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American Family Insurance: Do They Have an Accident Forgiveness Program?

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Research Last Updated: 07/26/2011

American Family Insurance has no accident forgiveness program that is promoted at this time.

If you are in an accident and are insured with American Family Insurance they will charge you a surcharge depending on who is at fault for the accident. It doesn’t matter if this is your first accident or not, they do not forgive the first or any other accident at this time.

The amount that American Family Insurance pays out, the type of accident and also any additional traffic violations that you are charged with will determine the amount of the premium increase you will see. There is no across the board percentage increase on your premium if you have an accident.

If you have any questions about the claims process with American Family and how it may affect your premium with them, it is best to contact your agent.

Do GEICO Woodchucks Chuck Wood?

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Advertising, Research Last Updated: 07/20/2011

GEICO video provides their own wood chucking proof that you really can save on your car insurance with them in 15 minutes.



The commercial starts with a GEICO spokesperson asking, “Could switching to GEICO really save you 15% or more on car insurance?” After a pause, he then asks the question, “Do woodchucks chuck wood?” 

The scene switches to two woodchucks throwing (chucking) wood into a pond in front of a cabin. The owner of the cabin drives across a nearby bridge and yells at the woodchucks to, “…quit chucking my wood.”

After one last toss by one of the woodchucks they run off into the woods and the commercial closes with the GEICO logo over the cabin scene and the announcer stating, “GEICO, 15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance.”

Point of the Commercial

GEICO is making the point to the viewers that you really can save 15% or more on car insurance because they just showed you that woodchucks really do chuck wood. We all know that in real life woodchucks don’t do this, at least where I live they don’t.

Actually, I had no idea what a woodchuck was and I had to look it up.  Turns out we do have woodchucks where I live, but we call them marmots or groundhogs in the Pacific Northwest. Regardless, they still don’t chuck wood, unless they are in a GEICO commercial.

What the Insurance Company Wants You to Do

Obviously, GEICO wants you to give them 15 minutes of your time to see if you can save 15% or more on your insurance premium by switching to them from your current carrier. They tell you right out what they want from you.

But, there is also a less obvious underlying reason that GEICO is aiming for with this ad.

When you watch this ad, it makes you laugh. It has nothing to do with car insurance, but it is ridiculously funny and you tell other people about it. They then see it and tell other people about it. GEICO has just succeeded in getting people to talk about the commercial and get their name passed around by word of mouth.

This seems to be the real motivation of what they want you to do.  In fact, if you watch the commercial again, they make no mention of you calling or clicking on their website to get your quote. The only contact information that they provide is a quick shot of their company logo with underneath it.

My Opinion

I love this commercial. It is hilarious and for me it still hasn’t gotten old even though I have now watched it close to 10 times in a row in the last 20 minutes. Thumbs Up.

GPS Mayhem and Allstate Commercial

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Advertising, Research Last Updated: 07/20/2011

As Allstate shows Mayhem can happen anywhere, even with your GPS.



Commercial opens with a man driving his car and “Mayhem” lying against the dashboard acting as the drivers GPS.

Mayhem: “You never update me so now; I just have to wing it. (talking to driver as GPS) No, I meant turn left up ahead. Recalculating! Turn right now!”

Driver makes a quick right turn into head on traffic and crashes into multiple cars. Mayhem laughs and is enjoying the fact that he caused an accident.

Mayhem: “And your 15 minute insurance may not pay for all this. So get Allstate. You can save money and be better protected from Mayhem, like me. Recalculating!”

Commercial closes with the Allstate logo.

Announcer: “Dollar for dollar no one protects you from mayhem like Allstate.”

Point of the Commercial

This commercial is directed specifically at GEICO clients or people thinking about switching to GEICO.

They are pointing out that “Mayhem” (an accident) can happen at any time and you never know how bad the results will be. By being with GEICO, you may have saved money because you didn’t purchase enough coverage. This is a problem now because you have this big accident and may not have enough coverage for all of the damages you just caused.

What They Want You to Do

As much as the commercial talks about a defunct GPS system, Allstate does not want you to update your GPS system. Though if you need to, it would be a good idea.

They want you to either call Allstate and get a quote for better insurance coverage if you are with GEICO or making the point that you need to stay with Allstate if you are thinking of switching to GEICO.

GEICO must be doing something right, because this is the second company that has directed their insurance commercials in the last 9 months directly at people that are insured with Geico or are thinking about switching to Geico.

My Opinion

The actor who plays Mayhem is what makes the commercial.

Allstate found a very creative way to represent the troubles people have with GPS telling people where to go at the last minute and how dangerous last minute directions can lead to accidents. They could have done it with a regular GPS, but it wouldn’t have been as funny.

I am not a fan of all the Mayhem commercials, but I do like this one. Thumbs Up.

Cheap Car Insurance: Not Always the Best Deal

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Research Last Updated: 07/15/2011

Paying less for cheap car insurance is sometimes not because you found a great deal, but more because you don’t have enough coverage.

A Rejected Insurance Claim

Cheap insurance may actually be a case of too little coverage, leading to denied insurance claims.

Finding cheap car insurance can make anyone happy. The less we have to pay out of pocket for something that we cannot touch the easier it is to make the payments on it.

But, getting cheap car insurance may not always be the best thing for you later down the road.

Not Enough Coverage

Even though you think that you have just got a good deal on cheap car insurance from your agent or insurance company, you may be wrong.

