Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Benjamin Carr was a licensed insurance agent in Georgia and has two years’ experience in life, health, property and casualty coverage. He has worked with State Farm and other risk management firms. He is also a strategic writer and editor with a background in branding, marketing, and quality assurance. He has been in military newsrooms — literally on the frontline of journalism.

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Reviewed by Benji Carr
Former Licensed Life Insurance Agent Benji Carr

UPDATED: Nov 26, 2018

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There isn’t anyone who enjoys paying for insurance, especially when they are aware that they are paying too much.

Insurance companies such as Progressive, State Farm and GEICO promote their brand names with TV and radio ads and it is difficult to not get sucked in by the cute commercials and effectively compare rates to find the best deal.

If you currently have a car insurance policy, you will be able to save some money using these methods. Buying car insurance is quite easy. Although car owners do need to learn how insurance companies market on the web and use this information to your advantage.

Lower rate quotes by receiving discounts

Some providers don’t always list all disounts very well, so the list below contains both well-publicized and also the more inconspicuous credits available to you.

  • Telematics Data – Insureds who allow data collection to track where and when they drive remotely such as Progressive’s Snapshot and State Farm’s In-Drive might get better premium rates if they have good driving habits.
  • Use Seat Belts – Requiring all passengers to buckle their seat belts can save 10% or more on medical payment and PIP coverage.
  • Homeowners Savings – Owning a home can help you save on car insurance since home ownership means you have a higher level of financial diligence.
  • Theft Deterent Discount – Vehicles that have factory anti-theft systems are stolen less frequently and will qualify for a discount on a insurance quote.
  • E-sign Discounts – A handful of companies give back up to $50 for buying your policy on the internet.
  • Driver Education Discount – Have your child take driver’s ed class as it can save substantially.
  • Distant Student Discount – College-age children who are attending college and do not have a car may be able to be covered for less.

As a disclaimer on discounts, most discounts do not apply to your bottom line cost. The majority will only reduce the cost of specific coverages such as liability and collision coverage. So even though you would think it’s possible to get free car insurance, you won’t be that lucky.

To choose car insurance companies who offer discounts, follow this link.

Enter your zip code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

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Five things that influence your insurance prices

An important part of buying insurance is that you know some of the things that play a part in calculating your premiums. If you have a feel for what determines premiums, this empowers consumers to make smart changes that will entitle you to much lower annual insurance costs. Many things are taken into consideration when you get your auto insurance bill. Some of the criteria are obvious like an MVR report, although some other factors are more transparent such as your marital status and annual miles driven.

  • More traffic equals higher costs – Being located in a rural area may provide you with better prices when it comes to insurance coverage. Lower population means less chance of accidents in addition to lower liability claims Drivers who live in large cities have more aggressive driving styles and more severe claims. Higher commute times means higher likelihood of an accident.
  • Gender matters – Over the last 50 years, statistics have shown women are more cautious behind the wheel. That doesn’t necessarily mean that males are worse at driving than females. Both sexes cause fender benders in similar percentages, but guys have accidents that have higher claims. Men also tend to get more serious tickets such as reckless driving.
  • Don’t buy incidental coverages you don’t use – Insurance companies have many additional extra coverages that sound like a good idea at the time on your Safari policy. Coverages for replacement cost coverage, better glass coverage, and extra life insurance coverage could be just wasting money. They may seem like a good idea when deciding what coverages you need, but now you might not need them so eliminate the coverages to reduce your premium.
  • Your stress level may be raising your insurance coverage rates – Occupations such as lawyers, executives and emergency personnel have higher average rates because of high stress and lots of time spent at work. Conversely, careers like professors, students and the unemployed get better rates on Safari coverage.
  • Theft deterrents save – Choosing a vehicle with an alarm system can save you some money. Advanced theft deterrents like GM’s OnStar, tamper alarm systems and vehicle immobilizers all help stop auto theft and help lower rates.

Your insurance coverage should be tailored to you

When choosing coverage, there isn’t really a “best” method to buy coverage. Your needs are not the same as everyone else’s so this has to be addressed. Here are some questions about coverages that could help you determine if you would benefit from professional advice.

  • Do I need an umbrella policy?
  • Can I get a multi-policy discount?
  • Does my liability insurance cover pulling a trailer or camper?
  • Why am I be forced to buy a membership to get insurance from some companies?
  • Am I covered when delivering products for my home-based business?
  • Why am I required to get a high-risk car insurance policy?
  • What discounts do I qualify for?
  • Am I covered if hit by an uninsured driver?
  • Is upholstery damage covered by car insurance?
  • Do I need rental car coverage?

