He seems determined to get us to use him for all our insurance needs. I told him that would be fine; we’re always trying to get a good deal. I doubted he could offer something comparable to what we have now since it’s already such a good deal.
He called again Friday and told me his quote, and suggested that we review the copy he’d be sending in the mail. That’s good, because I don’t make big decisions like that over the phone; my husband and I like to research the numbers and ask around for opinions on customer service. I also look at companies like NetQuote, Geico, Esurance, and Progressive to make sure I’m getting a fair deal (compare rates and get tips on how to save at our post on how to save money on car insurance).
Examining car insurance coverage
The first we did when comparing rates was to pull out our existing car insurance policy so we could compare apples to apples. Here’s what we’re looking for in car insurance coverage:
Bodily Injury ($100, 000/$300, 000): We need to coverage to protect us from medical bills and lawsuits from any injuries or death that are our responsibility. North Carolina has a lower requirement for bodily injury ($30, 000/$60, 000), but we believe medical bills can easily top those amounts so extra coverage is important for us.
Property Damage ($100, 000): This coverage will pay for any property we damage (such as to someone else’s car) due to an accident. This amount reflects the maximum paid per accident; we think $100, 000 should be enough to cover these expenses. North Carolina only requires $25, 000, but we think that is too low. We could save money on our premiums if we went lower, but we’d then be responsible for anything over our coverage limit.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage ($100, 000/$300, 000/$100, 000): If we get into an accident due to the other driver’s fault and they don’t have insurance, then this protects us and our property.
Collision: Collision coverage can help when your car is damaged and is in need of repairs. It also includes repairs if your car is broken into. We currently only have collision for my car (2000 VW Jetta). If you have a car loan, most lien holders will require collision, but it’s optional once you pay the loan off. Since collision typically pays up to the value of the car, having coverage for my husband’s car (a 1994 Acura Integra) didn’t make financial sense.
Coverage-wise the new offer looks about the same, but I noticed that our current policy is has slightly lower premiums.
Discounts for car insurance
While reviewing the new policy, I noticed it was lower than what he had been quoted by the same agent months before, and I wanted to know why. I noticed that we now qualified for more discounts. Besides having a multi-car policy, we were now having a multi-policy discount with this insurance company. After getting some more information on our cars, he included discounts for having car alarm systems installed, and we also qualify for something called NC Tiering Program.
Beyond the above, you can also get a better rate though big things like not having any accidents as well as little things like having a clean credit report. With everything included, our 12 month car insurance premium would be around $775/year or about $65/month. It’s definitely in the ballpark with our current policy so we’re considering it. One thing in favor of the new policy is that it would simplify things a bit, as we’d only have one insurance agent.
Consider your Circumstances
Besides price, we’re also looking at any extra benefits of the policy. The car insurance policy the new agent quoted has lower deductibles ($500 instead of $1, 000), but our current policy has towing and roadside assistance included with no additional charge.
The new policy quote doesn’t include towing on it, so I’m going to ask the agent if that’s an additional charge. We’ve already used the roadside assistance with our current policy a few times, so we’re definitely interested in keeping it. While celebrating our anniversary, for example, our car got stuck in the mud. All it took was a quick phone call to get a tow truck dispatched, and there was not out-of-pocket expense.
How do you save on car insurance?
Now that you’ve heard about our situation, I want to hear about your tricks for shopping around for car insurance and getting a better deal. What tips do you have for saving money on car insurance? Please let us know by leaving a comment.