Auto Insurance Questions And Answers – Free Tips And Information

How can you lower your car insurance premium? Can young drivers find affordable auto insurance? Does buying property and casualty coverage from the same company save money? You have questions about your coverage and we have answers. Whether its finding the cheapest rates, the best collision and comprehensive deductibles, or lowest down-payment, we help you get the most for your dollar. With more than four decades of assisting drivers,  we help consumers learn how to save money, and understand their policy.


Does Car Insurance Cost More If You Don't Have Previous Coverage?

Yes. Since you are driving without required liability (and perhaps collision and comprehensive) coverage, you are breaking the law and subject to possible fines and license suspension. Multiple offenses result in more severe penalties. Major violations will have a larger impact on your premium. Also, most research indicates that uninsured drivers are more likely to cause accidents and property damage than covered drivers.

And typically, a suspended license will not stop a determined driver to get back on the road. However, after multiple major violations, the penalties increase, and suspensions become much longer, and sometimes permanent.

How much higher are rates? There are many variables that can impact the price, but typically, you can expect to pay 35%-75% more than the standard rate. As you continue to drive with compliant coverage, your rate should gradually reduce. Excellent credit and completion of a defensive-driver course will also lower the premium. Special Senior discounts are offered by most carriers, and limiting your mileage can also provide substantial savings.

Completion of driver-safety programs and installation of driver-monitoring systems can also provide savings. Many Senior discounts are offered, including safe-driving courses from AARP. Hartford and other carriers offer similar reductions, and local resources may be available for limited savings. Online programs along with limited virtual classes are offered in many areas.


Is It More Expensive To Insure A Leased Vehicle Instead Of Buying The Same Vehicle?

No. The cost of the policy, assuming all coverage is identical, is the same. Regardless if you have a Toyota, Chevrolet, Honda, Ford, or Nissan, leasing will not raise the cost of the policy. However, since the minimum allowed  leasing liability limits are typically $100,000 per person, and $300,000 per accident, if your current limits are lower, they will need to be increased. Also, the maximum allowed collision and comprehensive deductibles are often $500. For luxury vehicles, the maximum is often raised to $1,000 or $2,500.

Gap coverage is encouraged to protect against a total loss, although if a down-payment is made, the coverage may not be needed. Many new leases feature no down payment. Thus, an accident early in the lease period that results in a total loss may cost hundreds (or thousands) of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses. Heavy mileage use won't impact the stated residual value, but it may eliminate the possibility of selling the car for a profit at the end of the lease term.

Typically, financing the vehicle for 36 or 48 months after the lease termination is cost-effective. Since the vehicle has already been driven for 2-3 years, financing a vehicle for an extended period of time is not a popular option.


How Often Should You Shop And Compare Rates?

Typically, every 2-4 years. It's always a good idea to compare your current premium with two or three other carriers. Our website makes it easy to instantly compare multiple company rates and coverage. You can also contact each insurer separately, although the process would take much longer. It is possible that your existing company may offer the best options, especially if you have other property and casualty products with them.

Also, whenever you change vehicles, add or subtract drivers, or purchase or buy a primary residence or rental property, new quotes should be obtained from multiple carriers. Our website simplifies that process so your information only has to be provided one time. If any driver retires or changes driving habits, current quotes should be obtained.


How Quickly Can You Get A Free Car Insurance Quote?

When utilizing our website, typically, it takes less than five minutes. Rates are always current, and it's easy to view prices from multiple companies. Your zip code is required along with some additional basic information. If you want to apply for coverage, the online process is also very quick. Once your policy is active, changes to vehicles and drivers can be made quickly online or via the telephone.

You can also update or change the billing mode, liability limits, and deductibles. Commercial quotes are available for small businesses, and large companies that need fleet benefits can also view rates from many companies. Payroll-deduction options are very common through large employers.


Car Insurance Information And Answers

The Chevrolet Spark Features Low Insurance Rates


Which Vehicles Are The Cheapest To Insure?

Naturally, the least expensive cars tend to cost less to cover, although there are exceptions. And of course, older vehicles, assuming the same make and model, will be cheaper than the new models. Several low-cost options include: Nissan Versa, Chevrolet Spark, Huandai Accent, Mitsubishi Mirage, Kia Rio, Ford Fiesta, Smart Fortwo, Toyota Yaris, Chevrolet Sonic, Kia Soul, Honda Fit, and Kia Forte. Small and mid-size SUVs also typically have competitive pricing. Luxury and high-performance vehicles are the most costly to insure. Antique and classic automobiles should be insured for their appraised value. A new appraisal is often required every five years.


Can Anybody Be Covered On A Policy?

No. Typically, only family members that are residing at your residence can be listed as covered drivers. And of course, these drivers must have a valid driver's license. If any of the family members have their own coverage, then you should not be charged  an extra premium. However, proof of coverage may be required to ensure you are not paying a higher premium. A current declarations page will typically suffice. The document can be sent via mail or emailed. Any updates or changes in coverage or drivers will generate a new declarations page.


As My Car Gets Older, The Rate Doesn't Always Reduce. Sometimes, It Goes Up. Why?

As your car (or truck) gets older, the market value depreciates, and it's natural to assume that the premium reduces. But actually, only part of the premium goes down. Other components of your rate include the cost of repair (including materials, parts, and hourly wage), the value of other vehicles on the road, the cost of litigation and the chances of a lawsuit being filed, and the cost of healthcare benefits, if medical expenses are to be paid.

