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Car Insurance Discounts

Written by Prog Guy. Posted in Ask An Insurance Question, Research Last Updated: 06/26/2016

5 Questions To Ask When Getting a Quote:
save money with hidden discounts – including 1 secret discount.

 

You can save money by getting auto insurance discounts.

You can save a bag of cash by getting auto insurance discounts.

Who doesn’t what to save money on their car insurance? I know I do. One of the best ways to save some cash on your auto insurance is through car insurance discounts.

Every company offers car insurance discounts. However, not every company offers the same ones. That’s why it’s important to be prepared when getting a quote. You don’t want to give your auto insurance company any more money than you have to.

I’ve prepared a list of questions to ask each prospective insurer so you get the most discounts possible. Ask each car insurance company the appropriate questions whenever you get a quote from them…

Question 1:
I’m a safe driver. Can I get a discount?

Some companies call this one a ‘Safe Driver Discount.’ It’s big. If you stay clean with no at-fault accidents and no tickets, you will have better rates on your auto insurance. Savings could be 10-50%, depending on how many incidents you have. Stay safe and you’ll enjoy keeping that extra cash. But don’t forget to shop your policy every 18-24 months. You could still be losing a lot of money with an expensive carrier, even if you’re a safe driver.

Question 2:
Do you offer a multiple car (multi-car) discount?

If you only have one car to insure, you can skip this one. But if there are multiple cars in your household, then make sure you mention it. Most agents will automatically add this discount to your policy, but it never hurts to ask. It can be a 10-25% discount. And if they don’t offer it, let me know in the comments – every auto insurance company should.

Question 3:
Do you offer a multiple policy (multi-line) discount?

This is another big one. If you carry more than one policy with your insurer, you can usually get a discount on your car insurance. This is also true for other policies. For instance, if you pick up an auto policy AND a homeowners policy from State Farm, you could get a 10% discount on each policy. Sometimes it pays to keep both car insurance and renters/condo/homeowners policy at the same place.

Question 4:
What about my Defensive Driving or Driver Education?

Most auto insurance companies offer a discount for taking defensive driving. Percentages vary between insurers. Regardless, if you’ve taken a driver safety course recently, then make sure your company gets a copy of the certificate.

Question 5:
Do you have a discount for my job (teacher, engineer, etc.)?

Car insurance is a numbers game. Actuaries sit behind desks with calculators and reams of data to determine which people have lower risk versus other people. Each car insurance company does it differently – but some companies have determined your job can lower your risk for an accident. Ask your potential insurer if your job gives you better rates.

Now – Check online and see if you need to replace your current car insurer.
These 3 minutes can save you few hundred $$ per year.


Cheaper Car Insurance

Written by W. Lane Startin. Posted in Research Last Updated: 12/01/2010

Using discounts to find cheaper car insurance, choosing a cost-effective liability limit, and how to best utilize full coverage.

It's all about the discounts.

So you want cheaper car insurance? Why not?

What’s more the insurance companies know it. For years major insurers have run multi-million dollar advertising campaigns on this very premise. Finding cheap car insurance is no problem at all for most people.

That’s all fine and good, however simply looking for cheaper car insurance is not always the best thing to do. What you really want to do is look for cost-effective car insurance.

Cheaper Car Insurance Means Discounts

Apart from shopping around, the single best way to find cheaper car insurance is to find and qualify for as many discounts as possible. While the exact discounts available vary from company to company, just about everyone offers multi-car discounts, discounts for packaging auto insurance with other insurance lines such as homeowner’s insurance, discounts for good credit, good student discounts, and so on.

Rest assured there are plenty more.

A good agent will look for these discounts on your behalf. It’s the agent’s job to be familiar with the discounts his company offers. He or she is well-motivated to find these discounts for you, both because it’s good customer service, and also because it gives the agent a chance to outbid the competition (insurance agents love doing that). While it’s certainly possible to find these same discounts online, know you’re on your own when you do so.

Shop for Cheaper, Intelligent Liability Coverage

The most straightforward way to save on liability car insurance coverage is to simply go down to your local agency, ask for the state minimum limits and refuse to accept anything else. Indeed, this is how many people shop for insurance. It works, as long as they never get in an accident.

The plain truth is state minimum liability limits are routinely inadequate for anything other than minor accidents. If anything serious occurs, it’s very easy indeed to exceed the limits for bodily injury and property damage on a state minimum liability policy. While the insurance limits run out at a certain point, your legal liability doesn’t. If you’re in this situation you may find the accident very costly indeed, even with adequate insurance coverage in the eyes of the state. You may face subrogation or even be sued.

Instead, many insurance professionals recommend a more robust liability limit, such as a 50/100/50 “split limit” policy or a $100,000 combined single limit policy (CSL). These limits are often still reasonably priced for most people. The myriad of discounts available can make them even more appealing.

