Insurance companies are constantly advertising their newest or most unique features in an attempt to win your business. With so many commercials, however, sometimes it all ends up sounding like white noise. So how do you sort through the mayhem and determine which features are best? In this post, we will explore some of the most commonly advertised insurance features and where you can get them so that you can make a more informed decision the next time you shop for coverage.
New Car Replacement
There’s nothing quite like the look, feel, and the smell of a brand new car. When you drive your car off the lot, you are not thinking about the instant depreciation of your new vehicle. You also are not thinking about the possibility of totaling that car and only receiving a fraction of what you paid for it in your insurance settlement – not enough to purchase a replacement vehicle.
The New Car Replacement and Better Car Replacement features are often advertised by companies like Liberty Mutual, promising to replace your totaled car with a new one of the same make and model or with one that has at least 15,000 fewer miles. Of course, this coverage comes at an added cost, but your independent agent can shop and compare the rates from multiple insurers. Some companies offer replacement coverage for new cars only, whereas others extend it to used vehicles, too. Some even offer special benefits, such as Travelers Insurance, which may extend new car replacement for up to five years of ownership.
Your insurance agent should always put your best interests first. That means ensuring you have enough coverage to minimize your risk exposure and also double checking for discounts that lower your rates. That is why when State Farm advertises their Discount Double-Check, they are really advertising their name for a service that any agent can perform. Here at Smith Insurance, we comb through your policies to find every discount you deserve.
Name Your Price Tool
The Name Your Price Tool is unique to Progressive and is more of a shopping feature than a discount or benefit. Using this ‘tool,’ drivers can add, reduce, and delete coverage to find out how it affects a policy’s premium. Though it may allow a user to achieve a specific price, it can also make it easier to decline important protections in favor of upfront savings. This is especially dangerous for drivers who may not fully understand their individual risk vulnerabilities. An underinsured driver could face tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in financial damages all in the name of saving a few dollars on premiums.
When you use an independent agent to shop for coverage, you can trust that your financial interests come first. We take the guesswork out of comparison shopping by working to find a competitive rate without sacrificing the quality of your coverage.
Nearly all insurance companies offer optional Roadside Assistance, although Liberty Mutual has been promoting it in commercials as of late. This protection is designed to assist you with breakdowns, flat tires, lockouts, dead batteries, and more, 24-hours a day. Talk to an agent here at Smith Insurance if you would like to add Roadside Assistance to your policy.
Safe Driving Bonus Check
The Safe Driving Bonus Check sounds like a dream. After all, who wouldn’t want the insurance company to pay them for driving safely? Under this program, Allstate provides a bonus every six months for eligible drivers who remain accident-free for their policy term. The bonus is worth up to five percent of the premium paid, which equates to about $30 for a $600 policy. It can either be applied to the next policy’s premium or reimbursed to the driver in the form of a check.
It is worth noting that in order to qualify for a Safe Driving Bonus Check from Allstate, you must have a clean driving record and a high enough credit score to enroll in the Your Choice Auto Program, which costs extra to be a part of. Alternatively, you could work closely with an independent agent here at Smith Insurance to compare other safe-driving discounts and benefits available from other insurers.
GAP insurance is coverage that insures you against the gap between what you still owe on your car and the cash-value settlement the insurance company pays if you total your car. This protection is optional and can be added to your full-coverage policy to pay off the balance of your loan after an accident.
Though GAP is not as frequently advertised as other insurance features, it can still save you thousands. Just beware of GAP coverage sold by alternative sources, such as a car dealer or lender. Though effective, the premiums are typically paid in advance for the duration of the loan. However, most buyers only need GAP coverage until the loan balance falls even with the car’s value. If you add GAP protection to your car insurance policy instead, you can drop the coverage when you no longer need it, potentially saving you money.
Bundle and Save
Progressive Insurance commercials promote the Bundle-and-Save discount, but our team here at Smith Insurance and Financial Services can help you find similar discounts from a wide range of insurers. Most companies want to insure both your home and auto and they are willing to discount your premiums in exchange for more of your business. Some may even include discounts for bundling auto with other types of coverage, such as homeowner’s, renter’s, RV, boat, or motorcycle insurance.
Lastly, we come to Accident Forgiveness, a feature advertised by Allstate and other insurance companies. Under this program, Allstate promises not to raise your insurance rates just because of an accident. Since premiums can go up hundreds of dollars after a single collision, Accident Forgiveness can bring welcome relief for safe drivers who rarely experience collisions.
What many drivers may not know is that it costs extra to enroll in Accident Forgiveness. Considering the extra expense, it is worth noting that several other insurance companies like Liberty Mutual, The Hartford, Progressive, Nationwide, Acuity, and Integrity also offer a version of accident forgiveness. Though most charge extra for the benefit (Integrity offers it free to certain long-term customers), you could find tremendous savings by comparing coverage and rate options from multiple insurers using an independent agent.
Remember, your agent is your closest advocate in the search for quality coverage at affordable prices. Regardless of what the insurance commercials come up with next, always contact your agent if you have questions about advertised insurance features.