Dear Lifehacker, So it's time to renew my car insurance policy. Do you think it is better to stick with the same company or shop around? Sticking with AAMI for me is not the cheapest, but it is the cheapest for $600 excess and $22,000 value if the car is totalled. However, I've been rating one for three years, and they don't seems to offer any deal for three-year customers. Thanks, Insure Thing
It never hurts to shop around, provided you have plenty of free time and patience. Comparing car insurers is never easy -- they all have their own unique policies and caveats that may not be clear upon first perusal.
For instance, last year, thieves broke into my car and ripped out the ignition, which rendered it undrivable. I then learned to my chagrin that my car insurance didn't cover free tows in cases of vandalism. Ergo, it always pays to read the small print!
There are also many other factors you need to take into account, including how easy it is to put through a claim, the reliability of their customer service and the kinds of incentives they offer, such as free car hire or taxi fares in the event of an accident.
A good starting point is to visit a few comparison websites like InfoChoice or Captain Compre, although it's important to note that not all companies/policies will be represented. The next step is to ring around and ask for quotes -- which you can then compare against what they offer on their websites.
Alternatively, you could attempt to request a discount with AAMI at renewal time. The car insurance industry is incredibly competitive; many insurers will agree to knock off a few dollars in a bid to keep your business.
If any of our readers have a car insurance company they swear by, let us know in the comments section below.
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