Are you intimidated by the dozens of auto insurance options in Madison? Many other consumers are too. There are so many choices that it can turn into a ton of work to find the lowest price.
Take these nine discounts and save
The cost of insuring your cars can be expensive, buy you may qualify for discounts that can drop the cost substantially. Certain discounts will be triggered automatically when you purchase, but lesser-known reductions have to be inquired about prior to receiving the credit.
- Multiple Policy Discount – If you insure your home and vehicles with one insurance company you will save at least 10% off all policies.
- Discount for New Cars – Adding a new car to your policy can save up to 30% due to better safety requirements for new cars.
- Discounts for Safe Drivers – Safe drivers can get discounts for up to 45% lower rates than less cautious drivers.
- Anti-theft System – Anti-theft and alarm systems are stolen less frequently and therefore earn up to a 10% discount.
- Multi-car Discount – Buying insurance for more than one vehicle on one policy may reduce the rate for each vehicle.
- Save over 55 – Mature drivers can possibly qualify for reduced rates.
- No Claims – Drivers who don’t have accidents pay less when compared to frequent claim filers.
- Student Driver Training – Require your teen driver to take driver’s ed class in school.
- Lower Rates for Military – Being on active duty in the military could mean lower rates.
Consumers should know that some of the credits will not apply to the entire policy premium. Most cut individual premiums such as physical damage coverage or medical payments. Just because you may think all the discounts add up to a free policy, it just doesn’t work that way. Any amount of discount will bring down the amount you have to pay.
The auto insurance bait and switch
Companies like Progressive, Allstate and Geico continually stream ads on TV and radio. All the ads make an identical promise about savings after switching to their company. How can each company make the same claim?
Different companies can use profiling for the type of customer that is profitable for them. For instance, a profitable customer might be profiled as between the ages of 30 and 50, insures multiple vehicles, and drives less than 7,500 miles a year. A customer getting a price quote who meets those qualifications gets the lowest rates and therefore will save when they switch companies.
Potential customers who don’t measure up to the “perfect” profile will be charged higher premiums which usually ends up with the customer not buying. The ads state “people who switch” not “everyone that quotes” save that kind of money. This is how companies can truthfully make those claims.
That is why it is so important to compare as many rates as you can. It is impossible to predict the company that will fit your personal profile best.
Auto insurance coverages and their meanings
Knowing the specifics of your auto insurance policy can help you determine the best coverages and proper limits and deductibles. The terms used in a policy can be difficult to understand and coverage can change by endorsement.
Comprehensive auto insurance
Comprehensive insurance coverage covers damage OTHER than collision with another vehicle or object. You need to pay your deductible first then the remaining damage will be covered by your comprehensive coverage.
Comprehensive coverage protects against claims such as a tree branch falling on your vehicle, fire damage, hitting a bird, hitting a deer and hail damage. The most a auto insurance company will pay at claim time is the market value of your vehicle, so if the vehicle is not worth much it’s probably time to drop comprehensive insurance.
Coverage for uninsured or underinsured drivers
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist coverage provides protection when the “other guys” do not carry enough liability coverage. It can pay for injuries to you and your family as well as damage to your vehicle.
Since many Wisconsin drivers carry very low liability coverage limits (which is 50/100/55), it only takes a small accident to exceed their coverage. That’s why carrying high Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage is important protection for you and your family. Usually these limits are set the same as your liablity limits.
This protects you from damages or injuries you inflict on a person or their property that is your fault. Coverage consists of three different limits, bodily injury per person, bodily injury per accident and property damage. You commonly see liability limits of 25/50/25 that translate to a $25,000 limit per person for injuries, $50,000 for the entire accident, and a total limit of $25,000 for damage to vehicles and property. Another option is one limit called combined single limit (CSL) which limits claims to one amount and claims can be made without the split limit restrictions.
Liability can pay for things such as bail bonds, funeral expenses, legal defense fees, repair bills for other people’s vehicles and emergency aid. How much coverage you buy is a decision to put some thought into, but consider buying higher limits if possible. Wisconsin state minimum liability requirements are 50,000/100,000/55,000 but drivers should carry more liability than the minimum.
Coverage for medical expenses
Medical payments and Personal Injury Protection insurance pay for bills like surgery, prosthetic devices and ambulance fees. They are often used to cover expenses not covered by your health insurance program or if you do not have health coverage. They cover not only the driver but also the vehicle occupants and will also cover any family member struck as a pedestrian. Personal Injury Protection is only offered in select states and gives slightly broader coverage than med pay
Coverage for collisions
Collision insurance pays to fix your vehicle from damage resulting from colliding with a stationary object or other vehicle. You first must pay a deductible and then insurance will cover the remainder.
Collision coverage pays for things like colliding with another moving vehicle, rolling your car, driving through your garage door, hitting a mailbox and damaging your car on a curb. Collision is rather expensive coverage, so consider dropping it from lower value vehicles. Another option is to choose a higher deductible to bring the cost down.
Additional auto insurance information can be found on the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance website found here. Visitors are able to discover disciplinary actions, file complaints about an insurance agent or broker, read industry bulletins, and learn about specific coverages.
Additional helpful sites include NAIC.org’s Understanding your Policy and see this list of insurance agents in Madison.
Buy online or local, you save
Cheap auto insurance can be found both online and with local Madison insurance agents, and you should be comparing both to have the best rate selection. Some insurance companies do not offer online price quotes and most of the time these regional insurance providers sell through independent agents.
Consumers switch companies for a variety of reasons including delays in paying claims, policy non-renewal, policy cancellation or even high prices. It doesn’t matter what your reason, choosing a new insurance company can be less work than you think.
When shopping online for auto insurance, never buy poor coverage just to save money. There have been many cases where someone sacrificed collision coverage to discover at claim time that a couple dollars of savings turned into a financial nightmare. Your strategy should be to purchase a proper amount of coverage at the best price while still protecting your assets.