If you listen to the radio, flip through TV stations, or surf the web, there is no escaping the incessant commercials for car insurance. In fact, car insurance ads are much more common than they ever were before, with insurers constantly coming up with names for ‘new’ special features to promote to drivers. So how do you know which ones are right for you? In this post, our team will take you behind the scenes of some of the most frequently advertised insurance features and what they mean for you.
New Car Replacement
It feels really good to drive off the lot in a new car, but it feels really bad when you total that brand new car in an accident. Typical car insurance only covers the depreciated value of the vehicle, falling short of the money needed to buy another new car. However, some insurers advertise New Car Replacement coverage, which pays for a brand new car instead.
Here’s how it works: You opt-in to extra coverage on your policy, which typically comes at an additional charge. The insurer agrees to replace your totaled vehicle with a new one of the same make and model if you damage it within a certain period of time – usually, between one and three years or before it reaches a specified number of miles on the odometer.
Companies like Allstate and Liberty Mutual are primary advertisers of New Car Replacement coverage, although several other companies offer similar protections. Traveler’s Insurance, for example, offers new car replacement for up to five years. Other companies offer vehicle upgrades for used cars as well, usually replacing totaled vehicles with one that is a year newer and with fewer miles. By working with an independent insurance agent here at Mayville Insurance, you can determine which company’s new car replacement feature is right for you.
Safe Driving Bonus Check
Allstate’s Safe Driving Bonus Check is an optional policy enhancement designed to reward policy-holders for driving safely. The check is a small gesture to reward safe driving for the duration of each policy period – usually six months. To qualify, drivers must enroll in an eligible tier of the Your Choice Auto Program, which may require an additional fee, a clean driving record, and good credit. After six months of continued safe driving and no accidents, Allstate writes a check worth up to five percent of the paid premium. For a $500 policy, that equates to about $25.
Other companies have similar discounts, such as safe driver discounts that instantly reduce your premium or lower your deductible and policy costs over time. An agent here at Mayville Insurance will be happy to help you explore various safe driving discounts and which ones may be right for you.
Every day, drivers find themselves in inconvenient or perhaps even dangerous situations. If you experience a breakdown, a flat tire, or lock yourself out of your car, the Liberty Mutual commercials promise their Roadside Assistance coverage will be there, 24-hours a day. Of course, most other companies offer some type of Roadside Assistance, too, although the details and coverage may vary from insurer to insurer. Here at Mayville Insurance, we know that policy-holders who have young drivers, a long commute, or who drive at night may be particularly interested in this coverage. Regardless of who your insurer is, we can help you get Roadside Assistance coverage that meets your needs.
Bundle and Save
Bundling discounts are everywhere – including insurance companies. You may have seen Progressive commercials advertising extra savings when you bundle your auto insurance with home or renters insurance. While it’s true the company provides discounts for buying two lines of coverage from them, nearly every other insurance company does too. In fact, the savings are not always limited to home and renters insurance. Some companies also offer discounts to drivers who purchase other forms of coverage, such as RV and motorcycle insurance. Be sure to tell your independent agent which types of insurance you need to help ensure a good value for your coverage.
How many times will you crash your car? While there is no way to know the answer to that question, statistics suggest that the average driver will file about four accident claims during a lifetime. That means that even if you are a safe driver, it could still happen to you. A typical accident claim can cause insurance premiums to skyrocket and remain high for many months or years. Perhaps that is why Allstate started advertising its Accident Forgiveness program. It promises that drivers who enroll in this program will not see their insurance rates go up just because of a first-time accident.
If that sounds like a benefit you might want to take advantage of, you may be happy to know you have options. In fact, several insurance companies offer similar benefits, including Acuity, Nationwide, Travelers, The Hartford, Liberty Mutual, and Progressive. It typically comes an additional cost, although Integrity Insurance is known to offer accident forgiveness for free to customers of five years or more.
Totaling your car before you pay off the car loan could leave a big financial gap between your insurance reimbursement and the balance you owe. Instead of getting stuck with a few thousand dollars to pay for a totaled vehicle, GAP insurance promises to pay off the balance of your loan and give you a clean financial slate.
You can purchase GAP coverage from several sources. Most often, a car dealer or lender will offer the protection the moment you finance a car. They typically charge the entire insurance premium upfront or tack it onto the balance of your loan. The problem is you are unlikely to need GAP coverage for the length of your loan, as balances tend to fall below vehicle valuation after a few years.
Instead, we recommend talking with an independent agent here at Mayville Insurance to add GAP coverage to your insurance policy for the first few years you own the car. This way, you pay for only the coverage you want and need.
Name Your Price Tool
Progressive’s Name Your Price Tool became famous when the company started advertising it on commercials several years ago. While it may seem beneficial for cost-conscious drivers, it can actually do much more harm than good. For example, imagine a driver using Progressive’s tool in hopes of paying only a certain price for coverage every month. Perhaps the driver’s risk profile does not qualify him for preferred prices, which means he must cut coverage in order to achieve the targeted rate. While he successfully lowers his monthly costs, he ends up under-insured and eventually on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars due to an at-fault accident.
Don’t play around when it comes to insurance. The fact is insurance is designed to protect you against financial loss. Always work with your independent agent to ensure you are getting a good value for your coverage.
Finally, we come to State Farm’s Discount Double-Check. This is not so much a specific type of coverage as it is a benefit State Farm created for marketing purposes. The commercials promise that State Farm will scour through your insurance policies to ensure you are getting all the discounts you deserve. The truth is any insurance agent could do the same thing, but only an independent agent can compare your discounts against those offered by other companies to determine which one offers you the best deal.
Here at Mayville Insurance, we help you find the truth amid the hype. We know the ins and outs of insurance benefits and discounts, and we can help you compare your options across our entire platform of insurers. Call us today to find out how working with an independent agent can work to your benefit. We look forward to serving you soon.