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Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Car Insurance?

October 7, 2011


You probably know about the basics of car insurance: you get a better rate for good driving and you pay more if you have an accident.  But today’s auto insurance policies offer a wider range of special discounts and benefits than ever before, and if you aren’t aware of them you could be missing out.  Did you know you could avoid paying an increased rate after your first accident?  Or that you could have your new car replaced without depreciation?  There are a wide variety of special options and benefits that can save you money and get you more value from your policy.

Accident Forgiveness.

Most people assume it’s a given that they will pay more on their insurance after an accident where they are found at fault.  But with the recent addition to some auto insurance policy known as “accident forgiveness”, you might not have to pay more.  Auto insurance companies offering this feature will generally allow you one accident – as long as it’s your first and you are already insured with the company when it happens – free of charge.  It means you will not see an increase in your rates for your first at fault accident.  Not all insurers offer this feature, so be sure to ask.

Waiver of Depreciation.

You bought that brand new car, and had an accident not long after.  Now you are facing getting a settlement from the insurance company that won’t allow you to replace it with the same brand new car.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  While it’s true that a new car loses value the minute it drives off the lot, that doesn’t mean you can’t get another new car when it is written off in an accident or stolen.  The waiver of depreciation endorsement is an option you can add to your policy to ensure that if your new car is a total loss within one or sometimes two years of purchase, you will get a settlement that allows you to buy another brand new car, instead of only the depreciated value.

Discounts for Young Drivers.

Young drivers are expensive to insure, there is no way around that.  But when your young driver takes an approved safety course, you could see a discount in the premiums.  Learning to drive takes time, but taking one of the safety courses available for young drivers today can help them to improve their skills and become safer drivers.  Insurance companies acknowledge this with special discounts.

Some insurance companies also offer a discount for good students.  Bring in that report card for a discount on your teen’s auto insurance!  Ask your insurance company what sort of programs and discounts they offer to young drivers.

Eco-Friendly Savings.

Thinking about buying a hybrid?  Check with your insurance company to find out if they offer a discount to people who choose an eco-friendly mode of transportation.  Many insurance companies will offer lower rates as an incentive to drive a hybrid or other green vehicle.  In some cases, all that is required is a certain fuel efficiency rating to get a discount, so even if you don’t buy a hybrid there could still be a lower rate for your earth-friendly car!  You will be saving some green on both fronts.

Roadside Assistance.

Many auto insurance companies offer a roadside assistance plan for considerably cheaper than keeping a CAA membership.  It includes towing, removing locked keys and assistance with flat tires among other services.  Adding this to your policy could save you a lot of money if you find yourself broken down on the side of the road.  The charge is usually nominal, but in many cases you need to add this to your policy, it might not be included automatically.  Some policies do include it at no additional charge, so check before you pay for towing or other roadside help.

Safety Saves Money.

There are a number of safety features on your car that can save you money on your policy.  Some insurance companies offer a discount for having a car security system installed to help prevent theft.  Others will give a discount for using winter tires.  Make sure your insurance company knows about all of the safety features on your car, you never know what kind of discount could be available.  If you add after-market options that make your car safer, call your insurance company to notify them and check for discounts.

Insurance companies today are more competitive than ever and are introducing new discounts and incentives to earn and keep your business.  But unless you make sure you are getting the most out of your policy, you may never know how much you could be saving.  Ask your current insurance company about these and other possible discounts and features, and be sure to ask when you are shopping around for quotes as well.