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Is there anything worse than having to get car insurance? I don't think anyone in the world looks forward to buying car insurance and for many good reasons. Pushy agents, high prices, and uncertainty as to what you really have to have make the whole experience unpleasant. That is why we created this section, to make it a little easier to understand and to maybe save you a little money along the way.
HOW TO GET GOOD RATES
Most agents will try to just give you a policy without really taking to the time to find out what you need or what you don't want. I don't know about you, but every time I go to get insurance, I feel like they can't get me out of that chair fast enough. It's like they almost don't want you to have enough time to think about what's going on. Of course there is the opposite, which I've had the bad luck to have to deal with, which is the agent who keeps walking away and leaves you sitting there for an hour. What exactly is he doing? If you're supposed to be his customer and he's supposed to be taking care of your policy, why does he keep walking away? Well, unfortunately, I may never have the answers to these questions and this section won't help you figure out why your agent is so annoying but hopefully it will help you understand what you do and don't need.
A helpful tool that not many people utilize is the internet. Getting online quotes is a very easy way to find out what you might be paying in insurance. Online quotes are fast, easy, and can help you find the cheapest insurance rates. Most insurance sites, such as Esurance.com, will ask you a series of questions about you, your car, and your driving record. In their forms they normally ask you a series of yes or no questions regarding a number of discounts that may apply to you. Once you finish the form, they will email you a quote within 10-15 minutes. This quote is accompanied by a name and phone number so you can call and set up your new insurance plan. If you feel like there are more discounts that might apply to you, don't forget to mention them when you call the broker.
To help you get the best rates you can, we've compiled a list of discounts you can get on car insurance. Each one has a description so you can read them over and make sure you're getting of them that apply to you. Sometimes these discounts are small but can make a little difference. Most of the time the agent will ask about at least half of these but he might not mention all of them so be sure to point them out.
AIR BAG DISCOUNT:
Most insurance companies will give you a discount for having air bags in your car. Dual airbags will actually give you more of a discount then just a driver's side airbag will but either way a small percent discount will be given (10% - 30%).
ANTI-THEFT DEVICE DISCOUNT:
When buying comprehensive coverage, a discount will be given for having some sort of anti-theft device. This discount isn't very big but it does help. It's definitely not worth you running out and putting one in to get the discount but if you already have one, make sure you mention it.
ANTI-LOCK BRAKES DISCOUNT:
A small discount is given if your car is equipped with anti-lock brakes. Discounts are different by state and may also vary by 2 or 4 wheel anti-lock systems.
DRIVER TRAINING DISCOUNT:
Small discounts are given for having completed a driver's training course approved by the state. If you have completed one of these you are eligible for a discount. The discount is small and may be different from state to state.
GOOD DRIVER DISCOUNT:
If you have had your license for 3 years and have had 1 or no points on your driving record in those three years, you are eligible for a good driver's discount. This will be verified through the DMV so be sure. You may think you have only one point but the point system is tricky so you may want to call the DMV and find out or request a copy of your driving record. They are $5.00 and list everything including tickets and accidents.
GOOD STUDENT DISCOUNT:
This is a very small discount given for full time students with a "B" average or better. They will want proof so you might want to get a print out from your school before you go down to fill out your paper work.
LOW MILEAGE DISCOUNTS:
Some insurance companies will give you a discount if you will be driving below their set number of miles in their set amount of time. They will check odometers so make sure you won't lose the discount and have to pay the difference back to them.
LOW PROFILE CAR DISCOUNT:
If you own a low profile car, most insurance companies have a small discount for your policy. A low profile car would be described by them as a car not normally targeted for theft and not customized to look flashy.
MATURE DRIVERS DISCOUNT:
The rules for this discount vary from one insurance company to another. For some it means over 65 years old, for others it means over 50 years old and then for a few it means anyone over 25 years old.
