If you feel ambushed by insurance commercials every time you turn on the TV or radio, you aren’t alone. Insurance companies spend billions of dollars on advertising every year, most of them hoping to entertain you with over-the-top personalities or mascots designed to attract your attention. At the core of these commercials, however, are the features each company advertises – some of which may be much more complex or even widely available than is initially let on. In this two-part post, we’ll explore advertised insurance features and what they mean for you.
We’ll start off our post with an advertised feature called the Discount Double-Check. Advertised by State Farm, this is a service – not a particular type of coverage or benefit. State Farm claims that its agents could save you up to 40 percent just by double-checking for discounts. They offer many of the same discounts other insurance companies do, from good student discounts to safe vehicle discounts. The only difference is they claim to ‘double-check’ to make sure you get all the discounts you deserve.
In reality, any agent could do the same thing whether he or she works for State Farm or not. A real advantage comes when it is an independent agent who is doing the double-checking – not a captive agent. An independent agent can search and compare various discounts from multiple insurers to determine which ones result in the greatest value for your coverage.
Next, we have GAP coverage which is designed to pay off any loan balance you have after insurance reimburses you for the cash value of your totaled car. Generally, lienholders require full payment of your loan if the collateral for that loan (your car) is destroyed. If your insurance settlement is not enough to cover the balance, GAP protection can fill in the difference. Without it, you could be stuck paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars out of pocket.
If you plan to finance a vehicle without a big down-payment, you probably need GAP insurance. You could purchase it from a dealer or lender, who will usually want several years of premiums upfront, or you could add it to your car insurance and pay for it only as long as you actually need it.
Bundle and Save
Bundle your coverage and save money. That’s just one of the messages Progressive spends millions of dollars wanting you to see. If you already have auto insurance with the company, you could qualify for additional discounts by also purchasing home, condo, townhome or renters coverage with them, too. What the commercials conveniently omit, however, is that most other insurance companies offer bundling discounts, also. In fact, some may even extend discounts to recreational vehicles like RVs and motorcycles.
If you do happen to have an accident despite practicing safe driving habits, why should you have to pay higher car insurance premiums? After all, isn’t that what insurance is for? In reality, insurance companies have the right to overlook years of safe driving, taking a single accident as an indication of your risk of filing future claims. With Accident Forgiveness, however, your insurance rates will not go up just because of a first-time accident.
Allstate is the primary advertiser of Accident Forgiveness, but there are actually several different insurance companies that provide similar benefits. The Hartford, Acuity, Progressive, and Liberty Mutual are just a few examples, as well as Integrity Insurance, which provides accident forgiveness to some drivers free of charge after five years.
Continue reading part two of our post Advertised Insurance Features.