protect it simply because they spend no resources on privacy protections. As a result, you are at risk for identity theft. Fact is, no company can guarantee an iron-clad privacy policy, but most reputable companies will hire security experts to make sure that your sensitive information stays secure.

Hopefully this article has given you something to think about before buying the cheapest auto insurance policy you can find. Remember -- if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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