Compare Rates From Leading Companies
Save Up To 46% on Car Insurance
Enter Zip Code:

Motorcycle Insurance

Written by Todd Clay. Posted in Research Last Updated: 03/23/2011

7 Essentials for Motorcycle Insurance: The perfect introduction for anyone considering a bike.

Ready to Ride?

Ready to Ride? Don't forget your insurance binder.

Before you get motorcycle insurance, consider this situation:

You can almost smell the open road.  That down payment is burning a hole in your pocket.  You’ve been eyeing that new soft-tail for months, and you’re ready to plunk down a wad of cash and ride into the sunset.

Before you buy that new Harley Screamin’ Eagle or Ducati 848, you need to get motorcycle insurance.  In fact, dealers won’t even let you drive your new bike off the lot until you provide them proof of your bike insurance, called a binder.

I spoke with Darla Mason at Wild West Harley-Davidson in Lubbock, Texas, about motorcycle insurance.  “You gotta have it.  Unless you’re paying cash, you’ll need a binder from a company before you can take the bike.”

Besides simply needing motorcycle insurance, what should you know?  I found 7 things riders should know when shopping for coverage.

1. Good Driving Has Its Own Rewards

All at-fault accidents and tickets count.  It doesn’t matter if you just picked up your bike, motorcycle insurance companies count every incident you’ve had (usually in a 3-year period) even if it’s in your car.  Stay clean and you’ll pay less money for your motorcycle insurance.

2.  Get Comprehensive and Collision

Every motorcycle insurance policy includes basic liability.  But unless you’re paying cash for your bike and you don’t mind losing the bike in an accident, get “full-coverage” for your new ride.  Collision covers your bike if you’re in an at-fault accident and comprehensive covers your cruiser in any incident other than collision.  Both coverages pay out minus your deductible.

3. Gap Insurance – What’s That?

Comprehensive and collision coverage in your motorcycle insurance only pay out what your bike is worth at the time of the accident.  If you total your bike and you owe more than your bike is worth, then you’ll still owe the balance on your financing.

Gap insurance is different from motorcycle insurance.  Gap insurance covers the ‘gap in coverage’ between what your bike is worth and what your insurance company pays after a total loss.  Finance companies typically offer this coverage.  Get it if you’re worried about paying extra if your bike is totaled.

4. Where Do You Ride and Where Do You Park?

You may just ride on the weekend – if so, tell the agent who gives you a quote.  Whether or not you commute to work on your bike can make a big difference for the price of your motorcycle insurance.

Same with where you park.  Additional discounts can be available whether or not you store your bike in a garage.  We all know how unattended bikes have a tendency to ride off by themselves – it makes sense for motorcycle insurance companies to give a discount to owners of garaged bikes.

One more bonus for riders in northern states.  You could be eligible for a “lay-up” policy, where most coverage is suspended during the winter months.  That translates to extra money in your pocket.

5. Motorcycles Need Chrome Coverage?

Motorcycle insurance usually does not cover additional parts like chrome air filters or saddlebags.  If you want extras like paint jobs or sidecars covered, then make sure you talk to your agent about additional equipment or optional coverage.  There’s nothing like losing your favorite custom mirrors (and then some) after laying down your bike only to find out they weren’t covered under normal comprehensive.  Make sure all your extras have coverage.

6. Get All Your Discounts!

If you’ve taken a motorcycle safety course, you could be eligible for a 10-20% discount.  When you’re getting quotes for your motorcycle insurance, ask about discounts.  That could be another $100 in your pocket at the end of the year – it’s definitely worth asking.

7. Shop Around – Big Time!

This is the most important part to getting the cheapest motorcycle insurance.  After going through this checklist and getting a quote, do it again.   The more quotes you get, the more money you’re likely to save.  Darla Mason said some of her customers save $500 after shopping their motorcycle insurance.

At the least, get 3 quotes from reputable motorcycle insurance companies.  You can also check with your current car insurance company – though they’re not always likely to have the best rates for motorcycle insurance.  Make sure each company quotes the same coverage, then go with the best.  If you want to shop online, get a quote for motorcycle insurance here.

