When it comes to car insurance, the options can be overwhelming. That's why we sat down with our in-house expert, Fred Hippo, who brings 28 years of insurance industry experience. For Fred, helping people comprehend their insurance policies and safeguard their loved ones and assets is more than a job—it's a deeply rewarding experience.
What is the first thing you should look for when shopping for car insurance?
Fred: The first thing you should do is take the time to research and use the tools that are on the internet. Use comparison sites (like OCHO) to understand your needs, coverage, and what insurance companies are available in the market.
Can you pinpoint the most critical insurance red flag 🚩 to watch out for?
Fred: Transparency is critical. When seeking an insurance policy, whether with or without an agent, asking to review many quotes from various carriers is crucial. The agents should show the quotes to you in a clear and understandable format.
OCHO takes pride in transparently displaying your options, empowering you to make the best choice. We do all the hard work of finding quotes, and we let you choose. We don't make it for you. That way, you can know you are making the best decision.
What's something nobody tells people when you are insurance shopping?
Fred: That would be: all insurance companies, agents, or brokers charge a fee for their services. That's why the price might change in the total amount you'll be paying depending on the agent or broker you are working with. It is essential to know and understand the fees the insurance companies and agents/brokers charge you.
Most companies charge the fee the first time you pay for your policy. That's why prices can suddenly climb to a very high amount. At OCHO, we have a low broker fee spread out over 12 installments, making it much easier to afford.
What are your top 3 tips for people who want to change their insurance company?
1. Don't always go with the cheapest option. Go with the best coverage, and if you can do so, select coverages that are well above the state minimum of limit coverage because the state minimums may not protect you adequately as a consumer. Using a site like OCHO allows you to transparently review different coverage and deductible options that suit your budget and needs. So go ahead and explore them! At OCHO, we believe you deserve better, so we created OCHO Plus, which offers more coverage than state minimums and can help prevent a financial disaster. OCHO Plus adds important coverages like Underinsured Motorists and Medical Pay Coverage.
*Did you know there are official web pages that show you the state minimums required per State?
Here's what the state minimums are in Illinois: https://www.ilsos.gov/publications/pdf_publications/vsd361.pdf
2. Understand the policies you're purchasing to know what your coverages mean, and you can compare policies before making a buyer decision. It's equally important as you're shopping for insurance to ensure you're protecting yourself properly and other people on the road.
Coverages like bodily injury and property damage protect other people, whereas uninsured motorists or uninsured property damage protect you.
3. Know the carrier and broker fees that you're paying. Often, fees can add hundreds of dollars a year to your insurance cost.
What other things do you consider essential for auto insurance shopping besides what you shared with us?
Just a couple more things.
1. Know what's at stake when you buy the "Cheapest Coverage". Make sure you compare your insurance quotes to look beyond the price. The lowest price may mean you are sacrificing important coverages that are critical to protecting your family. In addition to Bodily Injury and Bodily Injury Property Damage that is required in most states by law, make sure your policy includes Uninsured Motorist / Underinsured Motorist Coverage, Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Coverage, and Medical Payments which can protect you in the event of an accident.
2. If you're buying Physical Damage Coverage, Collision and Comprehensive Coverage protects your vehicle (Also known as Full Coverage). Consider taking a higher Collision or Comprehensive deductible. Take the premium savings from buying the higher deductible and purchase the coverages suggested in tip 1.
3. Know the discounts you're eligible for and explore the deals! Insurance companies offer a wide range of discounts, so take the time to understand what you qualify for.
4. Finally, Shop your insurance once a year with your insurance comparison website or agent. Your needs will change over time, and shopping for your policies will help you secure the best coverage and value.
With Fred Hippo's insights, you can navigate the world of car insurance with clarity and confidence. Remember, informed decisions lead to better protection for what matters most. Discover more at https://www.ocho.co/.