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Car insurance checklist...getting the best value

Mar 03 2016

For great auto insurance coverage focus on value not just price

When it comes to car insurance, being a smart consumer means looking at the value you receive for what you spend.  The minimum insurance required by law to get a car on the road doesn’t provide much protection if you have a serious accident involving bodily injury or significant property damage. The price of car insurance can vary by hundreds of dollars depending on your car, your driving record and where you buy your insurance.

Use this guide to help you find ways to save on car insurance without sacrificing your protection. The most expensive insurance policy is one with gaps that leave you without coverage when you need it most. Stay focused on value—what you get…for what you pay. Here are some issues to keep in mind:

___ Selecting the types of coverage you want

 When looking for ways to save money, be sure to stay focused on the value of what various policy coverages provide. Don’t risk a lot for a little. Liability coverage to pay for causing injury or property damage is something to maximize. Often it’s not a lot more to have better coverage in these areas, which are your greatest risks in a lawsuit. Be sure to think about your vehicle and finances…can you afford to replace your car and how much is your car worth? At some point, there may be diminishing returns for having certain types of coverage as your car ages.

___ Type of car you drive 

The sticker price, cost to repair, safety record and theft history impact insurance pricing. These factors are translated into rating classes aka “symbols” that are used by insurance companies when setting rates. If you are driving a luxury or sports car chances are that it will cost more to insure than a more basic model.  If you want to reduce your cost, consider driving a vehicle that has a lower symbol. An insurance provider can tell you want cars cost less to insure, which can save you money.

___ Where you live 

Certainly where you choose to live is a personal choice for many reasons, but you may want to consider that the car theft and vandalism history in your town impacts your car insurance rates. It doesn’t matter where you work; it’s where you live that makes a difference.  You may not want to move to save money, but it’s certainly something to consider in the future.

___ Purchase your insurance from the same provider

Insurance companies generally provide substantial discounts often referred to as “multi-policy discounts” as an incentive for purchasing all your insurance through them. Often the biggest discounts are for combining auto, home and umbrella policies, which can be up to 20%. However, this rule may not always hold true, and you may find better savings without receiving this discount. An knowledgeable agent can help you determine the best money saving option.

___ Insure all household drivers and vehicles with the same provider

Insurance companies often provide a “multiple car discount” for spouses and children the same household. Some companies provide multi-car discounts for cohabitating couples and nonspousal family members, so be sure to discuss this with your agent.  This is an easy way to save. Also, the number of drivers listed on your insurance policy can impact your insurance rates…drivers with better records often improve pricing. 

___ Ask about other discounts

Insurance companies typically offer a variety of different discounts, so ask your provider about what other discounts they offer for which you qualify. Keep in mind that discounts aren’t always the key to the best savings or coverage, so keep focused on the bottom line of price and value.  A company that offers few discounts may still have a lower overall price. Some common discounts include:

  • Safe driver discounts – no accidents or moving violations in 3 to 6 years
  • Anti-theft device
  • AAA or other motor club membership
  • Passive restraint/airbag
  • Low mileage
  • Hybrid vehicles
  • Good student
  • Student away
  • Driver training
  • Advanced defensive driver training
  • Public transit use
  • Age 65 or older
  • Loyalty discount
  • Pay in full
  • Group discount –based on your being an employee, alumni or member of a particular group
  •  

___ Increase your deductible 

Raising the deductible increases the amount you’ll pay out of pocket if you have an accident; however, the savings on your premium can be significant if you don’ t have any claims. It’s a calculated risk, but if you can afford it, the savings in the long run can be quite beneficial. Be sure you have the deductible available in your savings in case of an accident.

___ Reduce the physical damage coverage on older vehicles 

If your car is worth less than 10 times what you pay for this portion of your insurance, it may not be cost effective to maintain comprehensive and/or collision coverage according to some experts. What you would receive to pay for damages to your car less the deductible may not be much more than the premium. However, your potential liability for injuring someone or damaging other’s property aren’t reduced, so these shouldn’t be changed regardless of the age of your vehicle.

___ Selecting the types of coverage you want 

When looking for ways to save money, be sure to stay focused on the value of what various policy coverages provide. Don’t risk a lot for a little. Liability coverage to pay for causing injury or property damage is something to maximize. Often it’s not a lot more to have better coverage in these areas, which are your greatest risks in a lawsuit. Also, you want to protect yourself, in case you are hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver, who doesn’t have the coverage to pay for your injuries. 

___ Optional coverages that can be worth spending a little more 

Uninsured & underinsured motorist coverage  What happens if you are injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver? Do you want to wait for a lawsuit to be finalized before you are paid or would you rather get funds from your insurance company to make your life easier in the interim? These coverages provide so that your own car insurance can protect you from others who aren’t as responsible as you are.

Substitute transportation  If you have an accident, how will you get to work if your car is not drivable for weeks?  Can you afford hundreds in rental cost out of pocket?  The small investment might be worth it unless you have a reliable option.

Accident forgiveness  If you have a clean driving record, accident forgiveness is an option  that helps keep your premium from going up the first time you have an at-fault accident. It can save you hundreds as it takes 6 years to reclaim a clean record after an accident.

At Murphy Insurance Agency, our knowledgeable associates can help you compare options among 8 different insurance carriers as well as guide you in making wise decisions about car insurance. Ultimately, you need to decide what issues are important to you, and what you can afford to pay for on your own vs. insure against.  The key is not to skimp on the coverages that provide important coverage in case the worst occurs. Saving money is important. Being covered is even more important.

Ready to compare options? Click for a quote.

 

 

 

 

 

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