After getting your binder, you’re ready to go.  Turn the key, hear that sweet hum of the engine, then give her some gas.  But don’t go too fast…I was an insurance agent after all.

Do you ride?  If so, you may have some additional tips for other bike owners.
Feel free to leave a comment.

Low Cost Car Insurance

Written by Todd Clay. Posted in Research Last Updated: 12/01/2010

8 Proven Tips on Lowering Your Car Insurance Costs so you don’t have to take out a second mortgage.

How can you save money on your car insurance?

How can you save money on your car insurance?

Does low cost car insurance even exist?.  Just think about what you could buy every month if you didn’t have to shell out those auto insurance bucks.  A nice steak dinner or a new gadget – but instead your making your car insurance company rich off your premium checks.

Don’t worry.  There are several things you can do you lower your car insurance costs – to get cheaper car insurance.  We’ve put together 8 proven tips to lower your auto insurance costs.  Try them out.  Forget about the 15% GEICO says they’ll save you.  These tips could save you 50% or more on your car insurance costs… and I’m no caveman.

Tip #1: Shop Around

All kidding aside, GEICO could save you 15% on your car insurance costs.  But you’ll never know unless you ask.  If you haven’t shopped your policy in 12-18 months, then you’re probably paying too much.

According to our latest research, California drivers paid +257% more for a basic liability auto insurance policy from the most expensive company versus the cheapest car insurance company.  That’s 2½ times more for auto insurance!  Need I say more?  Shop around for a better rate, and lower your costs.  If you need several prices, get some quotes here.

Tip #2: Be A Safe Driver

Take it from someone with a ‘reckless driving’ hidden in his distant past – bad driving is expensive.  Add a couple of at-fault accidents to that record and you’re looking at a towering monthly car insurance bill.  Car insurance costs are directly related to the risk the auto insurance company takes when writing a policy. If you’re a bad driver, then the company is taking a bigger risk.

Slow down.  Watch those red lights.  Drive defensively.  If you clear up your driving record, and get incident-free for three years (no tickets & no at-fault accidents), you’ll see a substantial drop in your costs.

Tip #3: Raise Your Deductibles

A deductible is your portion of the car insurance.  The lower your deductible on comprehensive and collision coverage, the higher your auto insurance costs.  In other words, if you have a $50 deductible on collision coverage (which covers your car’s physical damage in case of an at-fault accident), then you’re probably paying too much.

If you have the savings to cover your deductible, then raise your comprehensive and collision coverage to $500 or $1000.  Ask your agent about the savings and you’ll be surprised on how this money-saver will help your auto insurance costs.

Tip #4: Drop Comp and Collision on Your 10-Year Old Car

This one is related to #3.  If you drop comprehensive and collision on your car insurance, then you’re taking responsibility for physical damage to your vehicle.

This one only works if you can afford to replace the vehicle and you’re not financing it.  Ten year old cars have usually depreciated enough where many people can afford to replace it if necessary. If you’re one of those people, then dropping comp and collision will lower your auto insurance costs significantly.

Tip #5: Clear Up Your Credit

Each car insurance company handles credit differently.  Many companies don’t check it once you’re with them.  However, almost all companies check your credit when you’re shopping for auto insurance.  If you have delinquencies, and other such issues on your credit report, try to fix them.  Clearing up your credit can have a significant impact on your costs.

Tip #6: Sell Your Sports Car

Alright, I know this doesn’t apply to everyone.  But if you’re strapped for cash and that Porsche payment is eating your lunch, you might want to consider selling it and buying a more affordable car.  Auto insurance costs will go down significantly depending on the car you’re insuring.  I’m not saying ‘buy a jalopy’, but you could sell your Viper to help your cash flow.  Plus, you’ll lower your car insurance costs in the process.

Tip #7: Review Your Policy with Your Car Insurance Company

If you’ve shopped your auto insurance policy recently, it’s still good to review your costs with your car insurance company.  Make sure you’re taking advantage of all the discounts available to you like: Multi-car discount, Multi-policy discount, Driver’s Education/Defensive Driving, and even, good driver discounts.

I’m not saying your insurer is pilfering you.  But they sometimes miss these discounts when signing up people for coverage.  Make sure you’re getting all the discounts coming to you when buying auto insurance.

