No one enjoys paying for auto insurance, especially when they are paying too much. Multiple car insurance companies compete for your hard-earned dollar, and it can be difficult to compare rates to get the best price available.
If you have insurance now or are looking for a new policy, you can follow these tips to find the best rates while maintaining coverages. Buying cheap car insurance in Fresno is not that difficult. California consumers just need to understand the proper way to compare prices over the internet.
Policy discounts you shouldn’t miss
Insurance can cost an arm and a leg, but there are discounts available that you may not know about. Certain discounts will be applied when you complete an application, but less common discounts must be manually applied before being credited. If you’re not getting every credit you deserve, you are throwing money away.
- Federal Employees – Simply working for the federal government can save as much as 8% depending on your company.
- Sign Online – A handful of insurance companies give back up to $50 for buying your policy digitally online.
- Auto/Life Discount – Larger companies have a break if you buy life insurance.
- Military Rewards – Having a deployed family member could mean lower rates.
- Drivers Education – Have your child complete a driver education course if offered at their school.
- Sign Early and Save – A few companies offer discounts for signing up before your current policy expires. It can save you around 10%.
It’s important to note that most of the big mark downs will not be given the the whole policy. Most only cut individual premiums such as comp or med pay. So even though it sounds like you could get a free auto insurance policy, you won’t be that lucky. But any discount will bring down your premiums.
To see a list of companies offering auto insurance discounts in California, click here.
Do I need special coverages?
When buying the right insurance coverage for your personal vehicles, there isn’t really a “best” method to buy coverage. Everyone’s situation is unique so your insurance needs to address that. For example, these questions may help highlight whether you would benefit from professional advice.
- What is the difference between comprehensive and collision coverage?
- Which companies will insure high-risk drivers?
- What are the financial responsibility laws in California?
- How high should my medical payments coverage be?
- Is my cargo covered for damage or theft?
- Should I buy additional glass protection?
- Do I need added coverage for expensive stereo equipment?
- Do I need roadside assistance coverage?
If it’s difficult to answer those questions, you may need to chat with a licensed insurance agent. If you want to speak to an agent in your area, complete this form or you can go here for a list of companies in your area. It only takes a few minutes and can help protect your family.
Neighborhood agents for auto insurance
Some people would rather sit down with an agent and there is nothing wrong with that. Professional agents can point out coverage gaps and help you file claims. The biggest benefit of comparing rates online is you can get lower rates but still work with a licensed agent. And supporting small agencies is important particularly in Fresno.
To make it easy to find an agent, after completing this form (opens in new window), your insurance coverage information gets sent to participating agents in Fresno who will battle for your insurance coverage. There is no need to visit any agencies as quotes are delivered straight to your inbox.
Different types of car insurance agents in Fresno
When searching for an insurance agent, you need to know there are two types of agencies that you can select. Fresno agents are categorized either captive or independent (non-captive). Both types can insure your vehicles, but it’s worth learning how they are different since it may influence the type of agent you choose
Independent Insurance Agents
Independent agents are not employed by any specific company so they can insure your vehicles with lots of companies and potentially find a lower price. If your agent finds better pricing, the agent simply finds a different carrier and that require little work on your part. When comparison shopping, you should always include at a minimum one independent agency for maximum quote selection.
The following are Fresno independent agencies that may be able to provide pricing information.
Sharp Insurance and Bonding – 1040 E Herndon Ave # 104 – Fresno, CA 93720 – (559) 432-2544
Hall Costa Drake Agency – 1490 W Shaw Ave # E – Fresno, CA 93711 – (559) 225-6510
Pendergrass Agency – 1322 E Shaw Ave # 255 – Fresno, CA 93710 – (559) 221-7101
Steve Leonard Agency – 1390 N Wishon Ave – Fresno, CA 93728 – (559) 485-0413
J D Ostdiek Insurance – 516 W Shaw Ave # 102 – Fresno, CA 93704 – (559) 222-4471
This type of agents can only place business with one company and examples are State Farm, AAA, Farmers Insurance or Allstate. These agents are not able to place coverage with different providers so always compare other rates. Captives are well schooled on the products they sell which helps them sell insurance even at higher premiums.
Listed below is a short list of captive insurance agencies in Fresno who can help you get comparison quotes.