Don’t Forget Full Coverage

While no state requires full coverage auto insurance, it’s not always a good idea to forgo it. If you’re still making car payments, your lender will require you to carry full coverage as part of the contract. You’ll need to do so until the car is paid off.

Don’t think you can pull a fast one on them, either.

Lenders will ask your insurance company to send them a “binder,”which in this case is basically a piece of paper that documents that the vehicle in question has full coverage and lists the lender on the policy. Without a binder, a lender can put “force placed” insurance on your vehicle. Force placed insurance usually features limited coverage and extremely high prices. Keeping your full coverage is much more cost-effective.

Once your car loan is paid in full, you’re free to drop full coverage and remove the lender from your policy. Don’t assume the latter happens automatically. It often doesn’t. While this instantly results in cheaper car insurance, it also instantly results in significantly reduced coverage. Without full coverage you’re no longer covered against theft, vandalism or any accidents where fault can’t be pinned on someone else. If you’re OK with that, then go for it. If not, there’s nothing wrong with keeping full coverage.

Full coverage may not make for cheaper car insurance in the short-term, but it may be a cheaper route if you have an at-fault accident in an expensive vehicle.

Fleet Insurance

Written by W. Lane Startin. Posted in Definitions Last Updated: 09/18/2017

Who needs fleet insurance, what it covers , how to make sure the right people are on the policy and what it doesn’t cover.

Commercial auto fleet

Your fleet doesn’t have to be this big.

You may need fleet insurance even if your “fleet” consists of only one vehicle. More than anything insurance companies place emphasis on how a vehicle is used. Insuring the wrong vehicle for the wrong purpose can result in claim denial.

If you use your car for personal use (which includes driving to and from work, but not use for work-related activities), then you need a standard personal auto insurance policy.

Insure Your Fleet Right

Vehicles specifically used for work purposes should be placed on fleet or commercial auto insurance policies. The vehicle doesn’t have to be a large truck, a service van or any other vehicle specifically designed for commercial use.

It can theoretically be any vehicle. Indeed since he or she uses it to travel to and from appointments, chances are your insurance agent’s own vehicle is covered by a commercial auto policy.

Fleet insurance legal requirements are for the most part the same as for personal auto insurance, however there are exceptions. For example, some states require significantly higher liability limits on taxicabs than on other vehicles. There may also be different rules for commercial concerns that take their vehicles across state lines. Consult with your insurance agent for more information.

Liability insurance on trailers isn’t required because trailers aren’t self-propelling. Instead, the liability coverage on the vehicle towing the trailer typically covers the trailer too. However, trailers must have any comprehensive and collision coverage written separately from other vehicles. In a commercial setting trailers are typically insured on a stated value basis. This is particularly true of older trailers or more simply constructed trailers such as flatbeds.

List Your Drivers in the Fleet

Personal auto insurance policies list drivers, but these policies commonly extend coverage to other occasional drivers without you having to think about it. This isn’t the case with fleet insurance policies. If a driver isn’t listed, there’s no coverage in a claim. Therefore it’s extremely important to make sure your fleet driver lists are kept up-to-date.

On commercial fleet auto insurance policies drivers are typically either accepted or rejected without a whole lot of underwriting. While exact rules vary from company to company for the most part your drivers need to be over 25, properly licensed to drive the vehicle in question and have decent driving records. A ticket or two is usually not a problem, but a particularly poor driving record can disqualify a driver.

Most commercial insurance companies will not accept a driver under 25 on a fleet policy, regardless of record. Drivers over 74 may be categorically rejected as well.

The Vehicle is Only Part of Fleet Coverage

Remember fleet auto insurance only covers vehicles. It generally does not cover tools, equipment, aftermarket accessories or anything else not factory installed and permanently bolted down. Your valuable tools and equipment need to be covered separately from perils such as theft and vandalism.

This is accomplished by another line of commercial property or casualty insurance called “inland marine” insurance. Like trailers, tools and equipment are typically on a stated value basis. In addition to stated value, underwriters will typically want information such as a short description, year of manufacture and any serial numbers to cover tools and equipment.

Fleet auto insurance also does not cover damages caused by you or your employees. Instead, this is addressed by commercial general liability or GL insurance. While not all commercial concerns need GL, many contractors and clients, particularly in construction-related fields, require proof of a GL policy called a “binder” before they will hire you or your company. Your insurance agent can help you find the correct coverages you need to protect yourself on the job.

Cheap Car Insurance For Women

Written by W. Lane Startin. Posted in Research Last Updated: 11/08/2010

Why there isn’t a “woman’s discount,” how women can save money on car insurance, and how to best utilize discounts.

Cheap car insurance for women

Women have the advantage!

While many things in today’s marketplace are geared towards women, the fact is car insurance really isn’t.