Tip #8: Shop Your Car Insurance… Again?

I said it before, but it’s worth repeating.  There’s no easier way to get shave car insurance costs than to get several quotes.  Even if you ignore the other tips, don’t ignore this one.  No need to pay extra money for the same coverage.  Take the time and save some money.  Once again, get some quotes here.

Then have a steak dinner on me.
Can you think of anything else that can save others money?
Leave a comment for other drivers.

Full Coverage Auto Insurance

Written by Todd Clay. Posted in Definitions Last Updated: 10/14/2011

Answering 4 questions about full coverage auto insurance: What it is – What it’s not – How to use it – and Do you really need it?

If you backed into something would full coverage auto insurance cover it?

If you backed into something, would it be covered by comprehensive or collision?

A lot of people throw around the term full coverage auto insurance. A friend, a family member, or even your insurance agent may have said it before. Technically-speaking, full coverage auto insurance doesn’t exist. But it’s important to know what it means to most people.

One of my insurance trainers drilled into my head “there’s no such thing as full coverage auto insurance – there’s no such thing as full coverage auto insurance”. Still, consumers everywhere use the term “full coverage auto insurance”. So my purpose is to help you understand what full coverage auto insurance really is, what it’s not, what it does, and whether you need it.

Question #1: What is Full Coverage Auto Insurance?

Full coverage auto insurance refers to your auto policy when it has both liability coverage and physical damage coverage. Physical damage coverage is usually referred to as comprehensive (comp) and collision.

Collision covers the physical damage to your vehicle in an at-fault accident. That means, if you run a red light and cause an accident, collision covers the busted headlight on your car – minus your deductible.

Comprehensive (comp) covers physical damage to your car from acts of God and other such incidents. If you’re using comprehensive coverage, the damage to your vehicle cannot be your fault. For instance, if you’re driving down the road and a rock hits your windshield causing a crack, your comprehensive would cover the loss – minus your deductible.

Question#2: Why Isn’t It ReallyFull Coverage Auto Insurance”?

As you can probably tell, it’s not exactly ‘full coverage auto insurance’. You still have to pay your deductible to use comp and collision. Sometimes your deductible is $50 and sometimes it’s $1000 – whatever it is, your ‘full coverage auto insurance’ won’t cover the deductible. You have to write the check for your deductible.

Also, you can’t intentionally wreck your car. In fact, there’s nothing that will cover that type of damage. So in case you’re standing at the edge of a cliff ready to send your old beater to its final resting place, you can back up now. There’s no auto insurance for intentional damage – maybe jail – but no coverage.

Question #3: How Do You Use Full Coverage Auto Insurance?

Hopefully you’ll never have to use your car insurance, but you might. If a tree ever falls on your car, or you sideswipe another car, then you want to notify your insurance company. This information is your proof of insurance in the glove box (you do keep a copy in your car, right?). Your insurer will help you through the process

Call them up and explain the physical damage situation to your vehicle. If another driver was not involved in the incident and you were not at fault, then it’s probably a comprehensive claim. If you were at-fault in the incident, then it’s probably a collision claim, Your auto insurance company will help you at that point. As always, claims are subject to policy guidelines.

Question #4: Do You Really Need a form of Full Coverage Auto Insurance?

That depends. Auto insurance companies usually recommend you carry comprehensive and collision coverage if you have a newer car. You might also consider getting full coverage if you can’t afford to replace the vehicle with cash. Finally, your bank requires you to maintain comp and collision on the policy if you’re financing the car. Banks like to be paid if you ever total your car.

If you have a later model vehicle, it may be time to drop your comp and collision. If you can handle the risk of a car worth a few thousand dollars, it could be worth it to drop full coverage to save some premium dollars.

Your insurance company should be able to guide you in such a case and advise you if having what everyone else calls “full coverage auto insurance” is in your best interest.

GEICO Review

Written by Todd Clay. Posted in Our Reviews Last Updated: 08/17/2012

Did I really save 15% on my car insurance by switching to GEICO? – My GEICO Review

GEICO Trademark

For anyone shopping for car insurance, who hasn’t seen the GEICO lizard?

