Insurance competitors are constantly trying to outdo each other with funnier commercials, better features, and catchier phrases. With so much advertising on TV, radio, and the Internet, it can be difficult to decipher which insurance features are actually beneficial and which ones to skip on. Furthermore, how do you choose between companies when different features offered by different insurers? In this post, we will cover some of the most frequently advertised insurance features and shed light on just how common or beneficial they really are.
Safe Driving Bonus Check
We’ll start with the Safe Driving Bonus Check, an advertised feature from Allstate. This benefit is optional and is only available to drivers who are willing to pay an additional fee to enroll in the Your Choice Auto Program. Even that does not guarantee eligibility, however. Allstate generally requires a good credit score and clean driving record to approve enrollment in this program. If you make it in, you’ll need to stay accident-free for the duration of each policy period to qualify for a bonus check. If you do receive a check, it will be for a maximum of five percent of the paid premium over the previous six months, which would be about $25 for a $500 policy.
Here at Thiel Insurance Group, we help safe drivers get rewarded for their behavior behind the wheel. We can connect you with a wide range of insurance companies that offer safe driver discounts, as well as those that offer other special features, such as premiums that get smaller over time.
New Car Replacement
Next up is the New Car Replacement feature frequently advertised by Liberty Mutual. This coverage increases the value of your insurance settlement when you total your new car, ensuring you receive more than just the depreciated cash value of your vehicle. With Liberty Mutual, the insurer helps pay for a brand new car if you total your car within the first year of ownership or before it has 15,000 miles on the odometer.
Other insurance companies offer similar coverage with slight variations. For example, some insurers provide replacement coverage for used cars, while others, such as Travelers Insurance, may extend new car replacement for as long as five years of ownership. If you are interested in protecting your new car with replacement coverage, talk to an agent here at Thiel Insurance to discuss your options.
The Discount Double-Check is another frequently advertised insurance feature, although it is less of a benefit and more of a specific service that State Farm claims to offer. With the Discount Double-Check, State Farm promises its agents will double-check for discounts that may otherwise be overlooked.
As financially beneficial as this may seem, the service is unique by name only. The truth is any insurance agent can – and should – scour your policies for every possible discount. Whereas State Farm agents only check for State Farm discounts, independent agents can check for and compare discounts from multiple insurers to find a good value for the coverage you need.
GAP protection is insurance that pays off the car loan balance that remains after your collision coverage settles payment for your totaled car. Since most vehicles depreciate more rapidly than loan balances fall, GAP insurance has the potential to save drivers thousands of dollars during the first few years of ownership.
Although insurance companies do not advertise GAP coverage as often as other features, it is still widely available. In fact, even car dealerships and lenders offer this type of protection – usually at the time of your vehicle purchase. Simply pay the premium, which can be as much as $400 or more, and you’ll be covered for the life of the loan. Keep in mind, though, that doing so probably means you are paying for coverage you do not need. Since the loan balance will eventually fall below the actual cash value of the vehicle, it is unlikely you would need GAP protection in the final months or years of your car loan.
Instead, talk to an agent here at Thiel Insurance Group about adding GAP protection to your policy. That way, you’ll pay only for the coverage you need and have the freedom to drop it as you pay down your loan balance.
Bundle and Save
You can save money when you purchase things in a package, whether you are booking a vacation or purchasing phone, Internet, and TV services. The same is true of insurance. The Progressive Bundle-and-Save commercials are well-known here in Wisconsin, but most other insurers offer bundling savings, too.
To benefit, you must purchase multiple coverage lines from the same insurer. In most cases, insurance companies will offer savings when you combine auto coverage with home or renter’s insurance. However, talk to your independent agent here at Thiel Insurance Group about additional discounts if you have other insurance needs, such as RV or motorcycle coverage.
Occasional accidents are not just possible; they’re likely. In fact, statistics show the average driver will have three to four accidents in his or her lifetime. Still, most insurers are quick to penalize drivers who have accidents by charging higher renewal premiums. That is, unless, you have Accident Forgiveness. This feature has been popularized by Allstate and promises not to raise rates because of a first-time accident. To qualify, Allstate policy-holders must meet eligibility criteria and pay an additional fee.
However, Allstate is not the only company that is willing to overlook a first-time accident. Several other options also exist, and you could find extra savings by shopping around. Nationwide & Safeco are just a couple of examples. Integrity Insurance also offers a form of accident forgiveness at no cost to eligible customers of at least five years.
Name Your Price Tool
The Name Your Price Tool is a controversial feature advertised by Progressive Insurance. With this ‘tool,’ users visit the insurer’s website for an insurance quote. The feature then allows the user to lower the price of the policy by adjusting the coverage inside it. In many cases, this results in too little insurance to adequately meet the needs of the insured.
Put simply; we recommend avoiding this tool and utilizing the services of an experienced independent agent instead. Our team understands your unique risks and can help you get the coverage you need at a price you can afford.
Finally, we come to Roadside Assistance, which is frequently advertised by companies like Liberty Mutual. Nearly all insurance companies offer some type of roadside assistance, and it is usually available 24-hours a day. Many policy-holders add this coverage to protect themselves or other drivers on their policy against vulnerable situations, such as breakdowns, lock-outs, flat tires, and more. Talk to an agent here at Thiel Insurance Group to add roadside assistance to your policy today. We also offer standalone AAA memberships for roadside assistance as well that follows the person, not a particular vehicle.
Remember, the commercials and insurance benefits you see on TV may not always be what they seem. There is usually more to the story, and your independent agent can help you get to the bottom of it.