All those car insurance advertisements you see on TV have one thing in common: They want your business. On a typical day, the average driver will see multiple insurance commercials, most of which promote different types of services or discounts offered by various companies. This post seeks to clarify some of those features and help you better understand how they could affect you.
Bundle and Save
When you purchase car insurance, chances are your insurer is going to try to capture your home or renter’s coverage needs too. Insurance companies often extend discounts to drivers who purchase more than one line of coverage, whether it is home and auto or some other combination. Progressive Insurance commercials call it the Bundle-and-Save discount, but the savings are available from most other insurers, too. Tell your independent agent if you have multiple vehicles, property, or even recreational vehicles like an RV or motorcycle, as there may be bundling discounts available for most or all of your coverage needs.
Safe Driving Bonus Check
Save drivers cost insurance companies less to protect since cautious driving practices tend to prevent accidents. If you consider yourself a safe driver, the Safe Driving Bonus Check probably sounds like a good perk. After all, who wouldn’t want a cash reward for safe driving?
When you start to examine the Safe Driving Bonus a little further, though, you find that it comes with some heavy stipulations. First, you must have good credit and a clean driving history, which qualifies you for enrollment in an eligible tier of the Your Choice Auto Program. Next, you must pay to enroll in the program, which instantly raises your overall cost. Finally, you must remain accident-free for the duration of each policy period to get your bonus. In most cases, bonuses are worth no more than five percent of the premium paid during the previous policy period. If the bonus is not enough to meet the payment threshold, it must be applied to future premiums or else forfeited.
Alternatively, you could talk to an agent here at Frydach Insurance about discounts and benefits for safe drivers that are available from various Wisconsin insurers.
Unless you buy your cars with cash or big down-payments, you’ve probably heard of GAP insurance before. This coverage is designed to pay the difference between the insurance company settlement and the remaining balance on your car loan if you total your vehicle in an accident. Depending on how rapidly your vehicle depreciates and how slowly you pay off the balance, this coverage could potentially save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. However, most drivers do not need coverage for the life of the loan.
We recommend purchasing GAP protection through an independent agent for a couple of reasons. First, an independent agent can shop around to make sure you are getting a competitive rate on your GAP and auto coverage. Second, by adding GAP to your car insurance and not purchasing it independently from a car dealership or lender who charges you years of premiums upfront, you are able to drop the coverage once you no longer owe more on your car than it is worth. This helps save you money and prevents you from purchasing coverage you do not need.
Name Your Price Tool
We’ll pause part one of this post with the Name Your Price Tool from Progressive. For the amount of time this feature has been advertised, it is highly likely that millions of people have used it to instantly save money on car insurance. Most probably received a quote from Progressive, only to find that getting an even lower price requires reducing or eliminating certain types of coverage.
Since insurance is designed to protect you and your future, it does not make much sense to cut down to the bare minimum. Doing so leaves you at risk of being under-insured and vulnerable to major financial losses that could total tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Instead, try working with an independent agent who can assess your unique risk factors. Then, compare prices for the coverage you actually need from multiple insurers to find a policy that works for you.
New Car Replacement
Do you know ‘Brad’? You know – the name of the car the young driver totaled on the Liberty Mutual commercial? She loved Brad, but she broke into her happy dance when Liberty Mutual paid for another car to replace it. That’s because she had New Car Replacement or Better Car Replacement coverage from her insurance company.
In most cases, insurers only cover a vehicle for its depreciated cash value. New Car Replacement is an add-on feature available from many different insurance companies that promise to replace a totaled vehicle with another one of the same year, make, and model. In the case of used cars, some insurers even pay for a vehicle with fewer miles and a full model year newer.
Terms and conditions tend to vary between companies, though. For example, Liberty Mutual’s New Car Replacement pays to replace a new car that is less than one year old. On the other hand, Travelers Insurance offers a Premier New Car Replacement program that will pay for a replacement for up to five full years of ownership.
How much would your insurance rates go up if you caused an accident? Unless you have Allstate’s Accident Forgiveness or a similar coverage from another insurer, it could be as little as 10 percent or as much as 40 percent. Allstate sells Accident Forgiveness to customers who enroll in the Your Choice Auto Program. To qualify, you may need a clean driving record and a good credit score.
While Accident Forgiveness can save you money in the event of an accident, it can also cost money to add it to your policy. Acuity, Progressive, The Hartford, Nationwide, and Integrity Insurance are just a few examples of insurance companies offering similar coverage. Some, such as Integrity, even offer it for free after five years.
Next up is Roadside Assistance, another feature promoted by Liberty Mutual. The company will pay for fuel delivery, jump-starting your battery, unlocking your vehicle, or even towing your car to a repair facility. All of this comes at an additional cost, but it can provide peace of mind for policy-holders who want to protect themselves and other drivers on their policy against vulnerable situations.
Although Roadside Assistance is advertised in humorous Liberty Mutual commercials, several other companies offer similar coverage. Talk to an agent here at Frydach Insurance to add 24-hour roadside protection to your policy.
The Discount Double-Check commercials are State Farm’s way of saying they will find all of the discounts you deserve from their own company. Agents commit to combing through the policies of drivers to ensure every possible discount has been applied, from vehicle safety discounts to good student discounts. The catch is most other insurance companies offer the same or similar discounts, and another agent can do the exact same thing. However, only an independent agent can compare discounts from multiple insurance companies to maximize the value you receive on coverage.
When it comes to commercials, insurance companies have only seconds to sell you on a specific feature or benefit. However, there is usually much more than meets the eye. Next time you see a new ‘discount’ or advertised insurance feature that sparks your interest, contact your independent agent to get the real story. In many cases, the same coverage is available from competitors – and often at a more affordable price.