Have you fallen victim to high-priced car insurance? Believe me, there are a lot of people in Missoula just like you who feel imprisoned by their car insurance policy. With so many companies to choose from, it is very difficult to locate the lowest cost provider.
These ten discounts can lower your rates
Car insurance can cost a lot, but you can get discounts that can drop the cost substantially. Most are applied when you get a quote, but a few must be asked about before being credited. If you aren’t receiving every discount you qualify for, you’re just leaving money on the table.
- Student Driver Training – Make teen driver coverage more affordable by requiring them to successfully complete driver’s ed class in school.
- Braking Control Discount – Anti-lock brake equipped vehicles can avoid accidents and therefore earn up to a 10% discount.
- College Student – Kids in college who attend school more than 100 miles from home and don’t have a car can be insured at a reduced rate.
- Senior Citizens – Mature drivers may qualify for reduced rates.
- Homeowners Pay Less – Owning a home in Missoula may trigger a car insurance policy discount due to the fact that maintaining a home shows financial diligence.
- Save with a New Car – Adding a new car to your policy can cost up to 25% less because new vehicles have to meet stringent safety requirements.
- Claim Free – Claim-free drivers pay much less compared to frequent claim filers.
- Driver Safety – Completing a defensive driving course could save 5% or more if you qualify.
- Drive Less and Save – Fewer annual miles can earn lower rates on the low mileage vehicles.
- Good Students Pay Less – This discount can be rewarded with saving of up to 25%. This discount can apply up until you turn 25.
A little note about advertised discounts, many deductions do not apply to your bottom line cost. Most only cut individual premiums such as physical damage coverage or medical payments. So despite the fact that it appears all those discounts means the company will pay you, it doesn’t quite work that way. Any amount of discount will cut the amount you have to pay.
How to Compare Car Insurance Quotes in Missoula, Montana
Most major insurance companies like State Farm, Allstate and Geico provide prices on their websites. This process is pretty easy as you simply enter your coverage preferences into the quote form. Upon sending the form, their system obtains your driving and credit reports and generates a price based on these factors. Online quotes simplifies rate comparisons, but having to visit many different websites and fill out multiple forms gets old quite quickly. Unfortunately, it is important to get many rate quotes if you are searching for the lowest possible prices on car insurance.
A more efficient way to find better car insurance pricing requires only one form that gets price quotes from a bunch of companies at once. This type of form saves time, requires much less work on your part, and makes comparison shopping much easier to do. After your information is entered, it is quoted and you can select your choice of the quotes that you receive.
If you find a better price you can simply submit the application and purchase the new policy. This process can be completed in less than 10 minutes and may save quite a bit of money.
To find out how much you can save on car insurance, click here to open in new window and fill out the form. If you have coverage now, it’s recommended you replicate deductibles and limits just like they are on your policy. This ensures you’re receiving an apples-to-apples comparison using the exact same coverages.
Neighborhood agents for car insurance
Some people prefer to sit down with an agent and that is a personal choice. Insurance agents can help determine the best coverages and give you peace of mind. The best thing about getting online price quotes is you may find the lowest rates and still have an agent to talk to. Supporting local businesses is important particularly in Missoula.
After filling out this simple form, the coverage information is submitted to companies in Missoula who will give you bids for your insurance coverage. You won’t need to drive around as quotes are delivered to the email address you provide. It doesn’t get any easier!
Independent or Captive: It’s your choice
When searching for a reliable agent, you need to know there are two types of insurance agents from which to choose. Missoula agents are classified as either captive or independent (non-captive). Both types can properly insure your vehicles, but it’s good to learn how they differ since it can impact the type of agent you choose
Independent Agents (or Brokers)
Independent insurance agents do not work for one specific company so they can insure your vehicles with lots of companies and potentially find a lower price. To transfer your coverage to a different company, the agent simply finds a different carrier and you won’t have to switch agencies.
When shopping rates, it’s a good idea to include price quotes from several independent insurance agents for the best price selection.
Listed below are independent insurance agents in Missoula who may be able to give you competitive price quotes.
Jim Powell Insurance – 1510 Ernest Ave – Missoula, MT 59801 – (406) 721-2224
Liberty Northwest Insurance – 700 SW Higgins Ave # 250 – Missoula, MT 59803 – (406) 543-4933
Captive Insurance Agents
Captive insurance agents can only write with one company such as Farmers Insurance or State Farm. They generally cannot compare other company’s rates so they have to upsell other benefits. They are very knowledgeable on the products they sell and that can be a competitive advantage.
Selecting an auto insurance agent shouldn’t rely on just the price. Here are some questions to ask:
- Are they able to influence company decisions when a claim is filed?
