Comparison shopping for cheaper Berkeley car insurance may be frustrating for drivers new to buying insurance online. There are so many agents and companies to choose from that it can quickly become a lot of work to find more affordable prices in California.
Consumers should take time to do rate comparisons as often as possible since prices are rarely the same from one policy term to another. Just because you found the best deal at your last renewal you will most likely find a better rate today. Don’t believe everything you read about car insurance online, but by reading this article, you’re going to learn a bunch of ideas how to lower your car insurance bill.
Locating the best car insurance coverage in Berkeley is simple if you know the tricks. If you have a policy now or are shopping for new coverage, you can follow these tips to cut your premiums and still get good coverage. California drivers just need to understand the proper way to compare company rates on the web.
Five decisions that affect insurance premiums
Many different elements are used in the calculation when you get your auto insurance bill. Some are obvious such as your driving history, but other factors are more transparent such as whether you are married or how safe your car is.
- Does your job cost you more? – Did you know your car insurance rates can be affected by your occupation? Occupations such as military generalsair traffic controllers and stock brokers usually pay the highest rates due to job stress and extremely grueling work hours. On the other hand, professions such as actors, students and homemakers have lower than average premiums.
- Lower rates by increasing physical damage deductibles – Deductibles for physical damage define how much you are willing to pay out-of-pocket if a claim is determined to be covered. Coverage for physical damage, otherwise known as comp (or other than collision) and collision, is used to repair damage to your car. Some coverage claims are colliding with a stationary object, collision with a deer, and damage from wind. The more you’re willing to pay, the less money you will pay for car insurance.
- Drive a safer car and pay less – Safer cars are cheaper to insure. These vehicles result in less severe injuries and fewer serious injuries means your insurance company pays less and more competitive rates for policyholders. If your vehicle has at least an “acceptable” rating on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety website or four stars on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website you may pay a lower rate.
- Eliminate unneeded add-on coverages – Insurance policies have a lot of optional add-on coverages you can purchase on your car insurance policy. Add-on coverages like rental car coverage, high-cost glass coverage, and membership fees may be costing you every month. These coverages may sound good when discussing your needs, but if you have no use for them consider taking them off your policy.
- Car insurance lapses lead to higher rates – Driving any period of time without insurance is not a good idea and you may have a hard time finding new coverage because you let your coverage cancel without a new policy in place. In addition to paying higher rates, failure to provide proof of insurance could earn you a steep fine or even jail time. You may then have to submit proof of financial responsibility or a SR-22 with the California DMV.
Getting a cheaper price on insurance isn’t really that difficult. Just take a couple of minutes getting comparison quotes from some recommended companies. It is quite easy and can be accomplished in a couple of different ways.
The fastest way to get quotes for comparison is an all-inclusive rate comparison like this one (opens in new window). This method prevents you from having to do multiple quote forms for every prospective company. One form submission gets prices estimates from many national carriers. This is by far the quickest method.
A slightly less efficient method to analyze rates is to manually visit the website of each company and repeat the quote process again and again. For instance, we’ll assume you want rates from Progressive, 21st Century and American Family. To do that, you would have to go to each individual site to input your insurance information, which explains why we recommend starting with the first method. For a handy list of car insurance company links in Berkeley, click here.
The least recommended method to compare rates is making phone calls or going to insurance agencies in your area. Comparing rate quotes online reduces the need to sit down with an agent unless you require the professional abilities of a local agent. Some companies do allow you to price shop online but purchase the actual policy in an agency.
It’s up to you which method you use, but do your best to use nearly identical coverage limits and deductibles for each comparison quote. If you have different deductibles it will be impossible to decipher which rate is best in Berkeley.
Car insurance policy discounts you can’t miss
Not too many consumers would say car insurance is affordable, but there could be available discounts to reduce the price significantly. Many of these discounts will be applied automatically when you purchase, but occassionally some discounts must be inquired about before they will apply.
- Discounts for Seat Belt Usage – Using a seat belt and requiring all passengers to use a seat belt may be able to save a few bucks off the personal injury premium cost.
- Save with a New Car – Insuring a new car can save you some money because newer vehicles are generally safer.
- Discounts for Responsible Drivers – Drivers who avoid accidents can get discounts for up to 45% lower rates than less cautious drivers.
- Homeowners Savings – Owning your own home or condo can earn you a little savings since home ownership shows financial diligence.
- Discount for Passive Restraints – Vehicles equipped with air bags or motorized seat belts can qualify for discounts of 25 to 30%.
- Telematics Data Discounts – Berkeley drivers who agree to allow companies to study driving patterns by installing a telematics device such as Allstate’s Drivewise and State Farm’s In-Drive system may get a rate reduction if they are good drivers.
- Discounts for Government Workers – Active or former government employment could cut as much as 10% off but check with your company.
- Multi-car Discount – Buying a policy with primary and secondary vehicles with the same company qualifies for this discount.
- Senior Citizens – Drivers over the age of 55 can possibly qualify for lower premium rates.
A little note about advertised discounts, many deductions do not apply to the entire cost. Most cut the cost of specific coverages such as liability, collision or medical payments. If you do the math and it seems like it’s possible to get free car insurance, it doesn’t quite work that way.
A list of companies and some of the premium reductions they offer are detailed below.
- Progressive may offer discounts for multi-vehicle, continuous coverage, multi-policy, online signing, good student, and online quote discount.
