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Tips on Understanding the Right Auto Insurance for You

Every January, Americans resolve to "exercise more" or "lose weight" in the coming year, but most likely "get smarter about insurance" is not at the top of their self-improvement resolution lists. However, setting this goal may be more important than one might think. In fact, according to a recent survey by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), even though most Americans feel they have about the right amount of insurance coverage (72 percent), only 33 percent say they understand the details of those policies "very well."

Luckily, this unfortunate — and often costly — information gap is completely avoidable. When it comes to insurance, knowledge is your best policy. That's why the NAIC and state insurance departments are encouraging consumers to get smart about their coverage.

Consumers are urged to call the Get Smart Hotline toll-free at
1-866-SMARTWEEK or visit www.naic.org/gsw to request a free brochure and get information on what they need and should expect from insurance coverage. NAIC and the state insurance departments serve as objective sources of information that can help consumers understand the complexities of insurance coverage.

To gauge Americans' understanding and perceptions of their insurance coverage, telephone surveys of 1,009 adults who are 18 years and older were conducted by the national research company OCR International.

The number of people who think they have the right amount of insurance has increased since a year ago (72 percent versus 67 percent, respectively). However, the number of consumers who say they understand the details of their coverage "very well" has remained about the same (33-34 percent).

The youngest adults (ages 18-24) are the least likely to understand the details very well (20 percent). Understanding increases with age, as almost half of the participants 65 and older claim they know their insurance details very well (45 percent).

  • Consumers are encouraged to take several steps to become more educated about their insurance coverage.
  • Call your state insurance department or visit your state insurance department's Web site for free tips and up-to-date information prior to purchasing health, life, auto, home, or other insurance coverage.

  • Schedule a routine "check-up" with your insurance providers at least once a year. Inquire about the cost benefit of opting for higher deductibles.

  • Ask specifically about discounts for good driving records, good health, good grades, special education, or training.

  • Shop around for identical products and services. Not every company charges the same rate.

  • Remember an insurance policy is a legal document. Read it carefully.

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