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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There isn’t a single person who looks forward to buying insurance coverage, particularly when they are paying too much.

Big companies like State Farm, Progressive and GEICO continually hit you with catchy ads and it can be hard to ignore the flashy ads and find the best price available.

If you currently have a car insurance policy, you should be able to reduce your rates substantially using these techniques. Buying car insurance is not rocket science. Although drivers do need to understand how big insurance companies price online insurance and apply this information to your search.

Quote auto insurance online

There are multiple methods to compare auto insurance prices but one way is easier and takes less work. You can waste a few hours (or days) talking about coverages with local insurance agents in your area, or you could use online quoting to get the quickest rates.

Many companies take part in a program that allows shoppers to only type in their quote data once, and each participating company can give them a price based on that data. This system prevents you from having to do quotation requests for each company you want a rate for. To compare rates using this form now click to open in new window.

The only downside to comparing rates this way is that you can’t choose the providers to get quotes from. If you prefer to choose individual companies to compare rates, we put together a list of companies who write auto insurance in your area. View list of insurance companies.

It doesn’t matter which method you choose, just make sure you use equivalent quote information with each company. If you have different values for each quote it’s impossible to make a fair comparison for your BMW M. Just a small difference in insurance coverages or limits could mean much higher rates. And when price shopping your coverage, comparing more quotes increases the change that you will find a better price. Some insurance companies are not set up to provide online quotes, so you need to compare price quotes from the smaller companies as well.

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

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Can you really save $402 a year?

Companies like 21st Century, Allstate and State Farm constantly bombard you with television, radio, and online ads. They all seem to advertise claims about savings after switching your policy. That’s great but how can every company lower your premium rates? It’s all in the words they use.

Insurance providers have specific characteristics for the type of customer that earns them the highest profit. A good example of a desirable risk might be over age 30, has a low-risk occupation, and drives newer vehicles. Anyone that fits those parameters is entitled to the best price as well as save a lot of money.

Potential insureds who may not quite match these standards will have to pay higher premium rates which usually ends up with the customer not buying. The wording the ads use say “people who switch” not “everyone who quotes” will save that much if they switch. That is how insurance companies can make the claims of big savings.

This illustrates why it is so important to compare many company’s rates. Because you never know which auto insurance company will have the best prices at this point in time.

Auto insurance quotes and discounts

Not many people think insurance is cheap, but there may be some discounts to reduce the price significantly. A few discounts will be applied at quote time, but some discounts are required to be manually applied before you get the savings.

  • Save with a New Car – Adding a new car to your policy can get you a discount because newer vehicles keep occupants safer.
  • Homeowners Savings – Owning a home can get you a discount because of the fact that having a home is proof of financial responsibility.
  • Passive Restraints – Cars that have air bags or motorized seat belts may earn rate discounts of up to 25% or more.
  • Multiple Vehicles – Buying insurance for primary and secondary vehicles on one policy may reduce the rate for each vehicle.
  • Data Collection Discounts – Drivers that enable their insurance company to scrutinize where and when they drive by using a telematic data system such as In-Drive from State Farm or Allstate’s Drivewise system might get better premium rates as long as the data is positive.
  • Pay Now and Pay Less – By paying your policy upfront as opposed to paying monthly you may have a lower total premium amount.
  • Student Driver Training – Make teen driver coverage more affordable by requiring them to sucessfully take a drivers education course in high school.
  • Early Signing – Some auto insurance companies provide a discount for buying a new policy before your current policy expires. You may see this discount when you get insurance quotes online.
  • No Charge for an Accident – Not really a discount, but certain companies will forgive one accident before they charge you more for coverage if you are claim-free before the accident.

You should keep in mind that most credits do not apply to all coverage premiums. Most only cut specific coverage prices like collision or personal injury protection. Even though it appears all those discounts means the company will pay you, company stockholders wouldn’t be very happy. But any discount will bring down your overall bill.

