Getting your car insured is a must for vehicle owners in the Philippines. Not only is it required by the Land Transportation Office (LTO); Filipino drivers are exposed to daily risks that can do serious and expensive damage to their car. Philippine law requires us to get Compulsory Third Party Liability (CTPL) insurance upon registering our car, which only covers property damage or injuries in case the insured vehicle causes any accidents. Comprehensive car insurance is what will really protect you and help you cut costs in case of flooding or accidents on the road.
Buying car insurance for the first time can be intimidating, especially when you don’t understand what you’re buying. It helps to ask insurance providers a lot of questions before making a decision. Here are 8 important questions that your provider should be able to answer as you find the right insurance deal for you.

What type of coverage do I need?

Comprehensive car insurance isn’t always comprehensive. You need to purchase add-ons to protect your vehicle against events like Acts of Nature, riots, or vandalism. Whether or not it’s wise to purchase these add-ons depends on your car and how you use it. Be up-front about these things when talking to the insurance agent so that he or she can make the best recommendations for your needs.

Can you explain my policy in layman’s terms?

As the driver and car-owner, it is important that you fully-understand everything before signing it. Ask the insurance provider to explain all the fine print for you.

Are there any hidden fees?

Whatever the cost of the premium, you might be hit by fees. Insurance providers should give you a “schedule of fees”, that may include items like cancellation fees or change of address. Be aware of what these fees are and negotiate with the provider to waive or lower them.

What is my car’s value?

Many people overlook the value of their car and how this will impact the cost of their insurance. Some old cars that you can buy for cheap might actually be uninsurable. Before signing the dotted line, find out if you can afford both the car and insurance coverage.

How do I report a claim?

Convenience is an important consideration in buying car insurance. Find an insurance provider that you can call 24/7 as any accidents can happen any time of the day. Ask on the details for reporting a claim rather than panicking on the actual event. Peace of mind is the main purpose of having your car covered anyway.

Is there a local agent in my area?

If you live in a place far from the Metro, like in the province – it’s better to ask for the contact information of the insurance agent in your area. People who meet in person with their agent often get better customer service, and it’s easier to ask questions about your coverage in this manner.

Can I get a discount?

Don’t be shy about asking for a discount. There are many ways for you to lower your premium, so it’s worth asking if there are any discounts you qualify for.

What are the payment options?

It’s smarter to go for an insurance provider with a payment schedule that’s easy on your wallet. Ask your agent about all possible payment options if you can’t afford to pay an annual fee. Most companies have annual and six-month premiums, while others with more frequent options may add a surcharge. Conversely, you may also get a discount for paying the annual cost at once.

Do you have tips for first-time car insurance buyers? Share in the comments below!

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