- Do they have adequate Errors and Ommissions coverage? This protects you if they make a mistake.
- Does the agency provide any after hours assistance?
- Do they specialize in personal lines coverage?
- If you have an accident, are you able to get your vehicle repaired at the shop of your choice?
Upon receiving reasonable responses to your questions and a low price estimate, it’s possible that you found an insurance agency that is a good match to adequately provide car insurance.
Is there deception in advertising?
Montana consumers constantly see and hear ads for cheaper car insurance from the likes of State Farm, Allstate and Geico. All the ads make the same claim about savings if you move your coverage to them.
How do they all make almost identical claims?
All the different companies can use profiling for the driver they prefer to insure. A good example of a desirable insured could be between the ages of 30 and 50, has no tickets, and drives newer vehicles. A customer getting a price quote who fits that profile receives the best rates and therefore will save when they switch companies.
Drivers who fall outside this ideal profile will be charged a higher premium which leads to business not being written. The ads state “drivers who switch” not “people who quote” save that much. That’s the way insurance companies can claim big savings.
That is why you absolutely need to get a wide range of price quotes. Because you never know which insurance companies will provide you with the cheapest rates.
Car insurance policy specifics
Having a good grasp of car insurance aids in choosing the right coverages and the correct deductibles and limits. The terms used in a policy can be difficult to understand and coverage can change by endorsement. Shown next are typical coverage types found on the average car insurance policy.
Collision coverage – This coverage covers damage to your vehicle resulting from a collision with an object or car. You first must pay a deductible then the remaining damage will be paid by your insurance company.
Collision coverage pays for claims such as backing into a parked car, scraping a guard rail, sustaining damage from a pot hole and rolling your car. Collision coverage makes up a good portion of your premium, so consider dropping it from vehicles that are 8 years or older. Another option is to choose a higher deductible to bring the cost down.
Comprehensive insurance – Comprehensive insurance covers damage caused by mother nature, theft, vandalism and other events. You first must pay your deductible and the remainder of the damage will be paid by comprehensive coverage.
Comprehensive insurance covers things such as hitting a bird, fire damage and hitting a deer. The maximum amount you can receive from a comprehensive claim is the actual cash value, so if your deductible is as high as the vehicle’s value it’s not worth carrying full coverage.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) – This coverage provides protection from other drivers when they do not carry enough liability coverage. This coverage pays for injuries to you and your family as well as damage to your vehicle.
Due to the fact that many Montana drivers carry very low liability coverage limits (Montana limits are 25/50/10), their limits can quickly be used up. That’s why carrying high Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage is a good idea. Normally these limits are set the same as your liablity limits.
Liability auto insurance – Liability insurance can cover damage that occurs to other people or property that is your fault. It protects YOU against claims from other people, and doesn’t cover damage to your own property or vehicle.
Coverage consists of three different limits, bodily injury per person, bodily injury per accident and property damage. Your policy might show limits of 25/50/25 which means $25,000 in coverage for each person’s injuries, a per accident bodily injury limit of $50,000, and property damage coverage for $25,000. Some companies may use a combined limit which provides one coverage limit with no separate limits for injury or property damage.
Liability insurance covers things like repair bills for other people’s vehicles, repair costs for stationary objects and court costs. How much liability coverage do you need? That is a decision to put some thought into, but you should buy as high a limit as you can afford. Montana requires drivers to carry at least 25,000/50,000/10,000 but you should think about purchasing higher limits.
Med pay and Personal Injury Protection (PIP) – Medical payments and Personal Injury Protection insurance pay for bills for things like hospital visits, ambulance fees, pain medications and rehabilitation expenses. They can be used to cover expenses not covered by your health insurance policy or if there is no health insurance coverage. Medical payments and PIP cover not only the driver but also the vehicle occupants in addition to any family member struck as a pedestrian. Personal Injury Protection is only offered in select states and may carry a deductible
When trying to cut insurance costs, don’t be tempted to buy less coverage just to save a little money. There are too many instances where consumers will sacrifice liability limits or collision coverage only to regret that the small savings ended up costing them much more. The proper strategy is to buy enough coverage at an affordable rate.
The cheapest car insurance is attainable from both online companies in addition to many Missoula insurance agents, so compare prices from both so you have a total pricing picture. A few companies do not provide online price quotes and these small insurance companies work with independent agents.
Additional car insurance information can be found on the website for the Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance located here. Montana drivers can read enforcement actions against agents and companies, download brochures, view agent and company licensing information, and view a list of available companies.
Other informative sites include this Car Insurance FAQ and this list of agents in Missoula, MT.