By Bryan Silver
A few years back, GEICO ran a rather humorous TV commercial that put forth a rather caustic commentary—that the only people not aware of GEICO’s ability to save a fairly specific amount of money on car insurance must be living under a rock (Try typing “GEICO” and “rock” into your favorite search bar if you want to take a look)
So what’s today’s takeaway? If we’re to listen to current advertisers, you’d think car insurance is a light-hearted industry with an easy-to-understand product offering where price point is all you have to worry about. Well, nothing could be further from the truth—no matter what we’re told by talking lizards or overly energetic spokeswomen with overly coiffed hair.
While car insurance shouldn’t be viewed as complicated, it is complex and what you don’t know could hurt you. I wish the benefit of knowing your coverage inside and out could be summed up with some colorful idiom or cautionary proverb similar to “measure twice, cut once,” but I don’t know of any sayings that are insurance specific (incidentally, the Russian version of the aforementioned proverb translates to “measure seven times, cut once”—talk about risk management!)
Albeit the process of obtaining car insurance might be “so easy, a caveman could do it,” the effort does require an informed cave-man to get the most out of one’s coverage—and in an era when a multi-car accident involving several luxury brands could financially knock you back into the stone age, making the right choices is more important than ever.
Keep in mind, all insurance isn’t always aimed at the catastrophic or worst-case-scenario. My father made it a point to fill his trunk with a number of indispensable items like jumper cables, reflectors and patch kits—things he referred to as “cheap insurance”—ready to remedy the problems that have plagued drivers since the days of running boards and rumble seats. Check out the aisles of your local hardware store for the latest modern equivalents (Also see Gadgets, page 6) and make sure you’re prepared the next time such issues strand you on the side of the road.
Remember that it’s your peace of mind and financial protection that you’re paying for, not the views of your insurer’s agent, their adjusters or even their chatty mascot that makes everything sound so simple.