If you can’t answer these questions, you may need to chat with a licensed insurance agent. To find lower rates from a local agent, take a second and complete this form or you can go here for a list of companies in your area.

Save 15 percent in 15 minutes? Is it for real?

21st Century, Allstate and State Farm consistently run ads on TV and radio. All the companies seem to make the promise of big savings if you get a free insurance quote and switch to their company. It sounds good, but how can they all have lower policy pricing? Here is how they do it.

Insurance companies give the cheapest rates for the type of driver that earns them the highest profit. One example of a desirable risk might be a married male, owns a home, and has excellent credit. Any new insured that matches those criteria may get the lowest premium rates and therefore will save money with a new company.

Drivers who are not a match for this stringent profile will probably have to pay a higher premium which leads to the customer not buying. The trick is to say “people who switch” not “all people who quote” can save as much as they claim. That’s why companies can truthfully advertise the way they do.

This illustrates why you need to do a rate comparison at every renewal. Because you never know the company that will have the lowest rates.

Enter your zip code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

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Car insurance coverage breakdown

Knowing the specifics of a car insurance policy helps when choosing which coverages you need and the correct deductibles and limits. Policy terminology can be confusing and even agents have difficulty translating policy wording. Shown next are the usual coverages available from car insurance companies.

Comprehensive protection

Comprehensive insurance coverage covers damage that is not covered by collision coverage. You need to pay your deductible first then the remaining damage will be covered by your comprehensive coverage.

Comprehensive insurance covers claims like vandalism, hitting a deer and damage from getting keyed. The highest amount your car insurance company will pay is the market value of your vehicle, so if it’s not worth much more than your deductible it’s probably time to drop comprehensive insurance.

Collision protection

This coverage pays for damage to your Safari resulting from a collision with an object or car. A deductible applies and the rest of the damage will be paid by collision coverage.

Collision insurance covers things such as hitting a parking meter, driving through your garage door, colliding with another moving vehicle and crashing into a ditch. Collision is rather expensive coverage, so analyze the benefit of dropping coverage from lower value vehicles. You can also increase the deductible to bring the cost down.

Coverage for liability

Liability insurance provides protection from damage or injury you incur to other people or property by causing an accident. It protects you against claims from other people, and does not provide coverage for damage sustained by your vehicle in an accident.

Coverage consists of three different limits, per person bodily injury, per accident bodily injury, and a property damage limit. You commonly see liability limits of 25/50/25 that translate to $25,000 in coverage for each person’s injuries, a total of $50,000 of bodily injury coverage per accident, and $25,000 of coverage for damaged propery. Alternatively, you may have one limit called combined single limit (CSL) that pays claims from the same limit with no separate limits for injury or property damage.

Liability coverage pays for things like loss of income, funeral expenses, pain and suffering, medical expenses and emergency aid. The amount of liability coverage you purchase is up to you, but consider buying as high a limit as you can afford.

Uninsured or underinsured coverage

Your UM/UIM coverage provides protection from other drivers when they do not carry enough liability coverage. Covered claims include injuries sustained by your vehicle’s occupants as well as your vehicle’s damage.

Because many people carry very low liability coverage limits, their limits can quickly be used up. This is the reason having UM/UIM coverage is a good idea. Frequently the UM/UIM limits are identical to your policy’s liability coverage.

Medical expense coverage

Coverage for medical payments and/or PIP reimburse you for immediate expenses for things like surgery, rehabilitation expenses, nursing services and hospital visits. They are utilized in addition to your health insurance plan or if you are not covered by health insurance. Coverage applies to not only the driver but also the vehicle occupants and also covers being hit by a car walking across the street. Personal Injury Protection is not available in all states and gives slightly broader coverage than med pay

Make an honest buck

As you shop your coverage around, it’s a bad idea to skimp on coverage in order to save money. There are many occasions where consumers will sacrifice physical damage coverage only to discover later that it was a big error on their part. The aim is to buy the best coverage you can find at the best cost, but do not skimp to save money.

Some insurance companies do not offer price quotes online smaller providers sell through independent agents. Discount 1994 GMC Safari insurance can be purchased both online and also from your neighborhood agents, and you should be comparing both to have the best rate selection.

Additional information can be read at the links below