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 11, 2017

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Have you fallen victim to an expensive auto insurance policy? Believe me, you’re not alone.

Because there are so many online and local companies to choose from, it can be challenging to choose the best auto insurance provider.

This article will instruct you on the most effective way to quote insurance and some tricks to saving. If you currently have car insurance, you stand a good chance to be able to cut costs considerably using this information. But consumers need to learn how the larger insurance companies sell insurance online because it can help you find the best coverage.

Informed drivers know how to find insurance coverage at a discount

Part of the insurance coverage buying process is learning the different types of things that aid in calculating the rates you pay for insurance coverage. If you know what impacts premium levels, this empowers consumers to make smart changes that may reward you with lower premium levels.

The following are some of the things used by companies to determine premiums.

  • Commute or pleasure use – Driving a lot of miles annually the higher the price you pay to insure it. Most insurance companies calculate prices based upon how you use the vehicle. Vehicles that do not get driven very much receive better premium rates than cars that get driven a lot. It’s a smart idea to ensure your insurance coverage declarations sheet correctly shows annual mileage. Having an incorrect usage rating on your 6 Series may be costing you.
  • Choose high NHTSA crash test ratings and save – Vehicles with high crash test scores get lower rates. Safer cars protect occupants better and any reduction in injury severity translates directly to fewer claims passed on to you as lower rates. If your BMW 6 Series is rated at a minimum an “acceptable” rating on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety website or four stars on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website it is probably cheaper to insure.
  • Your employer and insurance coverage rates – Occupational choices like fire fightersairline pilots and financial analysts tend to have higher average rates attributed to high stress levels and lots of time spent at work. Conversely, jobs like farmers, historians and homemakers pay the least on 6 Series insurance.
  • High credit rating translates to low premiums – Your credit score is a big factor in calculating your premium rate. Therefore, if your credit rating is lower than you’d like, you could pay less to insure your 2007 BMW 6 Series by repairing your credit. Consumers who have high credit ratings tend to be more responsible as compared to drivers with bad credit.

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Get lower-cost rates with these discounts

Companies that sell car insurance don’t list their entire list of discounts in an easy-to-find place, so we took the time to find a few of the more common in addition to some of the lesser obvious savings tricks you should be using when you buy insurance coverage online.

  • Telematics Data – Insureds that choose to allow their company to look at where and when they drive by using a small device installed in their vehicle such as Drivewise from Allstate or Snapshot from Progressive might get better premium rates if they exhibit good driving behavior.
  • Paper-free Discount – A handful of companies give back up to $50 for completing your application over the internet.
  • Save with More Vehicles Insured – Buying insurance for all your vehicles with the same car insurance company can reduce the rates for all insured vehicles.
  • Anti-lock Brake System – Cars with anti-lock braking systems prevent accidents and earn discounts up to 10%.
  • College Student – Kids who live away from home at college and don’t have a car may be able to be covered for less.
  • Seat Belts Save more than Lives – Requiring all passengers to wear their seat belts may be able to save a few bucks off the medical payments premium.
  • Lower Rates for Military – Being on active deployment in the military may lower your premium rates slightly.
  • Early Switch Discount – A few car insurance companies give discounts for buying a policy prior to your current policy expiring. The savings is around 10%.
  • Save with a New Car – Insuring a new car can save you some money because newer vehicles keep occupants safer.
  • Low Mileage Discounts – Keeping the miles down on your BMW could be rewarded with better car insurancerates on cars that stay parked.

A little note about advertised discounts, most discounts do not apply the the whole policy. Most cut the price of certain insurance coverages like comp or med pay. So despite the fact that it appears all those discounts means the company will pay you, company stockholders wouldn’t be very happy.

A list of car insurance companies and their possible discounts can be found below.

  • State Farm may offer discounts for Drive Safe & Save, passive restraint, defensive driving training, student away at school, and anti-theft.
  • Esurance offers discounts including good driver, online shopper, Pac-12 alumni, homeowner, good student, multi-policy, and multi-car.
  • Progressive may include discounts for online signing, multi-policy, homeowner, continuous coverage, online quote discount, good student, and multi-vehicle.
  • Liberty Mutual has discounts for good student, multi-car, newly married, new graduate, teen driver discount, and safety features.
  • Auto-Owners Insurance offers discounts for teen driver, student away at school, safe driver, anti-lock brakes, air bags, company car, and paid in full.
  • GEICO has savings for good student, federal employee, membership and employees, defensive driver, seat belt use, daytime running lights, and emergency military deployment.

