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Money Savvy Weekend | Financial Planner

Checklist: Auto Insurance

Things to do this weekend with your money: The possibility of higher auto insurance premiums means it's more important than ever to comparison shop.

May 26, 2000|LIZ PULLIAM WESTON

* Today: Know your policy. To get an apples-to-apples comparison, you'll need to know your current coverage limits and deductibles as well as whether you're paying for add-ons such as rental car coverage. Not sure whether your coverage is adequate? If you have an insurance agent, discuss the issue. You can also check out major Internet insurance sites for tutorials. Some to try: Quicken at http://www.quicken.com or InsWeb at http://www.insweb.com.

* Saturday: Check the state Department of Insurance's auto insurance premium survey to get an idea of which companies tend to offer the lowest prices for your situation and city; the Web site is http;//www.insurance.ca.gov, and the phone number is in your local directory. The department also monitors which companies tend to get the most and the least complaints from their customers. Or get detailed, comprehensive quotes from Consumer Reports (http://www.consumerreports.org); a list of up to 25 quotes costs $12 for the first vehicle and $8 for each additional vehicle. For more information, visit http://www.consumerreports.org/Services/autoinsure.html or call (800) 224-9495.

* Sunday: Once you have a short list of four or five insurers, begin asking for quotes. Call the companies' toll-free numbers or visit their Web sites; some offer instant quotes, whereas others may take a day or so to get back to you. You can also try the major insurance Web sites such as Quicken, InsWeb and Quotesmith at http://www.quotesmith.com, but none of the sites is truly comprehensive and you probably will need to check with at least one or two insurers not covered by those sites. Be sure to contact the insurer that carries your homeowners or renters policy because special discounts may apply.

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