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: Oct 6, 2015

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Wish you could get a refund on an expensive car insurance policy? Say no more because there are lots of people in the same boat. Consumers have so many insurers to choose from, and though it is a good thing to have multiple companies, it makes it harder to adequately compare rates.

You should take the time to price shop coverage every six months because rates tend to go up over time. If you had the lowest rate for 3 Series insurance last year there may be better deals available now. Ignore everything you know about car insurance because it’s time to teach you the fastest way to find lower rates on car insurance.

Finding affordable coverage is easy if you know what you’re doing. If you currently have car insurance, you stand a good chance to be able to lower your premiums substantially using this information. Vehicle owners just need to learn the proper way to buy car insurance online.

Do you qualify for discounts?

Auto insurance is not inexpensive, but companies offer discounts that many consumers don’t even know exist. Most are applied when you complete an application, but some discounts are required to be manually applied before you get the savings.

  • Military Rewards – Having a family member in the military could mean lower premium rates.
  • Own a Home and Save – Being a homeowner may earn you a small savings because owning a home is proof that your finances are in order.
  • Low Mileage Discounts – Keeping the miles down on your BMW can earn substantially lower prices.
  • No Charge for an Accident – Not really a discount, but some companies like GEICO, Progressive, and Allstate will let one accident slide without raising rates if your claims history is clear before the accident.
  • Pay Early and Save – By making one initial payment rather than paying monthly you can actually save on your bill.
  • Auto/Home Discount – When you have multiple policies with one insurance company you could get a discount of at least 10% off all policies.
  • Theft Prevention Discount – Cars and trucks with anti-theft systems are stolen with less frequency and can earn a small discount on your policy.
  • No Accidents – Insureds who avoid accidents and claims can save substantially as opposed to drivers who are more careless.
  • ABS Braking Discount – Vehicles that have anti-lock braking systems have fewer accidents and qualify for as much as a 10% discount.
  • Early Signing – Some companies provide a discount for signing up prior to your current policy expiration. You can save around 10% with this discount.

As a disclaimer on discounts, most credits do not apply to the overall cost of the policy. The majority will only reduce specific coverage prices like liability and collision coverage. So despite the fact that it appears all the discounts add up to a free policy, you won’t be that lucky.

To find insurers who offer online auto insurance quotes, click here to view.

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

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Learn how to lower your insurance costs

Multiple criteria are used when you quote your car insurance policy. Some of the criteria are obvious such as your driving history, but others are more obscure like your vehicle usage or how financially stable you are.

  • Liability protection preserves assets – Liability insurance will protect you in the event that you are found liable for damages from an accident. Your liability coverage provides you with a defense in court which can cost a lot. Liability is cheap when compared to the cost of physical damage coverage, so buy as much as you can afford.
  • Save by driving less – Driving more miles in a year the more you’ll pay to insure your vehicle. Many insurance companies rate vehicles based upon how you use the vehicle. Cars left parked in the garage get more affordable rates compared to those used for work or business. A policy that improperly rates your 3 Series may be wasting your money. Make sure your vehicle rating states the right rating data, because improper ratings can cost you money.
  • Decrease insurance coverage rates by maintaining coverage – Driving your car without having proper coverage is not a good idea and companies may charge more for letting your insurance coverage expire. Not only will rates go up, the inability to provide proof of insurance might get you fines and jail time. You may then have to prove you have insurance by filing a SR-22 with your state DMV.
  • Do men or women drive better? – The statistics show that females tend to be a little less risky than males. Now that doesn’t mean men are WORSE drivers than women. Women and men tend to get into auto accidents at a similar rate, but the men get into accidents with more damage. Not only that, but men also get higher numbers of serious violations such as reckless driving.
  • Marriage is a factor – Getting married may save some money on insurance coverage. Marriage usually means you are more mature than a single person and it’s proven that married drivers get in fewer accidents.
  • Youthful drivers cost more – Beginning drivers have a tendency to get distracted easily when driving and because of this, their insurance coverage rates are much higher. More mature drivers are more cautious drivers, tend to file fewer claims and are safer drivers.

Don’t assume everyone needs the same insurance coverage

When it comes to buying proper insurance coverage, there really is no “perfect” insurance plan. Each situation is unique so this has to be addressed. Here are some questions about coverages that can help discover if your situation may require specific advice.

