When it comes to car insurance commercials and determining which benefits are right for you, it’s hard to go with the ‘Flo,’ when there is so much ‘Mayhem’ surrounding you. After all, celebrity endorsements and funny one-liners mean nothing when it comes to protecting yourself and the ones you love against loss. In this post, we will explore some of the most frequently advertised insurance features so that you can work together with your independent agent to make educated decisions about your policy and provider. We’ll start off by discussing discounts and features and end part two with special coverages you may have seen advertised on TV.
Safe Driving Bonus Check
The first advertised insurance feature is the Safe Driving Bonus Check from Allstate. This is Allstate’s way of rewarding safe drivers who enroll in the Your Choice Auto Program for being accident-free, although there are strict requirements and extra costs associated with this benefit. Generally, a driver may need good credit and a clean driving record to qualify.
A typical Safe Driving Bonus Check is worth about five percent of the premium paid for the previous policy. If your premium were $500, for example, the check would be worth about $25 or less. It is important to weigh this bonus against the costs to determine whether it is right for you. Alternatively, there are also safe driving benefits from other insurers, such as premium discounts and deductibles that get smaller over time. Talk to an agent here at Imes Insurance for more information and to compare safe driving benefits and incentives.
Next, we come to the Discount Double-Check from State Farm. This is not a discount, but instead a promise to look for every discount you may qualify for in a State Farm policy. Ultimately, this is more of a goodwill gesture that any independent insurance agent could offer – not just State Farm. The difference is that a State Farm agent can only double-check for discounts from State Farm, whereas an independent agent can double-check for discounts from multiple companies, comparing them to optimize your value.
Name Your Price Tool
The Name Your Price Tool is a feature advertised in Progressive Insurance commercials. It is marketed as a benefit for drivers hoping to save money on car insurance. However, this ‘tool’ can be dangerous when used by someone who is unaware of his or her actual risk vulnerabilities and coverage needs. Without the help of an agent, the Name Your Price Tool makes it easy to reduce or eliminate coverage to lower prices.
Don’t jeopardize your future by potentially leaving yourself exposed to a major financial loss. Skip the Name Your Price Tool and let an independent agent do the comparison shopping for you. We’ll match you with the policy you need at a competitive rate – all without sacrificing the quality of your coverage.
Bundle and Save
We’ll leave off part one of this post with the Bundle and Save discount, which is also promoted by Progressive Insurance. This discount is highly beneficial to drivers who bundle their auto coverage with home, renters, condo, or townhome insurance. According to Progressive, you can save five percent or more on premiums when you bundle.
All in all, it is the same benefit offered by multiple insurance companies, although they may refer to it as a ‘multi-policy’ or ‘loyalty’ discount. The value of the discount can vary from insurer to insurer, as can the types of insurance that qualify. For example, some insurers limit discounts to auto and home or auto and renters insurance, but others may extend the benefit to include RV, boat, or motorcycle insurance, too.
New Car Replacement
As we switch gears and begin covering special advertised coverage types, we will begin with the New Car Replacement from Liberty Mutual. Perhaps you remember the woman in the Liberty Mutual commercial asking, “What are you supposed to do? Drive three-quarters of a car?” She goes onto say that Liberty Mutual must not want you driving around on three wheels. That is because standard collision insurance only covers the depreciated value of a vehicle. New Car Replacement coverage is designed to replace a totaled vehicle with another one just like it.
While New Car Replacement can be valuable for someone who recently purchased a vehicle, the benefit is not exclusive to Liberty Mutual. Several insurance companies offer similar coverage, although benefits and requirements may vary. For example, you may qualify for ‘better’ car replacement if you drive a used car, or you may prefer the extended Premier New Car Replacement offered by Travelers Insurance for up to five years of ownership. The bottom line is you should talk to your independent agent about your options if you are considering adding replacement coverage benefits to your policy.
Similar to New Car Replacement, the next coverage on our list is GAP protection. Though it will not buy you a new car, it will pay the difference between the balance left on your car loan and the depreciated cash value settlement for your totaled vehicle. Depending on how much you owe and the value of your vehicle when you total it, this coverage could protect you against thousands of dollars in losses.
GAP protection can be added to a car insurance policy through an independent agent here at Imes Insurance, and it can just as easily be dropped when you pay down the balance of your loan and no longer need the coverage. Keep in mind that if you accept the GAP protection offered by your lender or car dealership instead, you may pay hundreds of dollars for coverage that lasts longer than you actually need it.
Another coverage that frequents the Liberty Mutual commercials is Roadside Assistance. This coverage is exactly what it sounds like – coverage for emergency help when you experience a breakdown, lock-out, flat tire, or some other covered event. We often recommend this protection for policy-holders who wish to protect themselves or other drivers on their policies against vulnerable situations.
If you wish to add Roadside Assistance to your policy, you probably do not need to switch insurers. Nearly all insurance companies offer some type of roadside protection, although the exact benefits may vary from insurer to insurer.
Finally, we come to Accident Forgiveness, a feature advertised by Allstate Insurance. You may have seen commercials with teen drivers who tell their parents not to worry about the accident they caused since the family has Accident Forgiveness. This coverage prevents premium surcharges and penalties because of a first-time accident.
Though it costs extra from most insurers, a forgiveness policy can make sense for certain policy-holders. Given that premiums can rise by as much as 40 percent after an accident and remain high for three to five years, a forgiveness feature could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars, depending on the company and the risk profiles of the drivers on your policy. Several insurers offer forgiveness for first-time accidents, some of which include Progressive, Nationwide, The Hartford, and Acuity. Integrity Insurance even offers it for free to certain drivers after five years or more.
The bottom line is there is usually more to the insurance features you see on TV than initially meets the eye. Give us a call here at Imes Insurance for more information about incentives, benefits, and discounts, or to add a specific type of coverage to your policy.