Insurance companies are constantly on the look-out for new customers. They are in fierce competition with each other, advertising around the clock in an effort to attract a greater share of the market. Since we all need insurance, we all tend to pay attention to what these companies are offering. However, it can be difficult to see through all of the marketing jargon and determine which benefits are worth our time, and which ones we should skip out on. In this post, we will explore the details behind some of the most frequently advertised car insurance features and where you can get them.
We’ll start things off with the State Farm commercials that advertise the Discount Double-Check. This marketing effort is the company’s way of telling you they will go out of their way to make sure you are getting all the discounts you qualify for. Of course, any other insurance agent could do the exact same thing, and should. Agents like those who work for State Farm are loyal to the companies they work for and can only double-check for discounts from one carrier. When you use an independent agent here at Pagel & Associates, we can compare discounts from many different insurance companies on your behalf.
New Car Replacement
Some people save years for a brand new car, only to crash and total it shortly after buying it. Most insurance policies only cover vehicles for their actual cash value, which quickly drops due to depreciation. In fact, the insurance settlement could be thousands less than what you paid for a new car the same day you buy it!
New Car Replacement coverage provides a guaranteed replacement of your vehicle if you total it, swapping it out for another vehicle of the same year, make, and model. You may have seen this benefit promoted by Liberty Mutual, but several other insurance companies offer similar protections. Depending on your needs, an independent agent can match you with an insurer that offers replacement for new or used vehicles – in some cases up to five years of ownership.
Breakdowns happen. So do flat tires, lockouts, dead batteries, and empty fuel tanks. If you find yourself stranded on the side of the road, who will you call? Liberty Mutual wants you to call them since they offer Roadside Assistance as an optional coverage for their policy-holders. However, you can add Roadside Assistance coverage to nearly any policy with any insurer, although the exact coverage details may vary from company to company.
We’ll round out part one of this post by talking about a less frequently advertised coverage called GAP insurance. This protection is designed to make up the difference between your insurance settlement and what you owe on your vehicle if you total your car. Essentially, GAP coverage will pay off the balance of your loan if you owe more on your car than it is worth.
Most insurance companies will let you add GAP coverage to your policy when you finance a vehicle, but lenders and car dealerships also offer this protection at the time of the sale. With dealer and lender-offered coverage, you typically pay upfront for coverage that lasts the duration of the loan – even after you pay down the balance and no longer need it. That means you could be spending more money for coverage you do not need. With traditional insurers, you can drop the coverage once you pay down the loan balance, which usually occurs within the first few years.
Name Your Price Tool
When you’re looking for a way to trim down your spending, naming your own price for insurance might seem like a good place to start. Progressive’s Name Your Price Tool makes it easy to see how various adjustments to your policy can affect the price you pay for coverage. However, it also makes it easy to under-insure yourself. After all, who needs $300,000 of liability protection when $50,000 seems like plenty?
The truth is accidents can happen to anyone – even the safest of drivers. If you under-insure yourself in an attempt to save on premiums, you could end up facing financial damages worth tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Instead of fiddling with coverage limits and other factors, talk to an independent agent here at Pagel & Associates to learn ways of saving on premiums without jeopardizing your coverage.
Car insurance carries many benefits, but its primary purpose is to protect your vehicle and protect your finances against damage stemming from an accident. It’s the assurance you pay hundreds of dollars per year to have, but you hope you never actually need. If you are in an accident, you may be surprised to know your rates could go up by as much as 40 percent of more – just for having one accident!
Accident Forgiveness is designed to protect you against rising rates after a first-time accident. Allstate promotes this benefit in various commercials, promising your rates won’t go up just because of an accident. Of course, it costs extra to enroll in Accident Forgiveness, and you may have to meet certain eligibility criteria, such as a good driving record and good credit. If you still feel like this benefit is something you want in your car insurance, talk to an independent agent here at Pagel & Associates about your options. It turns out that Allstate is not the only company offering this benefit. You can also choose from several others like Liberty Mutual, Nationwide, The Hartford, Progressive, and Integrity Insurance, the latter of which offers accident forgiveness for free to eligible customers of five years or more.
Safe Driving Bonus Check
If you drive safely and meet a lot of other requirements, Allstate will send you a check every six months to reward you. It’s all the ‘other requirements’ that many people don’t pick up on just from watching the commercials. First off, you must enroll in the Your Choice Auto Program, which generally requires good credit, a stellar driving history, and an extra charge on your policy. Next, you must remain accident-free for six months.
At the end of your policy, Allstate will give you a bonus worth up to five percent of your paid premium. If the value of that bonus reaches a certain threshold, you get the bonus in the form of a check. Otherwise, it is credited to your next policy’s premium. As an example, a $500 policy would yield no more than $25 every six months – perhaps enough to take a friend to lunch.
Alternatively, you could talk to your independent agent about other safe driving programs available from various insurers. Some may provide upfront premium discounts, and others may gradually lower the cost of premiums or deductibles over time.
Bundle and Save
Lastly, we have the Bundle-and-Save discount advertised by Progressive. This is arguably one of the most valuable discounts available to drivers, and the good news is it is available in some form from nearly every insurer. To benefit, you simply add renters or home insurance coverage when you purchase your auto coverage. Some companies may even offer the discount for other types of coverage, such as RV and motorcycle. Talk to your independent agent to find out which company may offer the most lucrative savings for your individual needs.
Remember, we here at Pagel & Associates are here to answer your questions and find you the coverage and savings you deserve. Next time you see an insurance commercial that grabs your interest, give us a call to find out what’s really behind the advertising.