- Farmers Insurance offers discounts including early shopping, distant student, business and professional, alternative fuel, and mature driver.
- Farm Bureau includes discounts for safe driver, 55 and retired, multi-vehicle, good student, renewal discount, and youthful driver.
- State Farm has savings for Steer Clear safe driver discount, passive restraint, safe vehicle, accident-free, defensive driving training, and anti-theft.
- Geico offers premium reductions for emergency military deployment, military active duty, multi-vehicle, driver training, five-year accident-free, membership and employees, and seat belt use.
- SAFECO offers discounts for bundle discounts, drive less, teen safe driver, homeowner, anti-lock brakes, and teen safety rewards.
- Liberty Mutual has discounts for teen driver discount, newly married, preferred payment discount, multi-car, new graduate, good student, and new move discount.
Double check with all the companies which discounts can lower your rates. Savings might not be offered on policies in every state.
Local Berkeley insurance agents
Some people prefer to sit down and talk to an agent and we recommend doing that Experienced insurance agents are very good at helping people manage risk and help submit paperwork. One of the great benefits of comparing insurance prices online is that drivers can save money and get better rates but also keep your business local. And supporting neighborhood insurance agencies is definitely important in Berkeley.
By using this short form, your insurance coverage information is immediately sent to companies in Berkeley who will give you quotes to get your business. You never need to even leave your home since rate quotes are delivered to you instantly. In the event you want to get a comparison quote from a particular provider, you would need to search and find their rate quote page and submit a quote form there.
If you are wanting to purchase car insurance from a local agent, it can be helpful to understand the types of insurance agents and how they are slightly different. Car insurance agents may be either independent agents or captive agents. Both types of agents can do a good job, but it is a good idea to know the subtle differences since it could factor into which agent you choose.
Agents in the independent channel are not limited to a single company and that gives them the ability to insure amongst many companies and possibly get better coverage at lower prices. If your agent finds better pricing, your policy is moved internally and you don’t have to switch agencies.
When comparing car insurance rates, you absolutely need to get some free quotes from independent agents in order to compare the most rates. Most have the option of insuring with companies that do not advertise much who may have lower rates.
Below are Berkeley independent agencies that may be able to give you rate quotes.
- DNP M’s Insurance Svc – 2406 Grant St – Berkeley, CA 94703 – (510) 644-3338
- Charles Jenkins Insurance Svc – 3284 Adeline St – Berkeley, CA 94703 – (510) 597-0390
Captive Car Insurance Agencies
Captive insurance agents work for only one company like Allstate, State Farm and Farm Bureau. They are unable to provide rate quotes from other companies so it’s a take it or leave it situation. Captive insurance agents are well trained on what they offer which helps them compete with independent agents. Some consumers prefer to use the same agent primarily because of the prominent brand name and strong financial ratings.
Shown below is a list of captive insurance agents in Berkeley who can help you get comparison quotes.
- State Farm Insurance – 2126 Kittredge St – Berkeley, CA 94704 – (510) 841-6171
- Allstate Insurance – 2927 Shattuck Ave – Berkeley, CA 94705 – (510) 548-1600
To find insurance agencies near you, feel free to see this page of insurance agents in Berkeley.
Picking a car insurance agent requires you to look at more than just the bottom line cost. A good agent will have answers to these questions.
- What company holds the largest book of business for them?
- Do they carry Errors and Omissions coverage?
- Will your rates increase after a single accident?
- Can you get a list of referrals?
- Will you work with the agent or an assistant?
- What is their Better Business Bureau rating?
- Can you use your own choice of collision repair facility?
- Will the quote change when the policy is issued?
Insurance agents can help
When it comes to buying the right insurance coverage for your personal vehicles, there really is not a perfect coverage plan. Every situation is different.
For example, these questions may help you determine if you might need an agent’s assistance.
- Are my friends covered when driving my vehicle?
- Can I pay claims out-of-pocket if I buy high deductibles?
- How high should my uninsured/underinsured coverage be in California?
- Do I need special endorsements for business use of my vehicle?
- Is my babysitter covered when using my vehicle?
- Can I still get insurance after a DUI?
- How many claims can I have before being cancelled?
- Is my teen driver covered when they drive my company car?
- Do I really need UM/UIM coverage?
- Can I afford to buy a different vehicle if my vehicle is totaled?
If you can’t answer these questions but you think they might apply to your situation, you might consider talking to a licensed insurance agent. To find lower rates from a local agent, take a second and complete this form. It’s fast, free and can help protect your family.
More information is located on the . Click here for link. Visitors are able to file complaints about a company, find out which companies have the most complaints, and learn about insurance regulations.
The articles below may also help you learn more about car insurance in Berkeley
Don’t give up on affordable coverage
When searching for , make sure you don’t skimp on critical coverages to save a buck or two. There are many occasions where consumers will sacrifice liability limits or collision coverage and found out when filing a claim that it was a big error on their part. The goal is to purchase plenty of coverage at the best price while not skimping on critical coverages.
We’ve covered many ways to get a better price on car insurance. The key concept to understand is the more rate quotes you have, the better your chances of lowering your rates. Drivers may discover the lowest priced car insurance comes from a company that doesn’t do a lot of advertising.
Insureds who switch companies do it for a variety of reasons including denial of a claim, policy cancellation, high prices or poor customer service. No matter why you want to switch, choosing a new company can be less work than you think.