The first time you go car insurance shopping in Jamaica can be overwhelming.
Not all car insurance companies in Jamaica are made equal, some are good and some are just a waste of time.
But following these steps will help make the process much smoother.
1. Avoid falling for gimmicks and promotions
Most Jamaican insurance companies spend money on flashy advertisements to attract new customers.
Advertising is fine, there’s nothing wrong with that.
However, many times they will offer “one-time deals” that look great at first, but are often full of fine prints, making them less valuable than they seem.
2. Get quotes from several different companies
Getting a quote is the easiest way to compare prices between companies.
So there’s no reason not to get quotes from 3 or 4 different ones, if you plan on using this method for price comparison.
It also ensures that the quote you are ultimately given is an accurate representation of what you should be paying for car insurance.
3. Test drive different insurers
One of the most important factors in deciding on a Jamaican car insurance company is to make sure you are comfortable with them as a company and their representatives as people.
Call their customer service line, ask questions online, or find out if they have any office locations near you and visit them during business hours.
Get a feel for how well they communicate and treat customers before signing on the dotted line.
Some insurance companies in Jamaica have very bad customer service whether it’s in-person or over the phone.
So test them out to see if they really value your business.
4. Read your auto insurance policy carefully before signing up
Most people won’t read an entire policy until after they sign up for it.
This is unfortunate because reading a policy will help you understand what coverage you already have that is not included, so that you don’t end up paying for something you already have.
5. Don’t assume that the cheapest policy is the best policy
We as Jamaicans love low prices but when it comes on to your car insurance be careful.
There are many different factors and variables involved in determining car insurance premiums from age, driving record and location.
So make sure to take a close look at what each company offers and how they rate those things differently before settling on a price or features.
6. Find out which discounts you qualify for before going shopping
Most Jamaican car insurance companies offer discounts such as multi-vehicle & multi-policy reductions, good driver discounts, and safe driver discounts just to name a few examples.
Make sure that your agent knows about any of these qualifications upfront, it will save time later.
7. Test out payments and payment history ahead of time
This is especially important if you are required to pay your premium upfront.
Many companies require much larger down payments than the final balance, so make sure that you can afford to do this (and that it’s preferable for your situation).
Also, test out how easy it is to make electronic payments and set up automatic monthly ones so that you don’t find yourself paying late fees or forgetting entirely.
Almost all Jamaican banks make it east to pay to major insurance providers on the island.
8. Shop around for insurance quotes at least once per year
Many car insurance companies will give price reductions after a period of good driving, so consider changing insurers every six months or so if they offer discounts for new customers.
If you’re satisfied with the service and rates held by your insurer, then there’s no reason to go look for something new.
9. Don’t be afraid of changing insurance carriers if you get into an accident
Or even if you have some other infraction on your driving record.
Just because you’ve had one ticket (or even two) in your life does not mean you won’t find a cheaper price, and sometimes car insurance companies will reward good drivers with better prices than bad drivers.
Consider switching after getting a speeding ticket or other minor violation to save some money.
10. Learn all of the different discounts available before shopping
There are many different types of discounts that may apply to you, depending on where you live, how old your car is and what kind of car it is.
So learn about what might apply ahead of time to make the claims process easier.
For example, if you are a college student, be aware that some companies may give discounts for being an organ donor or for having good grades.
11. Consider bundling your car insurance with your home or renter’s insurance policy
Many home and renters insurance policies will allow you to bundle all three of these services into one discounted package, so consider asking about this option instead of paying for all three policies separately.
They will also often give more comprehensive coverage than would usually be available by purchasing auto insurance alone (with homeowners as the primary insurer).
So this is another advantage to considering bundling.
12. Don’t be afraid of cancelling your policy with one company right after signing up with another
Although Jamaican vehicle insurance companies will usually charge a cancelation fee for terminating your policy early, this is sometimes negotiable with good reason which is finding a cheaper rate.
If they don’t want to work with you on the cancelation fee, then consider just waiting until the following year when you can switch again without paying an additional cent.
13. Keep in mind that most discounts only apply during the initial purchase period
The next time you buy insurance, most companies will not apply any of the discounts that you had before.
If they do offer these cheaper rates on your second purchase, then make sure to ask about what requirements need to be met such as good grades and no accidents in order to receive cheaper premiums again.
14. Make sure all information on your car is up-to-date
Before you go insurance shopping, be prepared with an accurate list of the number of miles on your car’s odometer and what kind of shape it’s in.
Whether you just a bought a new car or it’s an old vehicle. Even something as simple as adding some new tires can lower the premium on some policies.
15. Your best bet is probably sticking with an independent or smaller Jamaican car insurer
While large car insurance companies usually offer cheaper rates than others, they also tend to have lower customer satisfaction ratings, due to having less personalized service when filing claims.
If all else fails, consider choosing an indicator other than price alone (such as customer satisfaction) in order to determine which company is the best match for you.
Car ownership is nothing to take lightly so you should be prepared for the costs that comes with it.
In the video below, Sasha gives a break down on the steps it takes to buy a car in Jamaica.