As newer vehicles replace older vehicles, the average cost of property damage increases, which, along with the other previously-mentioned factors, offsets the savings from your car depreciating. Purchasing used vehicles can help keep your premiums fairly low. However, the increased repair cost may exceed the car insurance savings. This is one reason why 36-month leases have become more popular. The standard 36-month lease is covered by the factory warranty during the entire time the owner drives the vehicle. 39-month and 48-month leases may leave a gap in warranty benefits.


I Drive For Uber. How Is My Car Insurance Affected?

Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing companies typically provide their drivers up to $1 million of liability and uninsured motorists coverage. The benefits begin after the passenger has been picked up. With some companies, coverage can extend  to before and after the ride requests. Commercial coverage may not be needed, depending on the carrier that is insuring the vehicle. When the app is turned off, the Uber driver's private coverage becomes effective again. Note: several states have enacted specific legislation regarding ride-sharing company requirements. Additional states have pending legislation.


If I Move To A Different State, Can I Keep The Same Policy?

Generally, when you move to a different state, the policy will need to be reissued, since your rating and service area is changing, and, state minimum liability limits will also likely be different. Prices will change, especially if you are moving from a suburban area to an urban area or vice verse. Additional coverage may be required (PIP benefits) if your new location is a no-fault state. It's also possible that your existing carrier offered extremely competitive rates in your prior state, but has very high pricing in the new state.


Should My Auto And Home Be Insured By The Same Company?

Although a multi-policy discount generally offers a 10%-20% discount on your auto and home, if covered by the same carrier, in most situations, you pay less by using two different companies. This is because it is unusual for a single carrier to offer the most competitive property AND casualty products in a specific zip code or county.  For example, State Farm, Erie, or Progressive may be your best options for your vehicles, and Farmers or Allstate may feature the best prices for your primary home and investment properties.

Motor homes, mobile homes, and RVS can often be covered by the same carrier that insures your private automobiles. The rate, however, may not be competitive. Customers that insure many ancillary products may be able to save more money by utilizing multiple insurers. Commercial coverage, however, is generally underwritten through separate carriers.


Older Vehicles With Liability Only

Classic And Antique Vehicles Can Be Insured For Their Appraised Value


When Is The Best Time To Take Collision Coverage Off A Vehicle?

Once a car or truck is no longer financed, you may delete the collision and comprehensive coverage. Of course, liability coverage is mandatory and must remain as long as you are driving the vehicle. If the semi-annual cost of collision benefits is nominal, and the market value of the vehicle is fairly significant, then no changes should be made.

Antique and classic automobiles can be insured for their appraised value.  An official appraisal  will be required by your present carrier, and an updated appraisal may be required every five years. Typically, the value will increase slightly each year. Inside garaging is typically required, and an alarm system may slightly reduce the cost of coverage.

Whether your state is "no-fault," may also be a factor.  Since the cost of keeping physical damage coverage to your vehicle is more than the cost of fire, theft, glass breakage, and vandalism, you can retain comprehensive and remove collision coverage. Several states (including Michigan) have changed from "no-fault" to "fault"

Note: "Gap" coverage is different than collision coverage. A Gap rider provides protection against a vehicle that rapidly depreciates, and at the time of a total loss, is worth less than what is owed to the finance company. Typically, the rider is purchased when little or no down-payment is made at the time the car or truck is purchased.


If Our Child Buys A New Vehicle, Should The Title Be In Their Name?

Although you have a choice of title owner, generally, it is advantageous and more economical to title the vehicle in a parent's name. Why? You'll retain valuable discounts, including multi-policy, multi-car, home-ownership, loyalty, and perhaps several others.  Also, if multiple at-fault accidents or moving violations occur, you are less likely to be cancelled.

Typically, a good time to title the vehicle in Junior's name is when they move out of the household. If they have a major violation on their driving record (DUI or DWI), the premium is likely to double or triple. Affordable auto insurance rates for teenagers  are available, but it requires a bit more shopping than finding coverage for adult drivers.


Who Is More Popular? Progressive's Flo, or the Geico Gecko?

Sorry Flo, but, we believe the Geico Gecko has passed you, and taken the top spot in the insurance company spokesman category. The Geico cavemen earn an honorable mention award. MetLife's Snoopy used to be a big player, but the popular dog is now retired.


At What Age Should You Not Consider Changing To Another Company?

Although there is no specific age where it is prohibited to change, generally, once you reach age 70, it is not recommended that you change carriers. Why? If an at-fault accident occurs, or several moving violations, the risk of cancellation or non-renewal (if allowed in the state) substantially increases.


Should You File A police Report After An Accident?

Filing a police report is always a good idea, especially if the accident is not your fault. Details can be easily documented and photos of damaged vehicles will help in the claims process. The police should be contacted immediately, and before the other party leaves the scene. Several states require notifying law enforcement.

Small accidents should also be reported, since bodily injury can occur with low-impact collisions. Additional injuries can also be discovered days (or weeks) after the date of the accident. Statements can often change, so it's important to obtain a police report as quickly as possible. Accurate crash reports are critical if there is litigation.


What Happens If I Lend My Vehicle To A Friend And They Have An Accident?

Typically, insurance "follow the vehicle." Thus, your policy will cover the damage resulting from the accident. However, if there was no collision coverage on the vehicle, damages to your car will not be covered. If collision coverage is present, the deductible will apply before the claim is paid. The driver is not legally obligated to pay the deductible of the owner's policy.

Liability benefits are also provided by the vehicle's policy. If the policy liability limits are not enough to pay for property damage or litigation, the driver's policy may be able to cover the excess, if that policy's limits were higher than the owner's policy limits. A surcharge is likely on the owner's policy, even though the driver may not reside in the household.