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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Comparison shopping for more affordable insurance may be a challenge for drivers new to online comparison shopping. Because there are so many companies competing online, it can turn into more work than you anticipated to compare rates.

Finding the best rates is quite easy. Basically, every driver who is required by state law to have auto insurance should be able to cut their insurance bill. Nevertheless, car owners should learn how companies price online insurance and use this information to your advantage.

The best way we recommend to compare insurance rates from multiple companies is to know most of the bigger providers provide online access to compare rate quotes. All consumers are required to do is give them some information like which vehicles you own, if it has an anti-theft system, how old drivers are, and if the car is leased. That rating data is automatically sent to multiple companies and you receive quotes with very little delay.

Slash your car insurance rates with discounts

Some insurance providers don’t always advertise the entire discount list in a way that’s easy to find, so we break down a few of the more well known as well as some of the hidden ways to save on car insurance.

  • Early Signing – Some larger companies give discounts for switching to them before your current expiration date. You could save around 10% when you buy insurance online.
  • Payment Discounts – By paying your entire bill at once instead of making monthly payments you could save 5% or more.
  • ABS Brakes – Cars equipped with ABS or steering control are much safer to drive and will save you 10% or more.
  • Discounts for Multiple Vehicles – Insuring several vehicles on the same car insurance policy can get a discount for every vehicle.
  • Savings for New Vehicles – Insuring a vehicle that is new may earn a small discount because newer models are generally safer.
  • Distant Student Discount – Any of your kids who live away from home to go to college and do not have a car may qualify for this discount.

A quick disclaimer, some of the credits will not apply to your bottom line cost. Most only reduce the price of certain insurance coverages like comp or med pay. If you do the math and it seems like all the discounts add up to a free policy, it doesn’t quite work that way.

A list of companies and some of the discounts are outlined below.

  • State Farm may offer discounts for anti-theft, defensive driving training, driver’s education, multiple autos, and multiple policy.
  • Liberty Mutual offers discounts for multi-car, new graduate, newly married, newly retired, safety features, good student, and multi-policy.
  • American Family includes discounts for bundled insurance, multi-vehicle, accident-free, defensive driver, air bags, and good driver.
  • Progressive has savings for multi-vehicle, good student, multi-policy, online signing, continuous coverage, homeowner, and online quote discount.
  • Farmers Insurance offers premium reductions for good student, early shopping, youthful driver, mature driver, multi-car, teen driver, and pay in full.
  • Auto-Owners Insurance has discounts for anti-theft, mature driver, good student, anti-lock brakes, air bags, and group or association.
  • SAFECO offers discounts including teen safe driver, anti-theft, accident prevention training, teen safety rewards, safe driver, and homeowner.

If you are trying to find inexpensive insurance quotes, ask every company which discounts they offer. A few discounts might not apply in every state.

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

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Six things that impact your insurance costs

Lots of factors are used in the calculation when you get your auto insurance bill. A few of the factors are predictable like your driving record, although some other factors are not as apparent such as your marital status or how safe your car is.

The factors shown below are some of the items used by companies to determine rates.

  • Driver age impacts rates – Inexperience drivers are statistically proven to be less responsible when driving with friends so they pay higher auto insurance rates. Having to add a young driver onto your auto insurance can be quite pricey. More experienced drivers have been proven to be more responsible, are lower risk to insure and tend to be get fewer driving tickets.
  • Lower premiums with uninterrupted coverage – Having a gap between insurance policy dates is a guaranteed way to pay more for auto insurance. Not only will rates go up, not being able to provide proof of insurance might get you fines or a revoked license. You may have to provide proof of insurance in the form of an SR-22 filing with your state DMV.
  • How much liability protection do you need? – Liability coverage will afford coverage when you are found to be at fault for causing damage or personal injury in an accident. It provides legal defense coverage which can cost a lot. It is affordable coverage as compared to coverage for physical damage, so drivers should buy more than the minimum limits required by law.
  • Is you vocation costing you more? – Careers like lawyersair traffic controllers and emergency personnel generally pay higher rates than the rest of us due to high stress levels and lots of time spent at work. Conversely, occupations like professors, engineers and the unemployed have lower than average premiums on M coverage.
  • Small coverages can add up – There are many optional add-on coverages that you can buy on your M policy. Things like rental car reimbursement, better glass coverage, and motor club memberships may not be needed and are just wasting money. These may sound like a good investment when deciding what coverages you need, but your money might be better spent on other coverage so remove them and pocket the money.
  • Higher comp and collision deductibles are cheaper – Insurance for physical damage, also called comprehensive and collision insurance, is used to repair damage to your BMW. Some instances where coverage would apply could be a windshield shattered by a rock, damage caused by hail, and burglary. Comp and collision deductibles tell how much you are willing to pay if the claim is covered. The more money you are required to pay out-of-pocket, the less your auto insurance will be on M coverage.

