Can you name a special car insurance feature off the top of your head? Chances are you can do more than that. With insurance commercials on TV, radio and Internet 24-hours a day; you can probably recite slogans, sing the jingles, and even recall the names of the characters and celebrities that lend their faces to the advertising. In this post, we will discuss many of the most frequently advertised insurance features and where you can find them.
New Car Replacement
Car insurance covers the value of your vehicle, which begins to depreciate the moment you drive it off the lot. If you purchase New Car Replacement coverage from your insurance company, the insurer instead pays to replace your totaled vehicle with another one just like it – a value much greater than a typical settlement.
Liberty Mutual often advertises this benefit in commercials, promising to replace your brand new car with another one if it is under a year old and has fewer than 15,000 miles on it. However, several insurance companies offer similar protections with varying degrees of coverage. Some insurance companies offer better car replacement for used vehicles in addition to new ones. Others extend New Car Replacement beyond the first year. Travelers Insurance, for example, offers New Car Replacement for up to five full years of ownership.
Part of an insurance agent’s job is to ask questions to find out if you may qualify for any special discounts or savings. When State Farm advertises a Discount Double-Check, they are marketing a service that any agent can, and perhaps should, offer. Of course, State Farm agents only double-check for overlooked discounts from State Farm. And independent agent, however, can widen the field of search, comparing discounts from multiple insurance companies to ensure you get a good value for the coverage you need.
Allstate’s Accident Forgiveness commercials claim the company will not raise your rates just because of a first-time accident. To anyone who has ever experienced a post-accident rate increase, this sounds like good news. However, this coverage does come at an additional cost, which generally raises the cost of coverage overall.
If you still prefer the assurance that Accident Forgiveness provides, you do have options. Versions of this coverage are available from a wide range of insurance companies besides Allstate – Liberty Mutual, Acuity, Nationwide, Progressive, and The Hartford just to name a few. One company – Integrity Insurance – even offers it for free to qualifying customers of five years or more.
Name Your Price Tool
Next up is the Name Your Price Tool, a feature advertised by Progressive Insurance. The Name Your Price Tool became popular many years ago and has remained a popular feature even today. Using the tool, a driver can enter information, get a quote, and then adjust coverage options to lower the premium further. Often, drivers looking for a bargain will cut or eliminate coverage to get the lowest possible price. This can put the driver at risk of major financial loss in the event of an accident. Not to mention, the lower Progressive rate still may not beat that of a competitor.
Keep in mind that price should not be the primary factor in choosing an insurance policy. After all, the coverage is designed first and foremost to protect you against risk vulnerabilities. Furthermore, a bare-bones policy designed primarily around price is generally going to fall short of most drivers’ coverage needs. That’s why we recommend skipping this tool and going directly to your independent agent to find an affordable rate for the coverage you actually need.
Bundle and Save
We’ll kick off part two with Progressive’s Bundle-and-Save Discount. Chances are if you are buying your own car insurance, you also probably pay rent or own your own home. The Bundle-and-Save discount is a promotion Progressive uses to get as much of your insurance business as possible – by offering you a discount for multiple lines of coverage.
The truth is nearly all insurance companies have some type of discount for drivers who bundle multiple coverage lines together, whether for more than one vehicle or home or renters insurance. Some will even extend the discounts to coverage for other types of vehicles, such as RVs, boats, and motorcycles.
Safe Driving Bonus Check
If you drive safely, you should be recognized for your efforts. Insurers benefit when you remain accident-free, which is why many are willing to extend discounts and other benefits for safe driving. One example is Allstate’s Safe Driving Bonus Check, which promises to send a check to accident-free drivers every six months. To qualify, drivers must:
- Enroll in the Your Choice Auto Program
- Have good credit
- Have a good driving record
- Pay an additional cost to remain in the program
Drivers qualify for the Safe Driving Bonus Check receive a payment essentially worth up to five percent of the premiums paid into the policy over the previous six months. For a $500 policy, that’s about $25.
If you are interested in safe-driving benefits, talk to an independent agent here at Lillie-Couch Insurance about your options. Many insurance companies have special offers for safe drivers, such as premium discounts and premiums and deductibles that become gradually smaller as you remain accident-free over time.
Roadside Assistance is our next topic in response to the commercials Liberty Mutual currently runs promoting the service. With Roadside Assistance, help is available any time of the day or night to deliver fuel, change a flat tire, jump off a battery, or help you unlock your car. It comes at an additional cost, but many drivers find the small fee to be well worth the peace of mind Roadside Assistance can provide.
If you’d like to add Roadside Assistance to your car insurance, give us a call here at Lillie-Couch Insurance. Nearly all insurance companies offer a version of this protection, although the fine points of this coverage may vary from insurer to insurer.
When you total your car, you expect the insurance company to pay for the damages, but sometimes the settlement is not enough to cover the entire loss. Most vehicles rapidly depreciate, resulting in car loan balances that are much higher than the value of the vehicle. If you total your car during the first few years of ownership, the insurance settlement may fall short of paying off your loan. GAP coverage is designed to pay the difference, helping you to avoid a large bill from your lender.
Sometimes GAP insurance is offered by lenders and car dealers when you first finance a new vehicle. Though legitimate, you could end up paying too much money for too much coverage by going this route. Lender and dealer-sold coverage often requires upfront payment of premiums for the entire duration of your loan – even the latter years when your car’s value exceeds the balance of your loan. Instead, we recommend adding GAP protection through an independent agent who can also help you drop the coverage once it is no longer necessary.
In short, advertised insurance features are not always exactly what they seem. Always consult with an independent agent here at Lillie-Couch Insurance when you have questions about specific benefits or discounts and whether they could be right for you.