Every January, my phone reminds me to automatically renew my car’s insurance policy. This year was different. I told my husband that I want to see the different rates among the top car insurers in the country. And instead of making phone calls, I checked MoneyMax.ph, a website that lets you compare car insurance premiums from different companies. A friend introduced me to this innovative portal mid-January while we had coffee and talked about careers, personal finance and technology. What great timing.

On the MoneyMax website, I put in the details of my 5-year old SUV and gave my email address and phone number to receive a quote for comprehensive coverage.

moneymax website

It is so convenient and easy to use. The following day, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a call from a MoneyMaxPH Comparison Advisor who confirmed my inquiry and answered my questions. After a few minutes, I received a quotation listing five insurers, which allowed me to compare my options more easily.

There are three major factors when choosing an insurance company. “1. Reputation: Ask around and see what others are using and judge by their experiences. 2. Financial Capability: The bigger net worth, the better coverage and service you’ll receive. 3. Stability: Have they been around long enough and have weathered crises? Then chances are, they’re stable enough to lean on in troubled times.”

When faced with various quotes, it still pays to do your own research on the reputation, financial capability and stability of the insurance company. Choosing the lowest- priced car insurance company is easy, but I like to make sure the final choice is reputable enough and will cover you adequately after an accident or Acts of Nature. MoneyMax.ph partnered with some of the best insurers in the Philippines which makes it easier to find the right car insurance that fits your needs.

Among the quotes from my MoneyMax Comparison Advisor, Federal Phoenix seemed to be the most attractive. It has an affordable annual premium and a lower participation fee of 4,000 pesos. However, I don’t decide based on the premium cost alone. I’d rather pay a few extra pesos and be assured my car insurer is there to pay when I file a claim. In the end, I chose Mafpre Insurance, because I am familiar with this company and have filed claims before without problems. I also appreciate their after-sales service where they send gentle reminders that my car insurance policy needed to be renewed.

It’s good to see that the comparison quote shows the “Acts of Nature” cover. Back in 2009, I had no idea that the “Acts of Nature or Acts of God” was part of a comprehensive cover which led my husband to choose a low-cost policy because of the savings. I could not claim the “Acts of God” for one car when Typhoon Ondoy flood waters inundated our home. The Philippines has its share of natural calamities and even if one does not live in a flood-prone area, every car should get that protection.

I looked around for other users of moneymax.ph and arranged an interview with Jennifer Canoza, a wedding and events coordinator who drives her SUV from her home in Sta. Mesa to events in Metro Manila and as far as Batangas. Having bought her car in 2013, Jennifer relied on an insurance agent who recommended People’s General. She had no problems with People’s General except that she wanted to see if she can get a better deal from other car insurance companies.

interviewing with moneymax

On the second year, her insurance agent gave a quote of 20,000 pesos. She researched online to check reviews of other car insurance companies. Besides finding a low-cost policy, she also wanted to buy insurance from a reputable company that responds quickly to claims. A friend told her to visit MoneyMax.ph. To her surprise, she received a call immediately from a MoneyMax Comparison Advisor upon submitting her request online. She was reassured that their quotations comes from the top, reputable insurance companies with a good track record.  The following day, she received an email with the quotation of five insurers in a tabular format. After more discussions with her MoneyMax Comparison Advisor , Jennifer chose Federal Phoenix for its easy installment payments and savings of four thousand pesos. Jennifer added that she liked the personal service of her MoneyMax Comparison Advisor who guided her every step of the way.

It’s good to have a resource that lets you compare different insurance premiums, and provides advisors who can answer any question you might have about the policies. Let’s see if MoneyMax has a better recommendation for me when I renew my car insurance in 2016.

nissan-teana-posingBuying a new car is exciting. My ten year old red car was breaking down so often in the early 90s, that fixing it was not worth it anymore. While the law requires a basic level of car insurance called third party insurance, I wanted more coverage. Comprehensive insurance is the type of coverage I apply for, ever since the brand new car of a family member was forcibly taken away at the parking lot in Ortigas center. He had no choice but to surrender the car keys because a gun was aimed at him. Fortunately, the family member was not harmed. The sad part is the car was not insured for theft. Goodbye 800,000 pesos! One never imagines that a car will be forcibly taken away from us and I didn’t want that to happen to my brand new family car.

I only had two requirements that my car insurance policy:

1. The Market value of the car, in case of theft
2. Reputable insurance company

Shopping around for car insurance were limited to accredited companies of the car companies. The world wide web was not yet around so I had to rely on word of mouth or familiar names that I had seen on TV or the newspapers.

I picked up lessons on car insurance policy in the past 20 years. The car insurance can be very pricey especially in the first few years. The insurance expense was not a burden with just one car but I had to reconsider another insurance company when I got a second car. It pays to get three quotations. This second insurance company was more affordable than the previous one. This insurance company lists a table for each car model and the appropriate premium. Not content with the default premiums, I always requested for a discount and I got it. “Ask and you shall receive” is something I learned.

cars damaged by Ondoy

The most painful lesson of all is not reading the fine print. The relentless rains from typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) in October 2009 resulted to severe flooding in Luzon, particularly in Metro Manila. We were not spared , with waist deep brown waters inside our two-storey house. This included the three Honda cars in the garage: a seven year-old black CRV, a 10 year-old Silver CRV and a two month old white sedan. I did not worry about the damage because I was just grateful that everyone was safe.

The time came when I called the three insurance firms about their coverage. I discovered the comprehensive insurance of our 10 year-old SUV did not contain Acts of God (or Acts of Nature). Only our seven year-old SUV and the newly bought sedan got full coverage. I received 320,000 pesos, a percentage of the market value of a seven year-old Honda CRV, which was 600,000. It was not enough to buy a new car but together with the insurance claim of the white car, I was able to buy a brand new SUV. My husband was the one who junked my usual car insurer and got another one because it was very cheap. I never bothered to find out why it was cheaper by 3,000 pesos. The ten year old SUV was sold for scrap and I used it to make a downpayment for a second-hand car.

So now, my requirements for car insurance must have this criteria:

1. Acts of nature
2. Market value of the car, in case of theft
3. Reputable insurance company

I recently learned that 9 out of 10 Filipinos overpay for car insurance. I always compare insurance policies to ensure I get the best value for my money. I used to compare via the phone but now I can do it so much easier these days online! MoneyMax.ph compares all major insurance companies and policies to get you the best deal. It is totally free and independent.

My advice: when you plan to buy a car or renew your policy make sure you compare with www.MoneyMax.ph.