Probably about as many people who haven’t been to a grocery store. The talking Cockney gecko is about as well known as peanut butter and jelly. And to think, before 1999 – he didn’t even exist. Such is the power of modern advertising.

Stripping away the creative façade of cavemen, celebrity spokespeople and promises of 15% savings, is GEICO all it’s cracked up to be? Read on to find out.

About the Company – GEICO Review

GEICO, or Government Employees Insurance Company, is a popular car insurance company in the United States. Bought by Warren Buffett’s holding company in 1996, GEICO is now owned by Berkshire Hathaway. According to their website, GEICO boasts 8,000,000 policyholders as of 2007 – no small accomplishment for this business.

GEICO does not have an agency force in the community like other companies. Aside from the occasional offices in metropolitan areas, the majority of quotes, policy service, and claims work is handled over the phone via call centers.

As for financial strength, GEICO is strong. According to independent agency AM Best, GEICO rates a superior ‘A++’, their highest rating. Other services give GEICO a similar rating. According to those in the know, GEICO will be around for awhile.

Getting a GEICO Quote

Knowing their reputation, I wanted to get a quote from GEICO. To save time, I usually recommend what I did. First off, grab an online quote. Second, if it makes sense, call them on the phone with the online quote. Here’s how I did it.

To start, I grabbed my current auto insurance policy. Second, I jumped online, to fill out their questionnaire. I input my personal info, then matched my coverages to my current policy. GEICO shot back my quote 10 seconds after I clicked ‘Submit’ – very fast. Since GEICO’s price was much better than I’m paying now, I called them up.

GEICO Positives: Availability & Price

After being transferred to the right person, I started talking to Holly S. in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She told me she was in one of several call centers across the country. I called at night and, out of curiosity, asked her if someone would have picked up the phone at 3 am. According to Holly, she assured me GEICO would have answered the line.

Availability strikes me as a great positive for a car insurance company. If GEICO is willing to pick up the phone to give me a quote at 3 in the morning, then they’re probably willing to pick up the phone to fill out my claim at 3 in the morning.

GEICO quoted me a great rate online. Fortunately, there was no bait-and-switch when I called Holly in Virginia Beach. What they quoted online, they honored on the phone. That’s a huge benefit, especially as it relates to the integrity of their sales force.

One caveat to their pricing: GEICO seems to give a ‘best guess’ rate without asking for your social security number online. After you talk to them, they confirm the price. If your credit matches what you said online, then you get the rate. If not, the price probably goes up.

GEICO Negative: Pushy?

I had one problem with confirming my phone quote. Holly was a little pushy. She did not ask me about my personal insurance situation and went right for the close. This was a little unnerving to me as a former insurance agent. I would have liked her to walk me through the coverages, instead of just trying to take my order. Holly was definitely assertive, but she was polite.

What about GEICO’s Service?

I looked at complaint ratios at a few major departments of insurance. Consumer complaints are either average, or below average compared to other auto insurance companies. No company is perfect, but GEICO seemed to meet a basic level of service for their customers. On a claims basis, I felt comfortable carrying my car insurance with GEICO.

I ended up getting GEICO after shopping around for awhile. I’ve had them for over a year now (Sept 2009). I’ve called them a few times and they’ve been very responsive. I even dropped by their office in my town to re-add comprehensive to my truck. They were helpful and friendly. I didn’t like how they made me come by their office for that basic service. Seems like they could have sent out an agent to do an inspection. Oh well.

I can say this. They were extremely responsive when I got a new insurance card.

Did I save 15% on my Car Insurance by switching to GEICO?

Their reputation, availability, and price, all contribute to a good feeling of going with the gecko. As for saving 15% on my car insurance. When I signed up with GEICO, I saved +20% on my car insurance premiums compared to State Farm.

Way to go GEICO!

Quote Process: 10
(Scale 1-10: 10=the best)

Price: 9
(Scale 1-10: 10=Cheapest)

Customer Service: 9
(Scale 1-10: 10=the best)

Claims: *
(Scale 1-10: 10=the best)

Overall Rating: 9
(Scale 1-10: 10=the best)

Anything to add? Leave a comment about your experience with GEICO or write your own review.