The actual situation may be that you just purchased a low amount of insurance coverage. If you purchased too low of an amount, you may not have enough to cover an accident. Which means you will have to pay what your insurance company didn’t out of your own pocket.

As an example, you purchased the minimum amount of insurance that your state requires just so that you can drive. Your liability limits on your policy could look something like this: 15/20/15.  This means that the most your insurance company will pay out to the other person if you cause an accident is $15,000 per person for medical bills, $20,000 total for all medical bills for the other party and $15,000 total for all property damage.

With the information that you know about how ridiculously high medical bills are do you think that this amount of insurance will cover all of the bills and other charges if the accident was serious? If you don’t have enough insurance to cover all the bills and you are at fault for the accident you are legally responsible for paying the rest.

Was the money you saved on the cheap car insurance worth what you are going to have to pay out of pocket?

Too High of a Deductible

The amount that you choose for your deductible on your comprehensive and collision coverage is the amount that you will be paying out of your pocket in the case of an accident.

For example, if you have a $1000 deductible and you are in an accident where the repairs to your vehicle end up costing $2500; you are responsible for paying the first $1000 and your insurance company will pay the remaining balance of $1500.  If you cannot pay the amount of your deductible you will have to work something out with the body shop or you will have to forego getting your vehicle repaired.

So many times people raise their deductible on their insurance policy just to get cheap car insurance.  They then find themselves with a damaged vehicle that cannot be fixed because they cannot afford to pay their deductible.

University of Farmers Insurance – Sticky Map

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Advertising, Research Last Updated: 07/20/2011

Farmers Insurance uses its University of Farmers students as human thumbtacks to show that they are progressing east.


Commercial opens on the outside of the University of Farmers campus.

Screen changes to people in a classroom in blue jumpsuits and blue helmets jumping up and down. We find out that the people that are jumping up and down are agents and they are going through an exercise.

The instructor is sitting on a ladder and asks what the purpose of the exercise is.

Screen changes to a full shot of the classroom where we see 3 of the agents stuck on a United States map and three more jumping on two large trampolines.

The instructors question is answered by one of the agents with, “Expansion, Sir. Farmers is heading east.”

Agents continue to bounce on the trampolines and then throw themselves on the map where they are sticking from west to east.

In response to the instructor’s questions, the jumping agents explain that Farmers has the rest of the country covered already and that people should care because Farmers has the “sharpest agents out there” that can save people “hundreds”.

Commercial ends with Farmers logo and “Now in Pennsylvania” on the screen under the logo.

Point of the Commercial

Farmers is announcing that they are going to start writing in more states in the eastern part of the United States. I would be surprised if they don’t continue to recycle this commercial for each of the new states that they start writing in and just have a different “Now in …….” on the last screen of the commercial for each state.

What They Want You to Do

For those that already live in states that write Farmers, they are emphasizing that a Farmers agent could save you money on your car insurance (Yawn).

For those that live in states that Farmers is now starting to write in, they are letting you know that there is a new player in town. They want you to call and get a quote from one of their new agents in your state. New company means that you have never called this insurance company for an insurance quote before and they could be cheaper than your current insurance company.

My Opinion

The commercial got its point across, but it’s nothing memorable. I feel that the commercial is leaning to the dumb side and not in a good way. Thumbs Down.

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Car Insurance Guidebook Unravels the Car Insurance Mystery

Unless you work in the car insurance industry, the topic is probably a mystery to you. The words deductible, comprehensive, collision, liability, premium, loss of use and bodily injury are all gibberish when they reach your ears.

Unfortunately, insurance is something that you are required to have by law if you want to drive. Because of how confusing it is many people go around in almost an insurance daze while they get car insurance quotes from the auto insurance companies that they have heard of. In reality, they are completely lost as to what they are actually buying.

Instead of looking at what each insurance company offers in the terms of protection for both themselves and their car, they are instead looking for cheap car insurance. Finding the cheapest car insurance coverage makes having to buy the required product all that much less painful, but misses the whole point of having insurance.

Learning about insurance through your insurance agent or websites like Car Insurance Guidebook will give you the upper hand when you looking for car insurance. You can take your knowledge and not only find the best price for insurance, you can use it to find really great insurance to protect you and your assets. Then you aren’t stuck settling for just average car insurance that can hurt you financially if you ever need it because there isn’t enough protection.

For example, when looking for insurance the car insurance rates are just the first of many factors that need to be taken into account when you are shopping around for car insurance. You also need to take into account the type of vehicle that you are driving. Many people don’t know this.

Are you driving around a vehicle that is a new sedan and can be protected under any blanket insurance policy? Or do you have an old car that you fixed up that needs special protection and could be better covered under classic car insurance?

Don’t just assume that when you compare car insurance that it will be a one-size-fits-all policy. This is where the insurance knowledge will come in handy; you will know what you need to protect yourself and your vehicle.

You will understand what your insurance agent is talking about when they use insurance terms and you will actually be able to make an informed decision. This is much better for you instead of the “nod and smile” approach people take in their insurance agent’s office.

Also just like your life changes your insurance needs will change. This year you may just need to learn about the best deductible to have. Next year you may need to educate yourself on car insurance for young drivers. As the years pass, motorcycle insurance may be something you will need to know.

Many wise people say that you never stop learning, so take their advice and educate yourself on the insurance that you spend a lot of money on and can’t get away with not having.