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 8, 2018

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Shopping for lower priced auto insurance over the internet is somewhat intimidating for beginners to comparing rates and buying auto insurance over the internet. With such a large choice of online companies available, how are vehicle owners able to possibly compare all the different companies and get better rates?

If you currently have car insurance, you stand a good chance to be able to save some money using these techniques. The purpose of this article is to introduce you to how to effectively get price quotes and some tricks to saving. Although car owners can benefit from knowing how insurance companies price online insurance.

Saturn S-Series insurance premium factors

Part of the car insurance buying process is learning the different types of things that play a part in calculating your policy premiums. If you know what positively or negatively impacts your premiums, this allows you to make educated decisions that may result in big savings. Many things are taken into consideration when premium rates are determined. A few of the factors are predictable like a motor vehicle report, although others are more obscure like your continuous coverage or your commute time.

  • Driver age impacts prices – Young drivers tend to be inattentive when driving so they pay higher car insurance rates. Older insureds are more responsible, cause fewer claims and accidents and receive fewer citations.
  • Your car’s features help determine rates – Selecting a car model with an alarm system can help bring down rates. Systems that thwart theives such as GM’s OnStar, tamper alarm systems and vehicle immobilizers all hinder vehicle theft.
  • Do safer cars cost less to insure? – Safe vehicles tend to be cheaper to insure. Safer cars reduce injuries and lower injury rates means lower claim amounts and more competitive rates for policyholders. If your Saturn is rated at least an “acceptable” rating on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety website it may cost less to insure.
  • Vocation and insurance rates – Do you work in a high-stress field? Careers such as military personnelairline pilots and medical professionals have higher premiums than the average policyholder in part from intense work situations and long work days. Other jobs such as professors, engineers and the unemployed have the lowest average rates on S-Series insurance.
  • Accidents inflate prices – Drivers with clean records get better prices than people who have multiple driving citations. Having a single driving citation can increase the cost of insurance by as much as twenty percent. People who have serious tickets like DWI, reckless driving or hit and run convictions may face state-mandated requirements to complete a SR-22 with the DMV in their state in order to drive a vehicle legally.
  • Do you save by driving less? – Driving a lot of miles every year the higher your rates will be. Most insurance companies calculate prices based upon how much you drive. Autos that sit idle most of the time receive lower rates than cars that get driven a lot. Incorrect rating for your S-Series may be costing you higher rates. Double check that your car insurance policy states the proper vehicle usage.
  • Marriage is a good thing – Getting married actually saves money on your car insurance bill. Having a significant other usually means you are more stable financially and insurance companies like that drivers who are married are more cautious.

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Auto insurance policy discounts you can’t miss

Insurance can cost an arm and a leg, but there may be some discounts to help offset the cost. Certain discounts will be applied when you get a quote, but lesser-known reductions have to be specifically requested before you get the savings.

  • No Accidents – Drivers with accident-free driving histories pay much less in comparison to accident-prone drivers.
  • Low Mileage – Keeping the miles down on your Saturn may allow you to get lower rates on the low mileage vehicles.
  • Professional Organizations – Being a member of qualifying employment or professional organizations could qualify you for a break on your next auto insurance statement.
  • Passive Restraint Discount – Factory air bags or motorized seat belts may qualify for discounts of 20 to 30 percent.
  • Save over 55 – If you’re over the age of 55, you can get lower premium rates on S-Series insurance.
  • Anti-theft System – Cars and trucks equipped with anti-theft or alarm systems have a lower chance of being stolen and will qualify for a discount on a insurance quote.
  • Discounts for Safe Drivers – Insureds who avoid accidents can pay as much as 50% less on S-Series insurance compared to accident prone drivers.
  • Seat Belt Discounts – Drivers who require all occupants to use a seat belt could cut 10% or more off PIP or medical payments premium.
  • Auto/Home Discount – When you have multiple policies with the same company you will save over 10 percent off each policy depending on the company.
  • One Accident Forgiven – This one is not really a discount per se, but some insurance companies will forgive one accident before your rates go up if your claims history is clear for a set time period.

Policy discounts save money, but most credits do not apply to the overall cost of the policy. Some only apply to specific coverage prices like liability and collision coverage. So when it seems like you could get a free auto insurance policy, that’s just not realistic.

To see providers that offer some of these discounts, click here.

Smaller companies may have the best rates

Big name companies like Allstate and Progressive consistently run television and radio advertisements. They all seem to make the point about how much you will save if you move your policy. How is it possible that every company can have lower policy pricing? Here is the trick they use.