You are unique and your insurance should be too

When it comes to choosing adequate coverage for your vehicles, there really is not a one size fits all plan. Everyone’s needs are different.

These are some specific questions may help you determine if you might need professional guidance.

  • Are there companies who specialize in insuring high-risk drivers?
  • Does having multiple vehicles earn me a discount?
  • Does coverage extend to my business vehicle?
  • Is my ex-spouse still covered by my policy?
  • Does medical payments coverage apply to all occupants?
  • Am I covered if I drive in a foreign country?
  • What exactly is covered by my policy?
  • What are the financial responsibility laws in my state?
  • Can I make deliveries for my home business?
  • Is my dog or cat covered if injured in an accident?

If you’re not sure about those questions but you think they might apply to your situation then you might want to talk to a licensed insurance agent. To find lower rates from a local agent, take a second and complete this form.

Insurance advertising tricks

Car insurance providers like 21st Century, Allstate and State Farm regularly use ads on TV and radio. All the ads advertise the message that drivers will save a bundle if you get a free insurance quote and switch your coverage to them. How do they all make almost identical claims?

Different companies give the cheapest rates for the type of driver that makes them money. One example of a profitable insured might have to be a mature driver, has had continuous coverage, and does not commute to work. Someone that meets those criteria will qualify for the lowest prices and have a good chance to save when switching.

People who fall outside these standards will be quoted higher premiums which leads to the prospect going elsewhere. If you pay attention, the ads say “drivers who switch” not “everyone who quotes” save that much. That is how insurance companies can confidently claim big savings. This illustrates why it’s extremely important to get price quotes at each policy renewal. Because you never know which company will have the lowest premium rates for your situation.

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

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Insurance coverages 101

Learning about specific coverages of your policy helps when choosing appropriate coverage for your vehicles. The coverage terms in a policy can be ambiguous and nobody wants to actually read their policy.

Comprehensive auto coverage – This coverage pays for damage from a wide range of events other than collision. A deductible will apply then the remaining damage will be covered by your comprehensive coverage.

Comprehensive coverage protects against claims such as rock chips in glass, a broken windshield and damage from flooding. The highest amount your insurance company will pay is the ACV or actual cash value, so if it’s not worth much more than your deductible it’s probably time to drop comprehensive insurance.

UM/UIM (Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist) coverage – This gives you protection when other motorists either have no liability insurance or not enough. It can pay for injuries to you and your family and also any damage incurred to your BMW M.

Since many drivers only purchase the least amount of liability that is required, it doesn’t take a major accident to exceed their coverage limits. This is the reason having UM/UIM coverage is a good idea.

Medical payments and PIP coverage – Medical payments and Personal Injury Protection insurance reimburse you for short-term medical expenses for things like pain medications, EMT expenses, doctor visits and hospital visits. The coverages can be used to fill the gap from your health insurance program or if you lack health insurance entirely. It covers both the driver and occupants and will also cover any family member struck as a pedestrian. PIP is only offered in select states and may carry a deductible

Liability – Liability insurance will cover damage that occurs to other people or property by causing an accident. It protects YOU from legal claims by others, and does not provide coverage for damage to your own property or vehicle.

Liability coverage has three limits: bodily injury per person, bodily injury per accident and property damage. You commonly see liability limits of 50/100/50 that means you have $50,000 bodily injury coverage, a limit of $100,000 in injury protection per accident, and $50,000 of coverage for damaged propery.

Liability can pay for things like bail bonds, legal defense fees, attorney fees, medical expenses and funeral expenses. How much coverage you buy is your choice, but it’s cheap coverage so purchase as high a limit as you can afford.

Collision coverage – This will pay to fix damage to your M caused by collision with another vehicle or an object, but not an animal. A deductible applies and the rest of the damage will be paid by collision coverage.

Collision can pay for claims like backing into a parked car, colliding with a tree and hitting a parking meter. Paying for collision coverage can be pricey, so consider dropping it from vehicles that are 8 years or older. Drivers also have the option to bump up the deductible to bring the cost down.

Pennies from heaven

In this article, we presented a lot of techniques to shop for 2006 BMW M insurance online. The key concept to understand is the more price quotes you have, the higher the chance of saving money. Drivers may discover the lowest car insurance rates are with a smaller regional carrier.

Consumers who switch companies do it for many reasons like high rates after DUI convictions, delays in responding to claim requests, high prices or even unfair underwriting practices. Regardless of your reason for switching companies, finding a new insurance company can be less work than you think.

Some insurance companies may not have rates over the internet and most of the time these regional carriers sell through independent agents. Cheaper insurance can be sourced both online and also from your neighborhood agents, and you need to price shop both to have the best rate selection.

Additional information can be found below: