Written by attorney Howard Evan Skolnick

Purchasing Automobile Insurance

Many times drivers do not think of reviewing their auto insurance policies to see if something needs to be updated until they have a change in their life such as a new family member beginning to drive or a new car being purchased. They buy their policy – and forget about it.

Periodic review of the policy however, is a good thing, and may in fact save you money.

Factors to Consider When Reviewing Your Car Insurance Policy

1) Who is covered?

Since you bought your policy you may have more or fewer drivers in your home.

Since you bought your policy have you been married or divorced? Has a teenager begun to drive? Has there been a death in your household of a driver? Are you living with a roommate, or has a roommate recently moved out?

2) Do you have the same vehicle as when you bought your policy?

Periodically review your auto insurance coverage to make sure that you have the right type of coverage for the vehicles that you own. If you purchased a vehicle without using an auto loan you want to check with an agent to make sure you have the appropriate coverage for the vehicle.

3) Many types of coverage!

Ohio requires that your insurance policy meet the state’s minimum requirements for coverage. It’s likely however that you may want to discuss with an agent additional coverage options with an insurance agent including liability, collision and comprehensive, uninsured/underinsured bodily injury, uninsured/underinsured property damage, medical payments, rental vehicle, emergency roadside assistance and gap insurance.

4) How to shop for insurance.

The Ohio BMV recommends the following (

•Get quotes from several agents and companies. • Licensed agents can quote prices over the phone, company websites offer online quotes and the Ohio Department of Insurance shows sample premiums on its website (; however, your price won’t be firm until the company investigates your background • Investigating includes checking your driving record with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles • The company could also check your credit information • Always give complete information, including any traffic tickets or accidents you have had — the company may ask you to list them as far back as five years

The need for an agent

Whether or not you go through an agent is completely up to you! • A good insurance agent can be an asset: this is often the person you turn to first if you have a claim or problem with the policy • You may buy insurance from an agent who sells policies for only one insurance company or from an “independent” that is licensed to sell insurance for numerous companies • Some companies do not use agents, but sell their policies by mail or online

Shop for service

If you’ve been satisfied with your company’s service in the past, it may not be smart to jump to an unknown company just to save a few dollars on premiums. The lowest price will not be the best deal unless it is combined with good service. Ask friends and relatives about the companies and agents they have used.

Insuring a rental car

Car rental companies hold you responsible for any physical damage to the car while you’re renting it. How do I protect myself if renting a car? If you have collision coverage on your own car, find out if it covers rentals. If it doesn’t, you may want to purchase a Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) from the rental company. This covers collision damage to rental vehicles, and it can add $5 or more to the daily rental charge. • Read your policy carefully to make sure there are no limits on when a rental is covered — if in doubt, check with your insurance agent or company • Some policies pay for a rental only while your car is being repaired as the result of an accident —but not when you are on vacation • Some credit cards provide collision coverage whenever you use the card to pay for a rental

Adding a teenage driver?

• Once a teen becomes licensed your auto insurance premium will go up, no matter how much he or she actually drives • While your teenager is driving with a temporary (learner’s) permit, your premium might not be affected at all • Check with the agent or company about the right time to add the teen to your policy

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