  • Am I covered if I crash into my own garage door?
  • How high should my uninsured/underinsured coverage be in my state?
  • How many claims can I have before being cancelled?
  • What is the minimum liability in my state?
  • Are there companies who specialize in insuring high-risk drivers?
  • What discounts do I qualify for?
  • Does my personal policy cover me when driving out-of-state?
  • Will my insurance pay for OEM parts?

If you’re not sure about those questions but a few of them apply, then you may want to think about talking to a licensed agent. If you don’t have a local agent, complete this form or you can also visit this page to select a carrier It’s fast, doesn’t cost anything and can help protect your family.

Does car insurance advertising bend the truth?

Consumers can’t get away from ads that promise big savings for switching from companies such as Allstate, GEICO and Progressive. All the ads tend to make the same promise that you can save if you move to their company.

It sounds good, but how can they all say the same thing?

Car insurance companies have a certain “appetite” for the driver that will generate a profit. For instance, a profitable risk profile might have to be over the age of 50, has no claims, and drives less than 10,000 miles a year. Anybody who meets those qualifications will most likely get cheap prices and have a good chance to save a lot of money.

Potential customers who don’t qualify for this ideal profile may be forced to pay a higher rate which translates to the customer buying from someone else. If you listen to the ad wording, they say “drivers who switch” not “everybody who quotes” save that kind of money. That’s why insurance companies can advertise the savings. This illustrates why you should compare rate quotes every year. Because without a comparison, you cannot know which company will fit your personal profile best.

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

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Auto insurance 101

Having a good grasp of your insurance policy helps when choosing appropriate coverage for your vehicles. Insurance terms can be impossible to understand and reading a policy is terribly boring. These are typical coverage types found on the average insurance policy.

Collision insurance

Collision insurance will pay to fix damage to your 3 Series resulting from colliding with an object or car. You have to pay a deductible and then insurance will cover the remainder.

Collision can pay for claims such as sideswiping another vehicle, colliding with another moving vehicle, crashing into a ditch and driving through your garage door. Collision coverage makes up a good portion of your premium, so consider dropping it from older vehicles. You can also increase the deductible to save money on collision insurance.

Comprehensive insurance

Comprehensive insurance coverage covers damage from a wide range of events other than collision. You first must pay your deductible and the remainder of the damage will be paid by comprehensive coverage.

Comprehensive insurance covers things like a tree branch falling on your vehicle, hail damage, damage from flooding, damage from a tornado or hurricane and hitting a bird. The maximum amount a insurance company will pay at claim time is the market value of your vehicle, so if it’s not worth much more than your deductible consider dropping full coverage.

Coverage for medical expenses

Med pay and PIP coverage provide coverage for immediate expenses for things like rehabilitation expenses, X-ray expenses, ambulance fees and nursing services. The coverages can be used in conjunction with a health insurance policy or if you lack health insurance entirely. It covers both the driver and occupants as well as any family member struck as a pedestrian. Personal Injury Protection is only offered in select states and gives slightly broader coverage than med pay

Auto liability

Liability coverage protects you from damages or injuries you inflict on other’s property or people in an accident. This insurance protects YOU against claims from other people. Liability doesn’t cover damage sustained by your vehicle in an accident.

Liability coverage has three limits: bodily injury per person, bodily injury per accident and property damage. You might see limits of 25/50/25 which stand for $25,000 in coverage for each person’s injuries, a total of $50,000 of bodily injury coverage per accident, and a total limit of $25,000 for damage to vehicles and property.

Liability can pay for claims like bail bonds, medical services, emergency aid and loss of income. How much liability coverage do you need? That is up to you, but you should buy higher limits if possible.

Coverage for uninsured or underinsured drivers

Your UM/UIM coverage provides protection from other drivers when they do not carry enough liability coverage. Covered losses include injuries to you and your family as well as your vehicle’s damage.

Due to the fact that many drivers only purchase the least amount of liability that is required, their liability coverage can quickly be exhausted. For this reason, having high UM/UIM coverages is very important.

Save your cold hard cash

As you restructure your insurance plan, it’s a bad idea to buy lower coverage limits just to save a few bucks. There have been many cases where consumers will sacrifice full coverage and learned later that saving that couple of dollars actually costed them tens of thousands. The goal is to purchase plenty of coverage at the best price, but do not skimp to save money.

You just learned a lot of techniques to reduce 1997 BMW 3 Series insurance rates online. The most important thing to understand is the more quotes you get, the higher your chance of finding low cost car insurance. You may even find the best rates are with a lesser-known regional company. They may cover specific market segments cheaper than the large multi-state companies such as State Farm and Allstate.

To learn more, link through to the resources below: