Sick and tired of paying out the nose each month for car insurance? You are in the same boat as the majority of other car owners in Washington. Big-name insurance companies like Allstate, Liberty Mutual and State Farm continually hit you with advertising and it is difficult to avoid their marketing magic and take the time to shop coverage around.
Do you qualify for these nine discounts?
Companies offering auto insurance don’t always list every available discount in an easy-to-find place, so here is a list both the well known and the more hidden savings tricks you should be using. If they aren’t giving you every credit available, you’re paying more than you need to.
- Auto/Home Discount – When you have multiple policies with one company you may earn up to 20% off your total premium.
- Save over 55 – Older drivers can possibly qualify for a small decrease in premiums.
- E-sign – A few companies will give a small break for buying a policy and signing up online.
- Homeowners Pay Less – Owning a house in Bellingham may trigger a car insurance policy discount because maintaining a house demonstrates responsibility.
- Employee of Federal Government – Simply working for the federal government can earn a discount up to 10% with a few car insurance companies.
- Discount for Swiching Early – Some insurance companies reward drivers for buying a policy prior to your current policy expiring. The savings is around 10%.
- Multi-car Discount – Buying insurance for more than one vehicle on the same car insurance policy could earn a price break for each car.
- Drivers Education – Cut your cost by having your teen driver complete a driver education course in school.
- Lower Rates for Military – Having a deployed family member can result in better rates.
It’s important to understand that most credits do not apply to all coverage premiums. A few only apply to individual premiums such as physical damage coverage or medical payments. So even though they make it sound like having all the discounts means you get insurance for free, companies don’t profit that way.
To see a list of insurers offering car insurance discounts in Bellingham, click this link.
Finding Car Insurance in Bellingham, WA
Lowering your car insurance rates isn’t really that difficult. The only thing you need to do is take a few minutes to get quotes provided by online insurance companies. It is quite easy and can be accomplished in just a few minutes using one of these methods.
- The most efficient way to find the lowest comparison rates is to use a rate comparison form click to view form in new window. This method saves time by eliminating boring form submissions for each company. Just one form gets you price quotes from multiple companies.
- A more difficult way to find lower rates is to manually visit the website for every company you want to comare to complete a price quote. For sake of this example, let’s say you want to compare Progressive, GEICO and Travelers. To get each rate you have to visit each site to input your insurance information, and that’s why the first method is more popular.
For a list of links to companies insuring cars in Bellingham, click here.
- The least recommended way to compare rates is to drive around to local Bellingham insurance agencies. Buying insurance online has reduced the need for local agents unless you want the professional guidance of a local Bellingham agent. You can, however, compare the best prices online but still have the advice of a local agent and we’ll touch on that later.
Whichever way you use, be sure to compare exactly the same coverages and limits with every price quote. If each company quotes different liability limits it’s impossible to determine the best price in Bellingham.
Do I need special coverages?
When it comes to buying coverage, there really is no best way to insure your cars. Each situation is unique so your insurance needs to address that. Here are some questions about coverages that might point out whether you might need an agent’s assistance.
- Do all my vehicles need collision coverage?
- Is my dog or cat covered if injured in an accident?
- When does my teenage driver need to be added to my policy?
- Does my insurance cover a custom paint job?
- Which companies will insure high-risk drivers?
- Do no-fault laws apply in Washington?
- Should I rate my vehicle as pleasure use or commute?
If you’re not sure about those questions then you might want to talk to an agent. To find an agent in your area, simply complete this short form or click here for a list of car insurance companies in your area. It only takes a few minutes and may give you better protection.
Having a good grasp of car insurance helps when choosing the best coverages and proper limits and deductibles. The coverage terms in a policy can be impossible to understand and even agents have difficulty translating policy wording. Listed below are typical coverage types found on most car insurance policies.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist coverage protects you and your vehicle’s occupants from other motorists when they either have no liability insurance or not enough. Covered losses include injuries sustained by your vehicle’s occupants and also any damage incurred to your vehicle.
Since a lot of drivers only carry the minimum required liability limits (which is 25/50/10), their liability coverage can quickly be exhausted. For this reason, having high UM/UIM coverages is very important.
Medical payments coverage and PIP
Coverage for medical payments and/or PIP kick in for bills for prosthetic devices, pain medications, ambulance fees, dental work and nursing services. The coverages can be used to cover expenses not covered by your health insurance policy 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 but can be used in place of medical payments coverage
Collision coverage protection
This coverage pays to fix your vehicle from damage resulting from colliding with a stationary object or other vehicle. You will need to pay your deductible and the rest of the damage will be paid by collision coverage.
Collision coverage pays for things like crashing into a ditch, colliding with another moving vehicle, hitting a parking meter and crashing into a building. Collision is rather expensive coverage, so analyze the benefit of dropping coverage from vehicles that are 8 years or older. Another option is to bump up the deductible in order to get cheaper collision rates.
Liability car insurance
This can cover damage or injury you incur to a person or their property that is your fault. This coverage protects you from claims by other people, and does not provide coverage for your own vehicle damage or injuries.
Coverage consists of three different limits, bodily injury for each person injured, bodily injury for the entire accident and a property damage limit. Your policy might show liability limits of 100/300/100 that translate to a $100,000 limit per person for injuries, a per accident bodily injury limit of $300,000, and a total limit of $100,000 for damage to vehicles and property.
Liability can pay for claims like court costs, loss of income, structural damage and emergency aid. How much liability should you purchase? That is a personal decision, but you should buy higher limits if possible. Washington state minimum liability requirements are 25,000/50,000/10,000 but drivers should carry more liability than the minimum.
This coverage pays for damage caused by mother nature, theft, vandalism and other events. You need to pay your deductible first then your comprehensive coverage will pay.
Comprehensive coverage pays for things such as hitting a deer, damage from getting keyed and hail damage. 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 consider removing comprehensive coverage.
Best coverage at the best price
Budget-conscious car insurance can be bought on the web in addition to many Bellingham insurance agents, so you should be comparing quotes from both in order to have the best chance of saving money. Some insurance providers do not provide the ability to get a quote online and these small, regional companies work with independent agents.
As you go through the steps to switch your coverage, it’s very important that you do not buy poor coverage just to save money. There are a lot of situations where consumers will sacrifice uninsured motorist or liability limits and learned later that a couple dollars of savings turned into a financial nightmare. Your goal should be to buy the best coverage you can find for the lowest price.
You just learned many ways to get a better price on car insurance. The key thing to remember is the more you quote, the more likely it is that you will get a better rate. Drivers may discover the lowest priced car insurance comes from a small local company. Regional companies may cover specific market segments cheaper than the large multi-state companies such as Allstate or State Farm.