State Farm Review

Written by Todd Clay. Posted in Our Reviews Last Updated: 12/14/2012

Former State Farm Agent shops around: When good service isn’t the only thing you should look for in a car insurance company.

FULL DISCLOSURE:
I worked as an employee, as an employee of an Agent, and as an Agent of State Farm Insurance.  My dad is still a State Farm Agent.
————-

“Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.”

That may be one of the best taglines in the insurance business. It hearkens back to a time when your insurance agent was just down the street. A time when you might drop by his office on your walk to the post office. It reminds me of a quaint town that may not even exist anymore. That’s the image ‘good neighbor’ insurance conjures up in my mind.

And believe me, they know it.

That’s why they’re now spending millions of dollars trying to convince young consumers they’re not just your father’s insurance company. They’re constantly targeting younger drivers. At the time of this review, a quick look at their main homepage revealed 5 people under 35. I was under 35 when I initially wrote this review – does State Farm have my business? More on that below.

About the Company

State Farm Insurance is one of the oldest auto insurance companies in the United States. Founded by a farmer, G.J. Mecherle, they’ve grown to be the largest private insurance company in the country. Boasting over 75,000,000 policies, they insure more cars than any other company on the planet. AM Best rates most State Farm Companies with a AA rating (very strong).

According to their website, State Farm consists of 13 separate financial services companies. They sell fire, auto, life, and health policies. They also market bank products and investments though the majority of their revenue comes from auto and home policies. State Farm is first and foremost an insurance company.

My Experience as a State Farm Policyholder

I’ve been a State Farm policyholder for as long as I’ve bought car insurance. My dad is still a State Farm Agent. I’ve had accidents, tickets, one reckless and a few cracked windshields as a State Farm policyholder. Overall, I’ve paid more money to State Farm than they’ve ever paid out on me – so I guess that puts them ahead.

Overall, I’ve had a positive experience as a State Farm policyholder. Even though I know a bit about car insurance, State Farm people were very helpful before I started working for them and while I learned the business. Typically, State Farm Agents and their employees know their stuff.

State Farm Positive: Personal Service

State Farm sells and services their policies through their network of 17,000 Agents. Usually, each State Farm Agent has their own office and support staff. I’ve had my insurance with a couple of different agents (besides myself). Both offices in Texas & Washington had superb service. If I had a question on my monthly payments, any coverages, or claim issues, the staff was outstanding.

Not every State Farm policyholder has this good experience. If you’re sold on State Farm but you don’t like your current Agent or their staff, then change Agents. To me, good service is the main thing you’re paying for at State Farm. If you’re unhappy with your Agent, then you’re usually overpaying – big time.

State Farm Negative: Price

Which brings me to State Farm’s #1 weakness: price. I live in Texas. In Texas, my rates are relatively high: Out of 50+ auto insurance companies doing business in the state, State Farm is #25 for price in my age group: Texas Rates.  From my experience and research, this is normal. For whatever the reasons, State Farm car insurance rates are higher than their competition.

That’s one of the reasons State Farm’s advertising highlights their good service. Some people are willing to pay extra money so that the same Agent will pick up the phone anytime they have an insurance question. To them, it’s worth it.

Is State Farm Worth It To Me?

To me, it’s not worth the extra 38% for my monthly premiums. That’s compared to just one of the quotes I got from another reputable auto insurance company.

I’m not married to State Farm. They’ve been a good company, but I’m shopping around. Until they bring their rates in line with some of the other great car insurance companies out there, I’m bringing my business to somebody else.

State Farm might be great for you, but consider the alternatives. Even as a long-term policyholder, I’m glad I shopped my rates. I’ll be saving 38% every month – at least. I hope you can do the same.

Quote Process: 8
(Scale 1-10: 10=the best)

Price: 3
(Scale 1-10: 10=Cheapest)

Customer Service: 9
(Scale 1-10: 10=the best)

Claims: 9
(Scale 1-10: 10=the best)

Overall Rating: 6
(Scale 1-10: 10=the best)

Do you have something to add? Leave a comment or write your own State Farm review.

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.