We know how much insurance advertising is thrown at you on a daily basis. It seems like there is an ad for car insurance in every commercial break. Worse, it seems like insurance companies are constantly coming up with new special features or catch-phrases that make it difficult to determine which one is best. Here at Wolfgram Insurance, we want to help you sort through the noise and learn what’s really behind all those advertised insurance features. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the most commonly advertised features and what they mean for you.
First up is an insurance feature that Liberty Mutual is advertising on television right now. The company is promoting its Roadside Assistance coverage with a commercial showing teenage boys stranded on the side of the road in the middle of the night. While somewhat comical, the advertisement is intended to appeal to the concerns of parents who want to ensure their teen or college-age drivers are safe at all times. However, it’s not just teens that can benefit. Roadside assistance can be helpful to anyone who is at risk of a flat tire, lock-out, dead battery, or running out of fuel. Fortunately, this coverage is typically available from almost any insurer, although the benefits may vary from company to company.
State Farm wants you to trust that their Discount Double-Check has the potential to find extra discounts that other insurers may overlook. This feature is something State Farm offers to all customers, promising that an agent will double-check insurance policies for missed potential savings.
The truth is any insurance agent can – and should – double-check to ensure you are getting all of the discounts you qualify for. However, a State Farm agent can only check for discounts from State Farm – not the many other competing agencies that may afford better savings for a particular customer. Here at Wolfgram Insurance, our independent agents look for discounts from multiple carriers to ensure our customers get an excellent value for the quality of their coverage.
If you have collision and comprehensive coverage on your vehicle, you may assume you are fully protected against financial loss if you total your car. In reality, you could be on the hook for several thousand dollars if the balance of your car loan exceeds the depreciated, actual cash value of your car. GAP coverage is often sold by car dealers and lenders to ensure your loan balance will be paid in full in the event you total your car. For an upfront premium – usually about $400 – it covers the amount the primary insurance company will not for the entire life of the loan.
The problem is most drivers do not need GAP coverage for the duration of the loan since the balance usually falls below the cash value of the vehicle long before it is paid in full. That means you could be paying for coverage you do not need. Instead, talk to your independent agent about adding GAP protection to your car insurance policy. You can keep the coverage as long as you need it and drop it when you don’t.
New Car Replacement
Finally, we round out part one with New Car Replacement, a benefit advertised by Liberty Mutual and other insurers as a way to get a brand new car if you total your vehicle within a certain period of time. New Car Replacement benefits vary from insurer to insurer. If you are insured through Liberty Mutual, for example, you may be covered for a new vehicle if your totaled car is up to one year old. On the other hand, Travelers Insurance provides a new car replacement program that is valid for up to five years of ownership. Some insurers also provide better car replacement coverage for used cars, which replace your totaled vehicle with another one that is the same model year or perhaps one year newer.
Safe Driving Bonus Check
The Safe Driving Bonus Check is one of the most well-known features currently advertised on TV. Allstate is constantly coming out with new commercials bragging about this benefit, which sends a check to drivers who remain accident-free every six months. However, drivers must enroll in an eligible tier of Allstate’s Your Choice Auto Program, which comes at an extra cost and generally requires good credit and good driving history. Furthermore, the check is capped at a maximum of five percent of the paid premium during the policy-period, which would total about $25 for a $500 policy.
However, Allstate is not the only company that rewards safe drivers. Others offer similar benefits, such as insurance premiums that go down as you remain accident-free over time. Talk to an agent here at Wolfgram Insurance for more information about safe-driving coverage rewards.
Allstate also advertises another feature of its Your Choice Auto Program – Accident Forgiveness. With Accident Forgiveness, drivers will not be penalized for a first-time accident. Like the Bonus Check, you must pay extra for this benefit, but it could save you much more in surcharged premiums if you are in an accident.
Although Allstate is the primary advertiser of this benefit, several other insurers also extend similar benefits (usually at an additional cost). Integrity, Acuity, Nationwide, Travelers, The Hartford, Liberty Mutual, and Progressive are just a few examples of such insurers, although Integrity Insurance is known to offer accident forgiveness at no cost for eligible customers of five years or more.
Bundle and Save
Everyone likes extra savings. If you have a home and vehicle, Progressive wants to give you a discount for purchasing both lines of insurance coverage from them. Known as the Bundle-and-Save benefit, they have been advertising this discount for many years. However, nearly all insurance companies are willing to extend discounts to drivers who insure multiple vehicles or multiple lines of coverage.
Talk to your independent agent about the various types of insurance coverage you may need. While some companies stick to discounts for bundling auto with home or renter’s insurance, others may also offer discounts for additional coverage lines, such as RV and motorcycle insurance.
Name Your Price Tool
Finally, we come to the Name Your Price Tool, made famous by Progressive. This ‘tool’ is marketed heavily to drivers who are interested in saving as much money on car insurance as possible. Essentially, Progressive hands the policy over to the driver, allowing them to chip away at valuable coverage until they find a price they like.
The temptation to eliminate certain types of coverage in exchange for immediate savings can cause drivers to make poor decisions. The result is often a low premium attached to a bare-bones policy. Instead of taking your coverage into your own hands, choose to work with a professional, independent insurance agent here at Wolfgram Insurance who understands insurance and how it works to minimize your risks.
The bottom line is this: Always talk with your independent agent if you are interested in a particular insurance feature. Often, something that is heavily advertised from one insurer is also available in a similar form from another – and sometimes at a better value, too.