Double check with all companies you are considering the best way to save money. All car insurance discounts might not apply in your state. If you would like to view car insurance companies offering car insurance discounts, click here.

Insurance coverage can be complex

When it comes to buying adequate coverage, there really is no single plan that fits everyone. Each situation is unique so this has to be addressed. Here are some questions about coverages that can help discover if your situation might need an agent’s assistance.

  • Are my friends covered when driving my 2007 BMW 6 Series?
  • Is upholstery damage covered by car insurance?
  • What is covered by UM/UIM coverage?
  • Who is covered by my policy?
  • Does my policy cover me when driving someone else’s vehicle?
  • Why is insurance for a teen driver so high?
  • Does my medical payments coverage pay my health insurance deductible?
  • Why am I required to buy liability insurance?
  • Does my personal policy cover me when driving out-of-state?

If it’s difficult to answer those questions but you know they apply to you, you might consider talking to an insurance agent. If you want to speak to an agent in your area, complete this form or go to this page to view a list of companies.

Car insurance coverages explained

Understanding the coverages of a car insurance policy helps when choosing the right coverages and proper limits and deductibles. The terms used in a policy can be impossible to understand and reading a policy is terribly boring. Below you’ll find the usual coverages found on the average car insurance policy.

Coverage for uninsured or underinsured drivers

This protects you and your vehicle’s occupants when other motorists either are underinsured or have no liability coverage at all. Covered claims include medical payments for you and your occupants as well as damage to your BMW 6 Series.

Since a lot of drivers only carry the minimum required liability limits, their liability coverage can quickly be exhausted. For this reason, having high UM/UIM coverages is important protection for you and your family. Frequently your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverages are identical to your policy’s liability coverage.

Coverage for medical expenses

Coverage for medical payments and/or PIP kick in for short-term medical expenses like prosthetic devices, nursing services, EMT expenses and pain medications. They are often used to cover expenses not covered by your health insurance policy or if you lack health insurance entirely. It covers not only the driver but also the vehicle occupants and also covers any family member struck as a pedestrian. Personal injury protection coverage is only offered in select states but can be used in place of medical payments coverage

Collision protection

Collision coverage pays for damage to your 6 Series resulting from colliding with another car or object. A deductible applies then the remaining damage will be paid by your insurance company.

Collision coverage pays for things such as crashing into a building, hitting a parking meter, sustaining damage from a pot hole, crashing into a ditch and driving through your garage door. Collision is rather expensive coverage, so analyze the benefit of dropping coverage from lower value vehicles. It’s also possible to choose a higher deductible to save money on collision insurance.

Comprehensive car insurance

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

Comprehensive can pay for things such as falling objects, rock chips in glass, theft, a broken windshield and hitting a deer. The maximum amount you’ll receive from a claim is the ACV or actual cash value, so if it’s not worth much more than your deductible consider dropping full coverage.

Liability insurance

Liability insurance provides protection from damage that occurs to a person or their property that is your fault. This coverage 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. Your policy might show policy limits of 50/100/50 which means a $50,000 limit per person for injuries, a limit of $100,000 in injury protection per accident, and a limit of $50,000 paid for damaged property. Alternatively, you may have a combined single limit or CSL which combines the three limits into one amount with no separate limits for injury or property damage.

Liability coverage pays for things like court costs, repair bills for other people’s vehicles and medical expenses. How much liability coverage do you need? That is up to you, but buy as much as you can afford.

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Have the Midas touch

As you restructure your insurance plan, it’s not a good idea to skimp on coverage in order to save money. There are too many instances where drivers have reduced collision coverage only to find out that it was a big mistake. Your strategy should be to buy a smart amount of coverage at the best cost and still be able to protect your assets.

Lower-priced auto insurance can be found on the web and from local insurance agents, so you need to shop insurance coverage with both to have the best chance of lowering rates. Some companies don’t offer rate quotes online and usually these regional insurance providers only sell coverage through independent agents.

More tips and info about auto insurance is available in the articles below: