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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.


How to Shop for Car Insurance

Written by Todd Clay. Posted in Research Last Updated: 04/10/2012

4 Easy Steps to Getting the Best Rate With The Best Company Every Time

How to Save Hundreds When Shopping for Auto Insurance.

How to Save Hundreds When Buying Auto Insurance.

Finding out how to shop for car insurance isn’t hard. But if you do it wrong, you could waste time, get frustrated, or worse, lose money. When I say a lose money, I’m talking thousands of dollars a year. It’s worth taking some time to learn the process. If you do, you’ll shop smarter, save some cash, and get peace of mind knowing you did it right.

Stop Wasting Good Money

In case you don’t think it’s worth your time, consider a normal driver in Texas. (Your state will be different, but the example still applies.) The Texas Department of Insurance publishes auto rates from all the insurers in the state. In 2008, a married 35-yr old driver in Dallas County with no accidents or tickets could pay anywhere between $243 and $1128 for a 6 month policy. The same driver with the same coverage could pay $1770 more per year because they didn’t shop their car insurance – almost two grand! Unfortunately, this is not uncommon.

That’s why it’s so important to make sure you’re getting a good deal. You may love your agent, but think about this: Your agent gets a commission from every extra dollar you waste with their company. If you don’t look out for yourself, your agent won’t do it for you. That money is yours – don’t just give it away. Here’s what you need to do.

Step 1: Pick Some Car Insurance Companies

Not every auto insurance company is worth your business. You need to find a few other companies to compare. How do you get a list of companies?

Ask around. Ask your friends who insures their cars. They’ll let you know if they’ve had a good or bad experience. Don’t want to ask around? Then check out some customer reviews. Collect a list of some auto insurance companies you want a quote from. I suggest you pick at least 3, but preferably 7 companies to compare. That way you get a healthy sample for the best possible savings.

Step 2: Narrow Your Choices

Once you have your list, check two other things. First off, financial strength. Various ratings agencies measure the financial stability of insurance companies. A.M. Best and Standard and Poor’s are the most prominent agencies. You can look up each company’s financial rating at your state’s department of insurance.

Second, ask the question: do those companies advertise? Companies that advertise are typically growth-oriented companies. This is a positive trait since you don’t want to send your premium dollars to a company that isn’t motivated to gain your business – how will they treat you when you have a claim. If you haven’t heard of one of the companies on your list, then it may not be a good fit.

Step 3: Getting Online Quotes

Go online for auto insurance quotes. Why? Because it takes too much time driving around, sitting in offices, or even jabbing on the phone with salespeople. The process takes long enough without any unnecessary steps.

The quickest way to get multiple quotes is to use a ‘quote aggregator’. It takes a few minutes to fill out a questionnaire. At the end, you can see quotes from several car insurance companies, and you’ve only filled out one form. I’ve included a link to make it easy for you: Online Quote Aggregator

After that, grab quotes from the remaining the companies on your list. Use a search engine to find the company websites. Auto insurance quote instructions should be very prominent at those sites.

Step 4: Confirm Online Quote Over the Phone

Now you have some quotes, it’s time to confirm the price. For your best auto insurance quotes, make a couple of phone calls to the general company number. Again, a search engine is helpful here. You can also call a local agency if that makes sense. Tell them about your online quote. If they can’t access it, answer the questions again.

There’s no reason to make 5 phone calls. You’ve already narrowed down the companies using the previous steps above. If you’re happy with the first quote on the phone, then buy the policy. Make sure it’s in effect before cancelling your current policy. Chances are you saved enough money to pay yourself a few hundred bucks for your time. After all, where else can you pick up an extra few hundred to a thousand bucks for a couple hours of work?

If these steps helped you shop for car insurance, leave a comment to help others in their search for a cheaper company.

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.

Compare Car Insurance and Win

Written by Todd Clay. Posted in Research Last Updated: 08/13/2017

 

4 Secrets to Finding the Best Auto Insurance for the Best Price Every Time

Comparing Car Insurance

Comparing Car Insurance

Before you compare car insurance put down that phone.

It’s 2008.  You don’t have to call every car insurance company in the phone book.  The internet has revolutionized the way we buy things, especially car insurance. Want to compare companies?  It’s never been easier.

No more visiting dingy offices only to be pressured to sign a policy you don’t need.  If you want to compare insurers – you’re in the driver’s seat today.

Just because it’s easy doesn’t mean you can’t mess up.  You need to know a few things about the process while getting quotes.  These four secrets will help you make a smart decision as you compare car insurance quotes.

1.  Where Do I Start?  – Pick a Few Good Companies

The first step to getting the best car insurance at the best price is to find some good auto insurance companies to compare.  Many states have over 50 companies doing business there.  How do you choose which ones to compare?

I recommend finding 3-7 auto insurance companies that advertise.  Why?

Companies that advertise are interested in growing their business.  That’s important since they typically believe retaining current customers is good for business.  That’s why they usually treat you well when you have a claim – when it counts.  If you’ve heard of the company, then they’ve spent money on advertising.  That means they’re a good company to compare.

(If you want more direction, check out our Car Insurance Rates to compare prices for the cheapest companies.)

2.  Get Quotes: Grab Several-Printed Car Insurance Quotes Online

Now you have a several companies (3-7) to compare, it’s time to get some quotes.  If you want to do that online, get your quote here.

Here’s where it gets a little tricky.  Make sure you’re comparing the same quotes.  Determine what kind of coverage you want – state-minimum liability, comprehensive, collision, or whatever.  If you need some help with the details, ask the first company you talk to.  Then, whatever, the first company quotes you…

*Get the same quote from every other car insurance company.*

This is very important.  You’re trying to compare prices for the same thing.  If you compare the same quotes, it’s like going to one grocery story and asking for a price on Gala apples, then going to another store and asking for a price on navel oranges – you can’t accurately compare prices that way.  If other companies won’t meet your quote specifications, they probably don’t want your business.