To view providers that offer many of these discounts, click here to view.

Situations that may require an agent’s advice

When choosing the right insurance coverage, there really is no best way to insure your cars. Everyone’s situation is unique and a cookie cutter policy won’t apply. Here are some questions about coverages that might point out if you may require specific advice.

  • Is my state a no-fault state?
  • Should I buy only the required minimum liability coverage?
  • If I drive on a suspended license am I covered?
  • Do I need higher collision deductibles?
  • Is motorclub coverage worth it?
  • Is a fancy paint job covered?
  • Does coverage extend to a rental car in a foreign country?
  • What is an SR-22 filing?
  • Where can I find DUI or SR-22 insurance?

If you’re not sure about those questions, you may need to chat with a licensed agent. To find an agent in your area, complete this form or you can also visit this page to select a carrier

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

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Detailed coverages of your insurance policy

Learning about specific coverages of a insurance policy aids in choosing which coverages you need for your vehicles. The coverage terms in a policy can be difficult to understand and nobody wants to actually read their policy. Shown next are the usual coverages available from insurance companies.

Liability coverage

This protects you from damages or injuries you inflict on other people or property in an accident. This coverage protects you against claims from other people, and doesn’t cover your injuries or vehicle damage.

Coverage consists of three different limits, per person bodily injury, per accident bodily injury, and a property damage limit. You commonly see values of 50/100/50 which means $50,000 bodily injury coverage, a limit of $100,000 in injury protection per accident, and a total limit of $50,000 for damage to vehicles and property. Another option is one limit called combined single limit (CSL) that pays claims from the same limit rather than limiting it on a per person basis.

Liability can pay for claims such as structural damage, medical services and legal defense fees. How much liability coverage do you need? That is a personal decision, but consider buying higher limits if possible.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM)

This gives you protection when the “other guys” either are underinsured or have no liability coverage at all. It can pay for hospital bills for your injuries as well as your vehicle’s damage.

Since a lot of drivers carry very low liability coverage limits, their limits can quickly be used up. That’s why carrying high Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage should not be overlooked. Usually the UM/UIM limits are identical to your policy’s liability coverage.

Comprehensive insurance

This pays to fix your vehicle from damage OTHER than collision with another vehicle or object. You first have to pay a deductible then your comprehensive coverage will pay.

Comprehensive coverage pays for things like falling objects, a tree branch falling on your vehicle and rock chips in glass. The most you’ll receive from a claim is the market value of your vehicle, so if the vehicle is not worth much it’s probably time to drop comprehensive insurance.

Collision protection

This coverage pays for damage to your M resulting from a collision with a stationary object or other vehicle. You first must pay a deductible then the remaining damage will be paid by your insurance company.

Collision insurance covers claims like hitting a mailbox, colliding with a tree, sideswiping another vehicle, hitting a parking meter and scraping a guard rail. This coverage can be expensive, so consider dropping it from lower value vehicles. You can also bump up the deductible to get cheaper collision coverage.

Med pay and Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

Med pay and PIP coverage kick in for short-term medical expenses such as funeral costs, doctor visits, dental work and pain medications. They can be used to cover expenses not covered by your health insurance policy or if there is no health insurance coverage. It covers all vehicle occupants in addition to being hit by a car walking across the street. PIP is not available in all states and may carry a deductible

More comparisons equals lower rates

You just read some good ideas how you can save on 2002 BMW M insurance. It’s most important to understand that the more companies you get rates for, the higher your chance of finding the cheapest insurance. Consumers may even find the best prices are with a smaller regional carrier. Regional companies may cover specific market segments cheaper than their larger competitors like Allstate or State Farm.

As you prepare to switch companies, you should never skimp on coverage in order to save money. In too many instances, an insured cut comprehensive coverage or liability limits and learned later that they should have had better coverage. The proper strategy is to purchase plenty of coverage for the lowest cost, but do not skimp to save money.

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