Insurance advertising is a billion-dollar industry, all aimed at capturing as much of the market share as possible. Nearly everyone needs insurance, and each company wants its piece of the pie. As a consumer, however, it’s easy to feel ambushed by all of the companies promoting different features, discounts, and benefits. In this post, we hope to spotlight some of the most frequently advertised insurance features and help you better understand what they could mean for you.
New Car Replacement
As the proud owner of a brand new car, you cannot fathom totaling it in a collision. If the unexpected does happen, though, how much will the insurance company pay for your loss? In most cases, the insurance settlement is less than the price paid for the car. That means you could come up short of the cash needed to replace your vehicle with another one just like it. Instead of downgrading or digging deeper into your pockets for the cash, New Car Replacement coverage promises the insurance company will replace your totaled vehicle with another one just like it.
Several insurance companies offer New Car Replacement, and some even offer ‘better’ car replacement for used vehicles. Liberty Mutual is perhaps the most well-known for this feature due to the frequent commercials they run. Under their New Car Replacement coverage, eligible vehicles must be less than one year old and have fewer than 15,000 miles. However, other companies may have better terms. Travelers Insurance, for example, offers Premier New Car Replacement coverage that lasts for up to five years of ownership.
There are many Allstate commercials on TV, but one specific campaign is aimed at promoting Accident Forgiveness. This feature may be of specific interest to drivers who know how quickly insurance rates can rise after an accident – in some cases as much as 40 percent or more. Drivers with this coverage will not see their premiums rise because of a first-time accident.
It is worth noting that Accident Forgiveness is not necessarily available to all drivers. Allstate tends to offer it to low-risk drivers with a clean driving history and a good credit score. Furthermore, the coverage comes at an additional cost for those who are eligible for it.
If you would feel more confident knowing you would not be penalized for an accident, Accident Forgiveness may be right for you. However, be sure to explore your options, as there are actually several different insurers offering similar benefits. Acuity, Progressive, The Hartford, and Nationwide are just a few examples, and Integrity Insurance even offers it for free to certain drivers after five years.
GAP protection is not advertised as much as other insurance features, but it is still an important, but often misunderstood coverage. It is important because it can save you thousands of dollars by paying the difference between the value of your insurance settlement and the actual balance of your car loan. It is misunderstood because many drivers purchase GAP protection for the life of a car loan when they really only need it until the loan balance is less than the car’s valuation.
Instead of paying hundreds of dollars in upfront premiums for coverage sold by a lender or car dealership, talk to an independent agent about adding GAP protection to your policy instead. This way, you pay for the coverage for as long as you need it and can drop it when you don’t.
We’ll round out part one with the Liberty Mutual commercials advertising a feature called Roadside Assistance. With this optional coverage, drivers can call for assistance anytime of the day or night when they experience a breakdown, flat tire, or some other covered event that requires roadside help. One commercial shows a teen driver stuck late at night and unsure of what to do. The intent is to advertise this coverage as beneficial for policy-holders who wish to protect themselves or other drivers on their policy against vulnerable situations. However, Liberty Mutual is not the only company that offers Roadside Assistance. In reality, nearly all insurers offer some version of this coverage if you ask for it.
Safe Driving Bonus Check
It feels good to be acknowledged for hard work and doing the right thing. Safe driving habits prevent accidents, which prevents claims and saves insurance companies money. To reward you, many insurance companies offer safe driving discounts and other benefits. Allstate, on the other hand, provides a safe driver bonus for every six months you are accident-free. The bonus is typically worth up to five percent of the premiums paid during the policy period, and drivers can elect to receive the money in the form of a Safe Driving Bonus Check.
There is a catch, though. Safe Driving Bonus Checks are only available to eligible drivers who pay extra to enroll in Allstate’s Your Choice Auto Program. To qualify, policy-holders typically need good credit and a clean driving history. Even then, only those who remain accident-free qualify for the bonus at the end of each policy period. Should you need to use your insurance to file an accident claim, you forfeit the bonus despite having paid extra to enroll in the Your Choice Auto Program, to begin with.
If you are a safe driver, we here at Heinen Insurance believe you should be acknowledged. However, many different companies are willing to reward you for being accident-free, whether in the form of a safe driver discount or premiums and deductibles that become smaller over time. Give us a call to learn more about your options.
The Discount Double-Check is the star of many State Farm commercials promising the company’s agents will double-check for every possible discount to get you the savings you deserve. However, any other insurance agent can do the same thing – and probably should, anyway. Whereas State Farm agents can only search for discounts from State Farm, an independent agent can compare discounts and how they affect premiums from many different insurers, which could further increase your savings.
Bundle and Save
If you have a car to insure, chances are you have other things to insure, too. Progressive’s Bundle and Save commercials advertise special discounts for drivers who purchase their home, renters, condo, or townhome insurance from the company, too. Of course, nearly all insurance companies are willing to provide discounts for drivers who bundle coverage. By obtaining more of your business, insurers can afford to offer additional savings. Some may even extend the discounts to cover other lines, such as RV and motorcycle insurance.
Name Your Price Tool
Finally, we come to the Name Your Price Tool from Progressive. This one has been around a long time and remains due to its popularity. Commercials suggest you can ‘personalize’ your coverage with the tool to get a price that fits your needs and budget. The truth is this tool is marketed to drivers who prioritize price over coverage. The ability to adjust coverage to lower limits or eliminate certain coverage could put a driver at risk of being dangerously under-insured.
At Heinen Insurance, we believe providing you with complete insurance solutions is just as important as delivering a great value. Next time you are in the market for insurance, skip the gimmicks and go straight to an independent agent who can explain your coverage options and match you with an affordable policy without jeopardizing your coverage.