Insurance companies have specific guidelines for the type of driver that will not have excessive claims. An example of a desirable insured should be a married female, has no driving citations, and drives newer vehicles. Any driver who fits that profile will get the preferred premium rates and therefore will cut their rates substantially.

Drivers who do not fit the “perfect” profile will have to pay more expensive rates which translates to business not being written. The ad wording is “people who switch” not “everybody who quotes” save money. This is how insurance companies can advertise the way they do. This really illustrates why drivers should quote coverage with many companies. It’s impossible to know the company that will give you the biggest savings.

Insurance agents can help

When buying coverage for your vehicles, there really is not a single plan that fits everyone. Everyone’s needs are different.

These are some specific questions might help in determining if your insurance needs might need professional guidance.

  • Am I covered when using my vehicle for business?
  • What exactly is covered by my policy?
  • Am I covered when driving a rental car?
  • I have good health insurance, so how much medical payments coverage do I need?
  • Is extra glass coverage worth it?
  • What is UM/UIM insurance?
  • I have a DUI can I still get coverage?
  • What if I owe more than I can insure my car for?
  • Is my dog or cat covered if injured in an accident?

If you can’t answer these questions but a few of them apply, you might consider talking to a licensed insurance agent. If you want to speak to an agent in your area, complete this form.

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Coverages available on your policy

Having a good grasp of your policy can be of help when determining appropriate coverage and proper limits and deductibles. The coverage terms in a policy can be confusing and even agents have difficulty translating policy wording.

Auto liability insurance

Liability insurance protects you from damage or injury you incur to a person or their property in an accident. This insurance protects YOU against claims from other people. Liability doesn’t cover your injuries or vehicle damage.

Coverage consists of three different limits, bodily injury for each person, bodily injury for the entire accident, and a limit for property damage. You might see liability limits of 25/50/25 which stand for $25,000 bodily injury coverage, $50,000 for the entire accident, and a limit of $25,000 paid for damaged property.

Liability coverage pays for claims such as attorney fees, legal defense fees and loss of income. How much coverage you buy is your choice, but you should buy as large an amount as possible.

Comprehensive insurance

This coverage will pay to fix damage from a wide range of events other than collision. You need to pay your deductible first then your comprehensive coverage will pay.

Comprehensive coverage protects against claims like hail damage, vandalism and a broken windshield. The maximum payout you can receive from a comprehensive claim is the market value of your vehicle, so if the vehicle’s value is low consider dropping full coverage.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM)

Your UM/UIM coverage protects you and your vehicle’s occupants from other motorists when they are uninsured or don’t have enough coverage. Covered claims include injuries sustained by your vehicle’s occupants and damage to your Saturn S-Series.

Because many people only purchase the least amount of liability that is required, it doesn’t take a major accident to exceed their coverage limits. For this reason, having high UM/UIM coverages is important protection for you and your family.

Med pay and Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

Coverage for medical payments and/or PIP provide coverage for immediate expenses like doctor visits, surgery and X-ray expenses. They are often used to fill the gap from your health insurance policy or if there is no health insurance coverage. They cover all vehicle occupants in addition to any family member struck as a pedestrian. PIP coverage is only offered in select states and may carry a deductible

Auto collision coverage

Collision coverage will pay to fix damage to your S-Series caused by collision with an object or car. You first must pay a deductible and then insurance will cover the remainder.

Collision can pay for things such as colliding with a tree, rolling your car, crashing into a building, hitting a mailbox and backing into a parked car. Paying for collision coverage can be pricey, so consider removing coverage from lower value vehicles. You can also raise the deductible to save money on collision insurance.

You can do this!

Budget-friendly insurance can be found on the web and with local insurance agents, and you need to price shop both so you have a total pricing picture. There are still a few companies who don’t offer the ability to get quotes online and most of the time these smaller providers only sell coverage through independent insurance agents.

When shopping online for insurance, it’s a bad idea to buy lower coverage limits just to save a few bucks. Too many times, someone sacrificed uninsured motorist or liability limits and discovered at claim time that their decision to reduce coverage ended up costing them more. The ultimate goal is to buy the best coverage you can find at a price you can afford.

Drivers change insurance companies for any number of reasons including denial of a claim, delays in responding to claim requests, poor customer service and even extreme rates for teen drivers. Regardless of your reason, switching insurance companies is easier than you think.

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