Today’s drivers are inundated with insurance commercials at every turn. From billboards and radio to television and Internet ads, it’s hard to escape the constant stream of marketing. In fact, insurance companies spend billions of dollars every year on advertising – all with the hope of converting you into a lifelong customer. However, many of the commercials and ad campaigns only hit the highlights of certain coverages and features, conveniently leaving out or glossing over important information like costs, risks, or the ability to get the exact same benefits from another insurer. In this two-part post, we will explore some of the most frequently advertised insurance features and what they could mean for you.
We’ll start things off with a very important type of coverage you may have seen advertised on Liberty Mutual commercials. It’s called Roadside Assistance, and it is designed to provide help when you or another driver on your policy experiences a breakdown, flat tire, or some other vehicle emergency. It could prove especially beneficial if you or another driver on your policy feel particularly vulnerable in such a situation. With Roadside Assistance coverage, you know help is on the way any time of the day or night.
To get Roadside Assistance added to your policy, simply contact an independent agent here at Integrity Insurance. Nearly all insurance companies offer optional roadside coverage, although the exact coverage details may vary from insurer to insurer.
Safe Driving Bonus Check
If you are a safe driver, chances are insurance companies consider you a more profitable customer. Safe drivers tend to have fewer accidents, which translates to fewer claims. To reward drivers for being accident-free, Allstate created and frequently advertises the Safe Driver Bonus Check, which pays drivers for every six months they remain accident-free. Generally, the checks are rather small – worth about five percent of the premium paid over the previous six months. For a driver with a $600, it might be enough to buy dinner for two or perhaps a couple of movie tickets and some popcorn.
While the Safe Driver Bonus Check may sound like a nice perk, it is important to note the criteria and requirements associated with it. For example, only drivers enrolled in the Your Choice Auto Program can qualify to receive a check. Not only does it cost extra to be a part of the program (which could offset some of the Safe Driver Bonus), but drivers typically need a good credit score and a good driving record, too.
Conversely, there are also several other insurance companies that offer benefits and incentives to safe drivers, and some of them do not generate an additional charge. With some companies, it could be an instant discount applied to the policy premium. With others, it could be a program that gradually lowers your premium or deductible over time. The key is to talk with your independent agent to ensure you are getting the most from your safe driver benefits.
Speaking of safe drivers, even they have accidents from time to time. For that, Allstate has an Accident Forgiveness program, which likewise takes up a lot of airtime in Allstate commercials. Under this feature, a driver will not be surcharged or penalized just because of a first-time accident. Considering some insurers have been known to raise rates by as much as 40 percent and keep them elevated for several years following an accident claim, having this coverage could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in premium surcharges.
Forgiveness coverage is also available from other insurance companies like Acuity, The Hartford, Progressive, and Nationwide. Most companies charge extra to add forgiveness to a policy, and there are usually special requirements, such as a clean driving record, to enroll. With an independent agent, drivers can shop and compare forgiveness coverage from multiple companies to determine which provides the better value for the benefits. Talk to an agent here at Integrity Insurance for more information about adding accident forgiveness to your policy.
Bundle and Save
The Bundle and Save discount from Progressive is the next advertised insurance feature on our list. It is not a special type of coverage, but instead the name of a discount that Progressive offers its customers when they purchase both home and auto insurance. The discount is also available to drivers who purchase renters, condo, or townhome coverage in addition to an auto insurance policy.
Progressive may advertise bundling discounts, but they are not new to the insurance market. In fact, most insurance companies offer some loyalty discount for drivers who bundle home and auto insurance. Some even extend discounts to drivers who also insure recreational vehicles, such as motorcycles, RVs, and boats.
Most insurance companies offer a lengthy list of discounts to customers who meet certain criteria, whether it is for enrolling in a safe driving course or for a student who has good grades in school. As a policy-holder, you want to get all of the savings you deserve, which is why State Farm began advertising the Discount Double-Check. This is not a special coverage or discount, but rather a promise to double-check that customers have received every discount they qualify for.
Though State Farm stakes claim to the name, the truth is any insurance agent could perform the exact same service, albeit from their own companies instead of State Farm. To really get the most from insurance discounts, we recommend using an independent agent instead. That way, you can search for discounts from multiple insurers and then compare them against each other to maximize your value.
New Car Replacement
The next item on our list of advertised insurance features is New Car Replacement coverage, which is offered by many different insurance companies but advertised by Liberty Mutual. This coverage is designed to replace your totaled car with another one just like it or up to one year newer. Compared to standard collision coverage, which only covers the depreciated cash value of your vehicle, this could be an upgrade that saves you thousands of dollars should you ever need to use it.
With most insurance companies, it costs extra to enroll in New Car Replacement coverage. Furthermore, the requirements and coverage may vary from insurer to insurer, with some providing new car replacement only and others offering ‘better’ car replacement for used cars as well. Comparatively, some insurance companies may limit new car replacement to between one and three years, whereas Travelers Insurance extends that protection for up to five years of ownership with its Premier New Car Replacement program.
If you are considering adding new car replacement to your insurance policy, contact an agent here at Integrity Insurance today.
Next up is GAP protection, a coverage that is not advertised as often as some other types of protection, but still very important to certain drivers. When you total your car, GAP coverage pays off your car loan when your insurance settlement is not enough to cover the entire balance. This is generally recommended for drivers who finance new vehicles with a low down-payment and/or lengthy repayment terms since depreciation will initially outpace the payoff rate under these circumstances.
It is important to note that GAP protection is only useful when the balance of the car loan exceeds the value of the vehicle itself. Once your loan balance falls below the value of the car, you no longer need GAP protection. If GAP protection is part of your car insurance policy, you can save money by dropping the coverage at that time. If you purchased your GAP coverage from a lender or car dealership instead, you may have paid hundreds of dollars in upfront premiums for coverage that extends the life of the loan – long after you actually need it.
Rather than pay extra for coverage you do not need, contact an independent agent here at Integrity Insurance to add GAP protection to your car insurance next time you finance a vehicle.
Name Your Price Tool
Finally, we wrap things up with the Name Your Price Tool from Progressive. This is not a special coverage or discount, but rather a website feature used to market insurance to drivers who are looking for a bargain. The commercials make it sound like you get to decide how much to pay for your car insurance for Progressive, but there is actually more than meets the eye. By using the tool, drivers receive a quote for coverage and can only lower the price by reducing or eliminating certain coverage types or policy features.
Here at Integrity Insurance, we prioritize coverage over price. After all, the entire purpose of insurance is to protect you against financial loss. Our team will work to assess your risks and match you with the right coverage to minimize your exposure. Then, we will compare rates and discounts on that coverage from multiple companies until we find one that will give you a competitive price.
At the end of the day, it is your independent agent who is working on your behalf to secure the benefits and discounts you deserve. Give us a call the next time you have questions about a specific feature or benefit you see advertised by an insurance company. Chances are there is more than meets the eye.