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woman holding car keysMost Chicago car insurance shoppers are guilty of not performing their due diligence before purchasing insurance. This can lead to things like missed discounts, holes in coverage and cheap replacement parts. By asking these five questions, you can be sure that you aren’t missing out on anything your insurance agency offers.

1. Am I getting all of the discounts available?

This is the most important question to ask your insurance agent. There are hundreds of potential discounts based on everything from a safe driving record to being part of a professional organization. Some of the most common discounts come from having safety features like an anti-theft device, anti-lock brakes, air bags and remote location devices. In addition, if you happen to have a home owner’s policy through the same agent, you may qualify for a multiple policy discount.

There are even some discounts for attending or graduating from a particular school or for maintaining a high grade-point average while in college. The common link between all of these is, if you don’t ask you may be missing out on serious savings.

2. Comprehensive and Collision Insurance, is it right for me?

Depending on the value of your vehicle, you may not want to put comprehensive or collision insurance on it. If your car is worth $4000 and the deductible for your coverage is $1000, the most you will get back from your insurance agency if your car is totaled is $3000. If you pay $300 a month for this coverage, you’ll have spent more than the value of your policy in just 10 months. On the other hand, it makes great sense to fully insure a $40,000 car.

3. Do I have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage?

This is a particularly important type of coverage, for it will cover you if  an uninsured motorist causes damage to you or your car. It usually doesn’t require you to pay a deductible and can cover some of your medical bills. Unfortunately, comprehensive and collision insurance will only cover the repair of your car.

I4. If my car is totaled, how much compensation will I get?

There are two types of policies that cover totaled cars: one pays "actual cash value", while the other pays an "agreed-upon value." If you insure your car worth $25,000 with an actual cash-value policy when you first get it and your claim is made eight months later you may be paid the actual cash value (the depreciated market value) which could be only $18,000. With an agreed-upon value, you can insure it for the purchase price and be paid $25,000.

5. Does my policy cover OEM parts?

OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts are often not covered by cheaper policies. This allows the insurance company to use less expensive, and potentially inferior, replacement parts. If you are concerned with this, make sure your policy covers OEMs.

By asking these 5 questions, a savvy car insurance buyer will be able to get the needed coverage for the best price. This means you’ll always know exactly what is covered and what claims can be made. This could be the difference between thinking you are covered and actually having the coverage you need. For any of your car insurance needs, give Thornton Powell a call at 708-597-2800.

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