This is a guest post from Andrew Royster, the President of Andrew Royster Insurance Agency. I asked him if he would mind writing an article for A Frugal Chick about how to save on your insurance without compromising your coverage. I think it’s a VERY confusing topic but with everyone looking to cut back on expenses right now, knowing everything you can about your insurance makes sense!
Across the country, people continue to look for ways to stretch their budgets and cut costs. But when trying to cut costs on auto insurance, consumers should be wary of making penny wise, pound foolish decisions that could put them at risk financially.
In a rush to save money, be careful not to cut corners in areas that help protect you and your family. Although it is important to save money in the short-term, you could find yourself unable to pay for your auto repairs or for liabilities to others in the case of an accident. Since insurance is designed to help protect consumers against the unknown, it can be difficult to know how much protection is needed.
Here are some pointers to keep yourself protected while still saving money:
1. Slow down. Drivers who have had accidents or serious traffic violations usually pay more than those with clean driving records, so consider safe driving a financial investment (for example with Allstate’s safe driving discount, safe drivers can save up to 20 percent.)
2. Buy the right car. A car’s value, age, safety record and repair costs, as well as the likelihood that it could get stolen, all help determine insurance premiums. Also, certain car features may generate insurance savings. For example in most states, a car equipped with factory-installed anti-lock brakes can save you up to 10%, and airbags or motorized seatbelts could reduce your premium up to 30 percent. A brand-new, never-been-titled car could reduce your premium by 5-20 percent, depending on the state and model-year of a vehicle. (Note from Laura – I am leaving this in because it is true information but one day I will probably write a post about how I think you should never buy a brand new car. Make sure to consider the depreciation and interest rate if you are not paying cash.)
3. Pay your bill through automatic withdrawal. Many insurance companies offer payment choices through automatic withdrawal. (For example the Allstate® Easy Pay Plan offers automatic withdrawal from a person’s account and may provide a discount of up to 5% on premium, depending on the state.)
4. Study hard. In most states, full-time students who meet GPA requirements could save on auto insurance premiums with a discount of 10-20 percent.
Five things to think twice about:
1. Your deductible. The higher the deductible, the lower the premium; however, you should make sure you can afford to pay your deductible if you have an accident. Raising a deductible higher than you can afford could prevent you from being able to fully repair your car after an accident.
2. Your liability limits. If you’re at fault in an accident, you could be held legally responsible for the medical and repair costs of others. Liability coverage can help protect policyholders from these potentially devastating expenses.
3. Uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage can protect you if you are injured in an auto accident caused by someone with no insurance. A recent report by the Insurance Research Council predicts that the percentage of uninsured motorists will increase nationally from 13.8 in 2007 to 16.1 percent in 2010. Consumers should review their auto insurance policies to ensure they have the coverage amounts they need.
4. Personal injury or medical payments coverage. Accidents are never planned, but planning ahead with the right insurance coverage can make a huge difference following an accident with injury. Medical Payments coverage helps pay for medical treatment for accident-related injuries. Personal Injury Protection helps reimburse people for lost income, child care expenses, medical expenses, and other costs that may result from accident injuries. Check with your local agent to find out which of these coverages are offered in your state.
5. Comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive coverage helps protect cars in situations that don’t necessarily involve other drivers or vehicles such as damage from a storm or natural disaster, vandalism, or even a falling tree. Since policies typically cap coverage at the actual cash value of the car, the older your car is, the more you might consider dropping this coverage.
Okay back to Laura from here on out:
I thought Andrew did a great job laying out some money saving tips on insurance. I have learned a few things from reading this and will be pulling my policy up online to review it. Oh but wait… I don’t have to!
Currently, the Andrew Royster Insurance Agency is offering A Frugal Chick readers – Allstate customers or not – a free review of their current insurance limits and deductibles through the “Good Hands Coverage Check-up.” They will take the time to review everything with you and suggest where you may need more or less coverage. You can contact them through their facebook page or find their contact information here. I hope you will take advantage of this great opportunity.
So now onto the Give Away! Andrew has given me a $25 Barnes and Noble Gift Card to give to one lucky reader. You can enter up to 3 times using each of these methods:
1- Leave a comment on this post telling me the last time you reviewed your car insurance and how much money you saved!
2- Like “The Andrew Royster Insurance Agency” on facebook. Then leave a comment on this post telling me you did!
3- Like “A Frugal Chick” on facebook. Then leave a comment on this post telling me you did!
This contest will continue until May 11th at noon. Then I will pick the winner using random.org. Once the winner has been selected I will e-mail them and as long as I hear back within 24 hours they will receive the $25 Barnes and Noble card!