Car insurance commercials are a dime a dozen; simply turn on the TV or radio to hear the latest promotion, discount, or other benefit being promoted by the biggest companies. The problem is these advertisements are typically a little more than a snapshot of what you can really expect from a particular feature. Some cost extra, some are widely available from other insurers, and some may be completely useless to a driver seeking quality coverage versus price. In this two-part post, we’ll explore some of the most frequently advertised insurance features and what they could mean for you.
When it comes to discounts, you want all the savings you are entitled to. After all, no one wants to overpay for car insurance. Any insurance agent can double-check for discounts, but State Farm decided to market this process, calling it the Discount Double-Check. Of course, State Farm agents will only double-check for discounts from State Farm — not other insurance companies that may offer discounts that result in even bigger savings. When you use an independent agent here at Homewood Insurance, we can scour the discounts of multiple insurers and compare them to find the maximum savings.
Few things make you feel more vulnerable than being stranded due to a vehicle emergency. From breakdowns to lockouts, Roadside Assistance coverage gives you someone to call when you’re stuck with no way to get going again. Benefits vary from company to company, but it generally covers 24-hour assistance for things like fuel delivery, flat tire changes, and even towing to the nearest repair facility. Liberty Mutual has a current advertising campaign promoting its Roadside Assistance, but the coverage is typically offered by all insurance companies in some form. Talk to an agent here at Homewood Insurance to add Roadside Assistance to your insurance policy.
GAP protection is a supplemental coverage designed to pay off your car loan if your insurance settlement falls short of the balance. This is especially useful soon after financing a vehicle, as cars tend to depreciate faster than owners pay them off. With GAP protection, you will not find yourself paying off the balance of a vehicle that you totaled in an accident.
You can add GAP coverage to your car insurance by contacting your independent agent when you purchase the vehicle. As you begin to pay down the loan, you can then drop the coverage once you no longer need it instead of continuing to pay for protection you no longer need. It’s worth noting that GAP coverage is not advertised as often as other types of insurance features are, but it is still offered by lenders and car dealers when you finance a vehicle. Be aware that this third-party coverage typically costs hundreds of dollars up front for coverage that lasts the entirety of the loan — not just during the early years when you need it.
New Car Replacement
New cars cost a lot of money to replace, and car insurance only covers the depreciated cash value of a vehicle — not the price you paid for it. If you total your vehicle soon after purchasing it, you might have to dig deep into your pockets to pay for a replacement unless you have New Car Replacement coverage on your car insurance policy.
Liberty Mutual promotes New Car Replacement in several of its famous commercials. With their New Car Replacement program, drivers get a brand new car when they total a vehicle that is less than one year old or has fewer than 15,000 miles.
While Liberty Mutual is perhaps the most recognizable name when it comes to New Car Replacement, several other insurance companies offer similar coverage, although benefits and restrictions vary from company to company. For example, some companies offer ‘better’ car replacement for used cars, and others extend new car replacement for more than a year (up to five years of ownership in the case of Travelers Insurance). The key is to work with an independent agent who can shop and compare replacement coverage that meets your unique needs.
Safe Driving Bonus Check
The Safe Driving Bonus Check is up next, and it is one of the more frequently advertised features by Allstate. This benefit is designed to reward drivers for being accident-free by sending them a check every six months. While the commercials feature drivers bragging about what they will buy with their next check, these bonuses are typically rather small, equating to about five percent of the premiums paid over the previous six months. To give you an idea, that is about $30 twice a year for a policy that costs $100 per month.
Of course, not all Allstate customers will qualify for a Safe Driving Bonus Check. The company implements certain restrictions on who is eligible, requiring a good driving history and good credit. Furthermore, drivers must enroll in the Your Choice Auto Program at an additional cost, which could offset part of the bonus.
Besides Allstate, alternative safe driver benefits exist from other companies, too. Though the incentive may not come in the form of a check every six months, you may instead receive an instant discount on your premiums or the option to enroll in a program that lowers your premiums or deductibles over time. Talk to an independent agent here at Homewood Insurance for more information and to explore your options.
Accident Forgiveness is the topic of another Allstate commercial, although the coverage is actually available from a wide range of insurers. Companies like Acuity, Progressive, The Hartford, and Nationwide all offer their own version of accident forgiveness, which assures your insurance rates will not go up because of a first-time accident. Integrity Insurance also offers a forgiveness policy, and it is free to eligible drivers after five years or more.
Accident Forgiveness can be beneficial for policy-holders who want to hedge against unexpected penalties and surcharges. It can also be advantageous for people with teen drivers on their policies, as the risk of an accident is higher among youth. If you are interested in adding Accident Forgiveness to your insurance policy, contact an agent here at Homewood Insurance for a quote.
Name Your Price Tool
Next, we come to the Name Your Price Tool, which is often promoted in Progressive Insurance commercials. This is a self-service tool that allows users to learn better how various changes in coverage can affect the cost of car insurance. Usually, Progressive starts off by providing a quote for recommended coverage, and then the user has the option of changing certain features or increasing or decreasing the coverage to achieve the targeted price.
Although the Name Your Price Tool is designed to save drivers money on car insurance, it also creates an opportunity to prioritize price over quality of coverage — something that could be very dangerous in the event of an accident or major loss. Without an agent to assist, it’s easy for drivers to build policies that contain major gaps in coverage.
Instead of jeopardizing your financial future, we recommend working with an independent insurance agent who can optimize your car insurance savings without sacrificing the quality of your coverage and benefits.
Bundle and Save
As we finish out this post, we come to another famous discount — the Bundle and Save discount from Progressive Insurance. Praised as a way to save money on insurance, the Bundle and Save discount is available to drivers who also purchase home, renters, condo, or townhome insurance from Progressive.
In addition to Progressive, many different insurance companies offer savings and discounts for loyal customers who purchase multiple lines of coverage. The savings for bundling can be significant, too, lowering premiums by as much as 15 percent or more. Depending on the insurer, discounts may be available for bundling home and auto, as well as other lines of coverage like RV and motorcycle insurance.
As your insurance agent, we want to give you the tools and information you need to make educated decisions about your policy. We want our customers to come to us for clarification about the different insurance features being advertised on TV. We’ll help you sort through the ads to determine which features are right for you.