While rates among the sexes may not be entirely equal, the auto insurance shopping process by and large is.

One might be tempted to look for auto insurance discounts specifically tailored towards women.

However save yourself the energy: they don’t exist.

An Even Playing Field for Women… sort of

Insurers have to be very careful to tailor their rates and discounts based on tangible statistical data. Giving special discounts to women or making cheap car insurance for women (or to men, for that matter) without any other statistical qualifiers is considered discrimination, and that’s illegal.

That said auto insurance rates for women do tend to be slightly lower than they are for men, all other things equal. This is just as true at age 18 as it is at age 65. The reason for this goes back to statistics. Across the board women are involved in slightly fewer accident and claim situations than men are. Therefore, they pay less in premium. Rest assured the old sexist stereotype of a “woman driver” simply doesn’t wash in the insurance world. If anything, the opposite is true.

Women: Do Your Research

The best way to get cheap car insurance for women is to shop around. Rates from company to company can and do vary a lot, so a little research can do a whole lot of good. When shopping for car insurance, be sure to provide the full VIN for all vehicles, how many miles you drive to work, who drives your vehicle and how many accidents or claims you’ve had in the past five years.

Don’t lie on the latter point, underwriters will find out if you do.

Make sure you quote the same deductibles and liability limits when you shop for auto insurance. A good benchmark to use is a 50/100/50 split limit or $100,000 combined single limit (CSL) for liability, and a $500 collision and $100 comprehensive deductible for full coverage.

Sensible automobiles are cheaper to insure than exotic sports cars. While it may bruise your ego a bit to drive a minivan, at least you can take solace in the fact it’s nowhere near as expensive to insure as a sports car.

Remember different insurance companies look at different things when considering quotes. Too much information is better than not enough.

Ladies Should Look for Discounts

Auto insurance discounts are commonly available for women who bundle insurance coverages with the same company. Insurance carriers routinely offer auto insurance discounts to individuals who buy homeowners or renter’s coverage from them.

Some companies also offer auto insurance discounts with a life insurance purchase. By the way, all things equal women get better life insurance rates than men because – statistically speaking – they tend to live longer.

Many insurance companies offer discounts designed to attract business from young families. For example, some companies offer a “new parent” discount for women (and men) who have small children, typically preschool age or younger. Older drivers can take advantage of discounts by taking defensive driver courses.

Fleet Car Insurance For The Company Cars

Written by Todd Clay. Posted in Research Last Updated: 11/06/2010

Why fleet auto insurance is different and what you need to know about fleet coverage

small fleet of trucks

Why you need fleet insurance for company vehicles.

Fleet car insurance is different from a typical auto insurance policy. For one, it’s handled by a commercial insurance company.

As such the considerations for writing a fleet policy are different from personal auto insurance.

What’s Different about a Fleet Policy?

A fleet car insurance policy usually requires two or more vehicles owned by a company – not an individual. The company can be a sole proprietorship, but there must be a certain commercial element to the ownership.

If you have a company trying to get a fleet policy, be sure to include all vehicles when writing the policy. This includes trailers and other secondary vehicles, as they all need to be listed separately.

Another factor is that material damage options and deductibles. These can be different for each vehicle, but the liability limits are usually the same for all vehicles. In other words, changing liability limits on one vehicle means changing them on all of them. One should keep this in mind when getting a new policy.

Equipment that is commonly used with the vehicle but not intrinsically part of the vehicle itself may need to be insured separately. This policy is called an “inland marine” policy. This can include things like generators and mobile construction equipment. These items are typically insured at a stated value and depreciated based on age. Talk to your commercial agent or broker when getting this policy – they’re not covered under the fleet car insurance policy alone.

List Each Driver on the Fleet Policy

In addition, all drivers should be listed separately on fleet auto insurance. This is interpreted much more strictly than with a personal auto policy. There can be more than one driver per vehicle on the policy, but all drivers should still be listed along with the amount of driving they are expected to do.

If a claim occurs in an insured vehicle, but the driver is not listed, the claim could be denied. While drivers don’t need to have perfect driving records, they should also not have any serious problems. Drivers with poor driving records can also be declined. Many insurance companies will not accept drivers younger than 25 on commercial policies regardless of driving record.

Also keep in mind that drivers need to show they’re properly licensed to drive your vehicles. If you have a truck larger than 26,000 GVW, for example, your driver needs to document proof of having a CDL license.

Changes to Fleet Car Insurance

Fleet car insurance is always subject to change. Vehicles are bought and sold. Employees come and go. As a result it’s normal to change policy items on a fleet insurance policy regularly. Commercial insurance agents and brokers are used to this, so don’t be afraid to call them.

Bottom line: make sure you keep your policy as up to date – or there could be a problem when there’s a claim.

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