How many car insurance commercials do you hear each day? Have you ever noticed that every insurer seems to offer a different ‘special’ benefit to drivers who enroll in coverage? In today’s post, we will discuss several frequently advertised insurance features and whether they really are as exclusive or beneficial as insurance companies seem to claim.
Accident Forgiveness is one of Allstate’s advertised features. By giving this benefit a name, it becomes more recognizable and easier to market. However, Accident Forgiveness is not an automatic feature included in all car insurance policies from this carrier. Instead, drivers must opt to enroll in this extra protection, which assures that premiums will not go up after a first-time at-fault accident.
Fortunately, Allstate is not the only company that thinks Accident Forgiveness is a good idea. In fact, several different insurance companies do not think a first-time accident is necessarily a good predictor of future claims. Of course, most of them charge drivers for enrolling in this optional protection, although Integrity Insurance offers it free of charge to customers who have been with the company for at least five years.
Safe Driver Bonus Check
Another well-known Allstate benefit, the Safe Driver Bonus Check reimburses drivers for up to five percent of paid premiums when they remain accident-free for each policy period. To qualify, drivers must have good credit, a clean driving record, and enroll in Allstate’s Your Choice Auto Program.
While many drivers enjoy getting a check every six months, there is no need to wait for the savings with other insurers. Most companies are willing to extend discounts to safe drivers so long as they remain accident-free. This allows for upfront savings – not reimbursements that are contingent on meeting a safe-driving standard for the entire policy period.
Name Your Price Tool
Progressive popularizes the Name-Your-Price Tool and aims it at drivers who want to save money on car insurance. Simply enter the amount you want to pay for coverage, and Progressive will build a policy with suggested coverages that you can modify or eliminate altogether. At first glance, it seems like a good idea – especially to cost-conscious drivers who prioritize getting a good value from their coverage. However, this advertised insurance feature can leave major gaps in coverage for unsuspecting drivers who may not be fully aware of their exposure to risk.
Instead of removing or reducing coverage, always talk with an independent insurance agent here at Neeley Insurance when you are looking for ways to save money on car insurance. We shop and compare rates from multiple insurers until we find a policy that meets your needs and budget.
Insurance companies do not as frequently advertise GAP coverage as other types of insurance benefits, but it is still worth noting in our list. That is because car dealers and lenders often pitch this coverage when you purchase and finance a new car. Typically, you pay as much as $400 or more to implement this coverage, which promises to pay the difference between the balance of your car loan and the depreciated value of your vehicle that your insurance company reimburses you for.
GAP coverage is especially beneficial to buyers who finance brand new vehicles or who put little or no money down on their purchase. In these scenarios, the depreciation rate of the vehicle often outpaces the pay-down rate of the loan, leaving borrowers ‘upside down’ in their purchase. However, balances usually catch up to loan value after a few years, eliminating the need for GAP coverage. That is why we typically recommend purchasing GAP protection from an insurer instead of a lender or dealer. With an insurer, you can cancel unwanted GAP protection when you no longer need it instead of paying upfront for years of coverage you may not need from the lender or dealer.
Bundle and Save
There are many different Progressive commercials on TV, some of which are famous for advertising the company’s Bundle-and-Save benefit. In these commercials, Progressive promises extra discounts to drivers who opt to purchase additional lines of coverage from them, such as homeowners or renters insurance. However, they are not the only ones offering savings in exchange for loyalty.
Almost all insurers offer some version of a bundling discount, although there are discrepancies between companies concerning which coverage lines qualify for extra savings. For example, most insurers offer discounts to policy-holders who purchase auto and home or auto and renters insurance, but only some provide discounts for other lines of coverage, such as motorcycle and RV. The key is to determine which coverage lines you intend to purchase and work with an independent agent here at Neeley Insurance to determine which insurer is most beneficial to your needs.
New Car Replacement Coverage
Chances are you have seen the Liberty Mutual commercial talking about the importance of coverage that replaces a totaled vehicle with a brand new one. Other companies also advertise this feature, although by different names. To qualify as ‘totaled,’ the cost to repair the vehicle must exceed the actual cash value of the car.
Normally, insurers reimburse drivers for the depreciated value of their vehicles at the time of the accident – not the cost to pay to replace the car with a new one. With New Car Replacement coverage, Liberty Mutual pays to replace a totaled vehicle with a brand new one so long as the car is less than one year old and has fewer than 15,000 miles on it. Older vehicles or those with a greater number of miles may qualify for Better Car Replacement, which replaces the totaled vehicle with a model-year newer and at least 15,000 fewer miles.
Other insurance companies differ in their guidelines for new car replacement coverage, with some extending it only for new cars and others offering it for the driver of used ones as well. For example, Travelers Insurance provides brand new car replacement not just for the first year of owners, but for the first five years. Talk to an agent here at Neeley Insurance for more information about how you can get the most out of new car replacement coverage on your policy.
Discount Double Check
Next up is the Discount Double Check, a State Farm benefit that promises to get you all the discounts you deserve. There are many different car insurance discounts, and most drivers qualify for at least one, if not several of them. Of course, these discounts do you no good if they are not applied to your policy, which is why State Farm attempts to attract customers by promising a thorough coverage review.
In reality, any insurance agent can search and double-check for discounts just like a State Farm agent can. However, State Farm agents can only search for discounts from the insurance company they work for, whereas an independent agent here at Neeley Insurance can search and compare discounts from multiple carriers.
Finally, Roadside Assistance is another commonly advertised insurance feature used to lure in new customers. For example, Liberty Mutual has recently been advertising Roadside Assistance benefits for drivers, although all companies offer some variation of this protection. Roadside assistance typically includes 24-hour coverage or assistance for things like lockouts, dead batteries, flat tires, and towing – all of which could prove financially or personally beneficial if you have a long commute, drive an older model vehicle, or simply prefer the convenience of knowing you are protected around the clock.
After reading this post, it’s probably obvious that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to advertised insurance features. Be sure to talk with an independent agent here at Neeley Insurance to cut through all the noise and get to the bottom of your individual coverage needs.