Liberty Mutual Insurance – 7110 N Fresno St – Fresno, CA 93720 – (559) 435-2144
Farmers Insurance Group – 5100 N 6th St # 109 – Fresno, CA 93710 – (559) 432-0454
State Farm Insurance – 1437 W Shaw Ave – Fresno, CA 93711 – (559) 227-5548
Allstate Insurance – 1677 W Shaw Ave # 105 – Fresno, CA 93711 – (559) 229-5700
To view a full list of Fresno captive agents, please view this page.
Selecting an insurance agent requires more thought than just the premium amount. Ask your prospective agent these questions:
- Are they able to influence company decisions when a claim is filed?
- Which insurance companies are they affiliated with?
- Is the agent and/or agency licensed to do business in California?
- Does the agency have a good rating with the Better Business Bureau?
- Are you getting all the discounts the company offers?
- What are the financial ratings for the companies they represent?
- Who is covered by the car insurance policy?
- Which company do they place the most coverage with?
Upon getting positive feedback to your questions and an affordable coverage quote, you have narrowed it down to an insurance agency that can properly insure your vehicles. Just keep in mind you can always terminate your policy at any point so don’t feel that you are obligated to a specific agent with no way out.
Information about specific coverages
Learning about specific coverages of a auto insurance policy can be of help when determining appropriate coverage at the best deductibles and correct limits. Auto insurance terms can be confusing and reading a policy is terribly boring. Shown next are the usual coverages found on the average auto insurance policy.
Auto collision coverage
Collision coverage pays to fix your vehicle from damage resulting from a collision with a stationary object or other vehicle. A deductible applies and then insurance will cover the remainder.
Collision coverage protects against claims such as hitting a parking meter, driving through your garage door, rolling your car and damaging your car on a curb. Collision coverage makes up a good portion of your premium, so consider dropping it from vehicles that are 8 years or older. Drivers also have the option to increase the deductible to bring the cost down.
Coverage for uninsured or underinsured drivers
This gives you protection from other motorists when they either have no liability insurance or not enough. Covered claims include injuries to you and your family and also any damage incurred to your vehicle.
Due to the fact that many California drivers only purchase the least amount of liability that is required (15/30/5 in California), it doesn’t take a major accident to exceed their coverage limits. That’s why carrying high Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage should not be overlooked. Frequently these coverages do not exceed the liability coverage limits.
Coverage for medical expenses
Coverage for medical payments and/or PIP kick in for bills for chiropractic care, prosthetic devices and surgery. They can be utilized in addition to your health insurance plan or if there is no health insurance coverage. Coverage applies to both the driver and occupants in addition to getting struck while a pedestrian. PIP coverage is only offered in select states and may carry a deductible
Comprehensive auto insurance
Comprehensive insurance pays to fix your vehicle from damage caused by mother nature, theft, vandalism and other events. You need to pay your deductible first and the remainder of the damage will be paid by comprehensive coverage.
Comprehensive can pay for things like damage from flooding, hitting a bird, damage from a tornado or hurricane, damage from getting keyed and hail damage. The highest amount you can receive from a comprehensive claim is the ACV or actual cash value, so if it’s not worth much more than your deductible it’s not worth carrying full coverage.
Liability coverage protects you from damages or injuries you inflict on other people or property that is your fault. Coverage consists of three different limits, bodily injury for each person injured, bodily injury for the entire accident and a property damage limit. As an example, you may have policy limits of 25/50/25 that means you have a $25,000 limit per person for injuries, $50,000 for the entire accident, and a limit of $25,000 paid for damaged property. Alternatively, you may have one limit called combined single limit (CSL) which limits claims to one amount with no separate limits for injury or property damage.
Liability coverage protects against things such as structural damage, emergency aid, legal defense fees and loss of income. The amount of liability coverage you purchase is a personal decision, but it’s cheap coverage so purchase higher limits if possible. California requires minimum liability limits of 15,000/30,000/5,000 but you should consider buying higher limits.
Additional auto insurance information is available on the website for the California Department of Insurance found here. California consumers can find out industry alerts, read consumer alerts, and find out which companies have the most complaints.
Better coverage you can count on
We just covered many ways to shop for auto insurance online. The key concept to understand is the more quotes you get, the better chance you’ll have of finding lower rates. Drivers may discover the most savings is with the least-expected company. These smaller insurers can often insure niche markets at a lower cost compared to the large companies like Allstate and Progressive.
The cheapest auto insurance can be sourced both online and with local Fresno insurance agents, and you need to comparison shop both to get a complete price analysis. There are still a few companies who do not offer you the ability to get quotes online and these regional insurance providers work with independent agents.