Kansas City, Mo. - The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the trade group for state insurance officials, has established a Web site to provide motorists with tips on purchasing auto insurance.

NAIC started the site, called InsureUonline.org, after seeing a need to educate consumers. The association notes that 15% of drivers were operating their vehicles without insurance in 2004, up from 13% in 1999, according to a 2006 Insurance Research Council study.

"Consumers should carefully assess their auto insurance needs and shop around for the best price and most appropriate type of coverage," says Alessandro A. Iuppa, NAIC president and superintendent of the Maine Bureau of Insurance. "Because auto insurance is a highly competitive market, consumers should find a variety of companies vying for their business."

Consumers should re-evaluate auto coverage each year, according to the site. However, a 2005 NAIC consumer study showed that up to 35% drivers, including those from all stages of life, had not reviewed or updated their auto insurance in the past 12 months.

The study also revealed that 20% of young singles with auto insurance would consider letting their coverage lapse as a way to save money. However, 77% of young families with at least one child reported increasing their auto insurance coverage to more than the legal minimum because of their children.

On the site, Kansas City, Mo.-based NAIC advises visitors to compare rates from different companies, seek multi-policy discounts if purchasing auto and homeowners coverage, and ask about discounts for cars equipped with safety features, such as anti-lock brakes, anti-theft devices and automatic seat belts.

The site also urges consumers to consider raising the deductible on collision or comprehensive insurance, looking for discounts for driving three or more years without an accident or moving violation and dropping collision or comprehensive coverage for older cars.

Consumers should consider changing their policies to reflect changing circumstances in their lives, the site suggests. Drivers can safely reduce coverage on a car that won’t be driven for a long period of time but may want to increase coverage for a vehicle used for carpooling. Teenage drivers with good grades can qualify for discounts and senior citizens often pay reduced rates.

Before launching the auto insurance site for consumers, NAIC unveiled a site called "Insure U" (www.InsureUonline.org) to help the public understand the costs of health insurance coverage. Association research indicates consumers are confused over health insurance.

NAIC also uses the Web to help regulators and customers get access to association services. That site, StateBasedSystems.com, allows users to file complaints, apply for licenses, verify license status and print copies of licenses without having to send letters, file forms or talk with someone on the phone.

Source: NAIC

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