One word of caution:

A company may quote you the minimum liability coverage, but your car finance company probably requires comprehensive and collision coverage.  Obviously, that quote won’t work in your situation.  Get the right coverage, especially if you’re financing or leasing your car.

 

3.  What About Complaints: Do People Like a Car Insurance Company?

No company is perfect.  But there are several ways to see if a car insurance company is better than others.  For one, check out Our Reviews.  We periodically review auto insurance companies so you can know whether to compare them with others.

Second, check out our Customer Reviews.  Many consumers just like you have left comments on our forum that describe their experiences with other companies.  That’s a great way to compare auto insurance companies.

A final way to review a company is by their complaint ratio.  State Departments of Insurance usually post complaint ratios on their website for every insurance company doing business in their state.  To research a company’s complaint ratio, look them up at your Insurance Department’s website.

4.  The Intangibles: What Really Matters In a Car Insurance Company?

Now it’s time to decide which quote to go with.  Here’s two final things to consider:

Location? Do you want a 1-800 to call every time you have a problem with your auto insurance?  Some consumers like having a local office to visit – others don’t care.  In the same way, do you want to be able to call the same person every time you have a car insurance question?  Consider the relationship factor when you compare auto insurance companies.

Easy Quote? Did you have a good experience when getting your car insurance quote?  If it was painless, that may be a good sign to consider that company – even if the price is slightly higher.  Service counts.  You don’t want problems if you ever have a claim.  Go with the quick, pain-free quote, over the “hold on, let me ask my manager” quote every time.

In the End, You Could Save a Few Hundred Bucks

Follow these steps, and you’re sure to find a company that will save you money.  Plus, the experience you gain will give you a new perspective on your auto insurance.  It will take some time to compare companies.  But you’ll get compensated once you write that first month’s premium check.

Anything I missed? Leave a comment to help other people shopping for comparing auto insurance companies?

Car Insurance For Teens

Written by Todd Clay. Posted in Research Last Updated: 10/30/2008

Essential checklist when buying auto insurance for your teenager

A new chapter in your teen's life.

A new chapter in your teen's life.

Ahhh, teen drivers and their car insurance.

It wasn’t so long ago you were in the same seat, ready to show off your new wheels to friends.  But before getting too nostalgic and hand off the keys, you need to get some your teen insured.  Don’t get caught without a policy when they take to the streets.

Buying auto insurance for your teen is not much different from buying it for yourself.  Basics such as picking a reputable company and getting enough coverage to cover your situation still apply when choosing a company.  But there are some essentials you should consider before signing a policy.

Teen Drivers Are Dangerous?

I know, I know…your teenager is a very safe driver.  But I’m not talking about your teenager.  I’m talking about all the other dangerous, young, hormone-driven motorists on the road.

Fact is, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 16-year-olds are nearly six times more likely to get into accidents than drivers aged 30-59.  To a car insurance company that translates into one thing: higher premiums.  Know that you will pay more for the teen driver in your household.  But that’s only part of the story.

Help Your Teen on the Road to Success

The scary part is that auto insurance rates can go up from there.  One at-fault accident and your perfect angel’s rates could jump 10%…or more!   That’s why it’s important to help your young driver get experience.

Take frequent trips with them at the wheel.  The more they drive with you, the more comfortable they will be at the wheel.  This will help them, but it will also help you when you’re mailing in your premium check.

On the flip side: if your teenager bucks the trend keeps a clean record (no accidents & no tickets), many companies offer additional discounts.  Make sure you ask about them when getting quotes.  It never hurts to ask.

Submit Grades for Better Car Insurance Rates

Auto insurance for teenagers is high enough.  Any discount will help lower the burden on your wallet.  That’s why it’s important to submit your teenager’s grades to the company.

Most companies give a good student discount for premiums.  Having your teen maintain a 3.0 GPA or better will help lessen the strain on your checkbook.  Maybe you could pass on some of the savings to your teen – the discount will be more than enough to pay for a movie every policy renewal.  It’s a friendly reminder for them to keep up their grades.

Higher Deductibles Can Save Money for Teen Drivers

If you’re getting full coverage (comprehensive and collision) for your teenager’s car insurance, then you know about deductibles: the higher your deductible, the lower your premium.  In other words, the more financial responsibility you assume for teenage driver, the less you will pay to the car insurance company.

That’s why you should consider upping the deductible on the comprehensive and collision portion of your teenager’s auto insurance.  Instead of a $100 deductibles, consider going to $250 or $500.  Sure, it’s more responsibility for your family – but it could pay for itself in a year.  Put the savings in the bank in case something happens.

Can I Just Add Them To My Policy?

Before collecting auto insurance quotes, ask your current insurer if you can add your teen to your policy.  Some states allow this, while others do not.  Either way, most agents will be able to advise accordingly.

A note of caution: if your teen has a driver’s license, they must be insured on some vehicle.  If your car insurance company doesn’t know about your teen driver, your company could drop your policy – whether or not anything happens.  And you thought it was expensive before, you were cancelled – it’s downright depressing afterward!  If possible, just add your teen driver to your policy when they’re licensed.  It’s the safest, and ultimately cheapest bet.

Before You Hand off the Keys

After you pick up car insurance for your teen driver, they’re almost ready to hit the road.  Help them with the basics behind the wheel – if they get a ticket, make sure they take defensive driving, and if you want to help their sense of responsibility, make them pay some of the premium with a part-time job.  All these things will help you feel more comfortable guiding your teen through their first years of driving.

Now, where are those keys?
Did I miss anything? If you have something to add for other parents, just a leave a comment to help them out.

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