This discount is given when you have two or more cars on the same policy but they have to be registered to the same address as the policy address, kept at the same address as the policy address and be registered to someone living in the house. If the car is registered to 2 people and one lives in the house and the other doesn't, the multi-car discount will not apply to that car.
Some insurance companies give small discounts for non-smoking drivers. I've heard this is because of the amount of accidents in which a lit cigarette plays a part.
SENIOR CITIZEN DISCOUNTS:
Age restrictions may but most of the time if the driver is 65 years old or over, there are small senior citizen discounts.
Rates and discounts are mostly determined by:
1. Sex - males have higher rates than females.
2. Age - Over 25 will get you a better rate.
3. Marital Status - Married drivers will have cheaper rates.
4. Driving record - your own past driving record could get you higher rates if its not that good.
5. Vehicle use - Carpool or only work use will get you a better rate.
6. Vehicle type - The type of vehicle you drive will have a lot to do with your rates.
Insurance policies are made of different coverages. These vary in cost and not all of them are required. We've compiled a list of coverages and given a brief description of each. Use this guide to help you figure out what you do and don't need. Don't pay for more coverage than you need.
GENERAL LIABILITY COVERAGE:
This is the base of any insurance plan. This is normally the only required coverage you need to drive legally in most states (financing companies require liability and comp and collision if you are financing a car). Liability covers the damage done to others if you get into an accident and are at fault. This covers their property damage and medical. This can be broken down into 2 parts, bodily injury liability and property damage liability, but is most often put on a policy as one. Most insurance companies won't sell one without the other.
COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE (Comp):
Comp coverage covers anything that happens to your car outside of a collision. It covers break-ins, theft, fire, natural disasters, vandalism, riots, floods, or accidents other than collisions such as hitting something in the road (animal, tire, wood, or anything else that may have ended up in the road). When you are financing a car they will require this and collision as well as general liability.
Collision coverage covers any damage done to your car in the event of a collision with another car or a permanent object such as a pole, fence, or building.
MEDICAL PAYMENTS COVERAGE:
This covers medical expenses up to a certain amount for you and any passengers in your car in the event of an accident whether you are at fault or not.
PERSONAL INJURY COVERAGE:
This generally covers you, your passengers, and any pedestrians that may have been involved in your accident no matter who was at fault. It generally pays for just about everything medically involved. Things like medical bills, compensation for missing work, and funeral costs if necessary. This will always have a definite range of monies to be paid out and will not exceed those even if the medical bills do.
PROPERTY DAMAGE LIABILITY COVERAGE:
See General Liability.
BODILY INJURY LIABILITY COVERAGE:
See General Liability.
UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE:
This coverage was created to make sure that you and your passengers are taken care in the event of an accident in which you were not at fault but the at fault party has no insurance. It covers Property Damage Liability and Bodily Injury Liability. It will have a set amount of payable and will not exceed that.
UNDERINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE:
This coverage is identical to Uninsured motorist coverage except that it will have a lower payable as it covers the excess amount that is not covered by an at fault party with poor insurance. Insurance policies can be written for very small amounts of payables and these policies may not cover all the medical expenses or property damage costs. This is where Underinsured Motorist coverage would step in.
EXTENDED TRANSPORTATION COVERAGE:
This covers you rental car expenses if your car needs to be repaired and will be down for longer than a certain amount of time. The time limits and rate of pay per day for the rental car are all outlined in the different policies and are negotiable.
This covers the towing for your car to be towed off the road and to your desired location. There is a maximum they will pay so be aware of how much that amount is or you will end up paying the extra yourself. This coverage is most often lumped together with Labor Coverage.
This covers roadside labor to your car if it does not require being towed. This is most often lumped together with Towing Coverage.
Hopefully after reading this section you have become more familiar with insurance terms and discounts. Knowing more about insurance will definitely help you get better rates. Don't get talked into coverage you don't need and make sure you get the discounts you are eligible for. We will keep our eyes open for any new discounts or coverages they decide to come up with and we will add them to our list to keep you updated and informed. Don't get caught paying to much for your car insuance.