Are you a car owner or planning to purchase a car soon? The following are eight free services that can make life easier and more affordable for car owners:
- Insurance quote-comparison websites
Many car owners do not shop around for car insurance once they have purchased a policy. A recent study by Consumer Reports showed that more than 75 percent had not shopped for car insurance in the past 12 months. The same study found that insurance companies revised their pricing every 6 to 12 months. This means that many long-term customers end up paying higher rates simply because they fail to compare rates.
Use online services like CoverHound to obtain a free online auto insurance quote from at least three insurance providers every two to three years. This will ensure that you get the best deal possible and keep your premiums low.
- Insurance company policy vetting
Have you found a great deal from an insurance provider? Before you purchase the policy, be sure to check the company out. Check with federal and state agencies as well as with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and A.M. Best for information and ratings on insurance providers. You may also want to check out what other consumers have to say about the insurance provider on review websites or with consumer protection organizations such as the Better Business Bureau.
- Online insurance calculators
Various factors are taken into consideration when determining what you pay as an insurance premium. Many of these factors change as your life progresses (e.g. getting married, having kids or changing jobs). You can determine how these factors will affect your insurance premiums by using free online insurance calculators.
Although these calculators won’t give you an accurate figure for what your rate will be, they allow you to approximate the effect of various factors on your premiums and therefore allow you to plan better.
- Online license renewal
A recent report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety showed that one in five fatal car accidents in the U.S. involves a driver whose driver’s license status is either invalid or a mystery to law enforcement. The same report revealed that over 8,400 people die daily in accidents involving unlicensed drivers.
Driving without a license is a criminal offense. You could face jail time or hefty fines if caught. You could also face hiked rates in insurance premiums. It is therefore important to renew your license before it expires and avoid these and other problems.
- Online car markets
Are you looking to upgrade your car? You can do so for free on online car markets like ebay, Cars.com and even Craigslist. Sell your car or buy a new one for a reasonable rate. Be sure to have the car inspected by an independent party (not the seller’s mechanic) before you make the purchase.
- Online car reports
Before you purchase that dream car, be sure to check out what the experts say about it. Read free online reports from consumer protection agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission and other authorities in the industry to be sure of your choice.
- Online vehicle history checks
Are you planning to buy a used car? You should check the car’s history (i.e. CarFax to find out if it has ever been involved in an accident, it’s maintenance history and who it is registered to.
- Recalls look up services
Has your car been recalled? You may not have received a notification in the mail but you can check online to see if your car needs to be taken to the dealer for service.
There are many other free online services available today. Taking advantage of these services will allow you to stay on top of your expenses and obligations.