Insurers have a massive market; every person who rents or owns a car or home needs coverage. Most of the major companies spend billions of dollars combined on advertising every year in an attempt to capture as much of the market as possible. Most are battling for customers by promoting specific services or discounts, even if those services and discounts are also available from other insurance companies, too. In this post, we will cover some of the most frequently advertised insurance features and what they mean for you.
Bundle and Save
The first advertised feature is actually a discount promoted by Progressive. It’s called the Bundle-and-Save discount, and it is supposed to encourage drivers to combine auto with renters, home, condo, or townhome coverage. If you purchase multiple lines of coverage from Progressive, the company will reward you with a discount on your premiums.
What the commercials fail to tell you, however, is that nearly all insurance companies will offer discounts to drivers who bundle coverages. Often, the discounts are limited to home and auto or renters and auto, but be sure to tell your independent agent if you have other assets to insure, such as an RV, boat, or motorcycle. In some cases, insurance companies will extend bundling discounts to include those coverage lines, as well.
Who doesn’t love a discount? State Farm enlisted a celebrity football player to help promote its Discount Double-Check, a service that promises to ‘double-check’ for every possible discount you deserve from the company when you purchase your coverage. From discounts for having multiple vehicles on a policy to lower rates for good students, the goal is to save you as much money as possible on your premiums.
It is important to note, however, that while State Farm agents can search their own discount database for extra savings, they will not double-check for savings from other insurance companies. On the other hand, an independent agent will search for discounts from multiple insurers and compare them against each other to determine which will result in the greatest value for the coverage you need.
Name Your Price Tool
Back to Progressive, we visit the Name Your Price Tool, a feature on the company’s website that allows drivers to find out how premiums are affected by policy adjustments to coverage and limits. This tool often sparks interest from drivers who prioritize saving money on car insurance. While value is important, it never outweighs the significance of having the right coverage.
Unfortunately, those who use the Name Your Price Tool may be tempted to eliminate collision coverage or perhaps lower liability limits to save a few dollars on premiums. In the event of an accident, they risk being dangerously under-insured and in jeopardy of a financial disaster. That is why we generally recommend avoiding this ‘tool’ and instead utilizing the services of a real-life independent agent who can achieve savings without sacrificing your coverage.
We’ll leave off part one of this post by addressing a lesser advertised feature called GAP coverage. Due to depreciation, the cash-value settlement from insurance companies is often too little to pay off the balance of a car loan. GAP protection is designed to supplement the collision coverage on your primary insurance policy by paying any balance that remains on your car loan after your insurer reimburses you for your totaled car.
Many insurers will allow you to add GAP coverage to your policy when you purchase your car and drop it once the balance of your loan is lower than the value of your car. That is in stark contrast to many GAP policies sold by car dealers and lenders, which typically cover the entirety of a car loan and require upfront payment of premiums. If you think you may need GAP insurance for your upcoming purchase, contact an independent agent here at Couri Insurance to explore your options.
We pick up part two of this post with Roadside Assistance, a benefit frequently promoted by Liberty Mutual and other insurance companies. Most drivers can benefit from the peace of mind that Roadside Assistance can provide, as it typically provides coverage for things like break-downs, lock-outs, flat tires and more, 24-hours a day. Roadside Assistance can be added to nearly any insurance policy – not just those sold by Liberty Mutual. Talk to an agent here at Couri Insurance if you want to add this important coverage to your policy.
Safe Driving Bonus Check
A Safe Driving Bonus Check is a feature advertised exclusively from Allstate. This benefit is a clever way for the company to reward safe drivers who remain accident-free. Not to mention, it sounds really great in a 30-second commercial. So what’s the real deal behind this benefit?
While the characters in the Allstate commercials are busy talking about what they plan to buy with their Safe Driving Bonus Check, what they aren’t telling you is how much their checks are actually worth. Generally, the bonuses are worth a maximum of five percent of the paid premium over the previous six months – about $25 for a $500 policy. To get the benefit, you must be accident-free for the full six months. You must also have qualified for and enrolled in the Your Choice Auto Program, which costs extra and typically requires a good driving history and good credit.
Though Allstate is the only one offering the Safe Driving Bonus Check, other insurance companies offer very similar benefits – in some cases at no additional charge. For example, some insurers automatically reward safe drivers with upfront discounts on premiums, no waiting required. Others offer special programs for diminishing premiums or deductibles when drivers remain accident-free over time. Talk to your agent about the various safe driver discounts and programs available to determine which one may be right for you.
New Car Replacement
If you drive a new car, the idea of totaling it could make you cringe. After all, the insurance company will probably only reimburse you for the depreciated value of your vehicle – not the price you paid for it. Instead of down-grading when you purchase your replacement, you could add New Car Replacement coverage to your insurance policy to ensure your vehicle is replaced with another one just like it.
Several insurance companies offer some form of New Car Replacement, although the details and stipulations of coverage may vary. Liberty Mutual, for example, frequently advertises its New Car Replacement program for vehicles that are less than one year old and have fewer than 15,000 miles. It is worth noting that some insurers will extend coverage much longer – up to five years of ownership in the case of Travelers Insurance. Others will offer “better” car replacement for used vehicles by replacing them with a car that is one year newer.
Whether you own a new car or a used car, replacement coverage may still be available. Talk to your independent agent for more information and to explore your options.
Finally, we come to Accident Forgiveness, another feature promoted by Allstate. This coverage is designed to protect drivers against the rising cost of premiums after a first-time accident. Given that rates can go up by 10, 20, or even 40 percent after an accident and stay that way for years, this coverage could save hundreds or even thousands in penalties and surcharges if you or another driver on your policy wrecks the car.
Besides Allstate, there are several other insurance companies that offer a form of accident forgiveness, as well. Acuity, Nationwide, The Hartford, and Progressive are just a few examples, giving drivers and their independent agent’s plenty of options when it comes to shopping around. It is worth noting that most insurers charge extra for this benefit, but Integrity Insurance actually provides it at no cost to certain eligible drivers after five years or more.
It is your independent agent who can help shine light on the various advertised insurance features you see in commercials on TV. Let the team here at Couri Insurance help you shop and compare options to get the coverage you want at a competitive rate.