Roving for Auto Insurance

What have I been looking for with auto insurance?  Basically lower auto insurance, but higher coverage.  I want to get an umbrella policy in the future.  Also wanted a bulk discount so I priced home insurance out.  Everyone basically came out the same.  I also wanted a company that wouldn’t bs me too much and not cause me heartache.  That’s why the ratings were important to me.  Hope this helps you when searching for auto insurance.

Summary/Tips

  • Price out insurance every 2 years.  Rates change, violations roll off, etc.
  • Go with the higher collision deductible, lower comprehensive deductible.   That was for my case, could be different.
  • Amica, USAA and Erie seemed to be the favorite insurers.
  • Don’t be afraid to switch companies and shop around.  Or even call your existing insurer to reprice.

I’ve been with Liberty Mutual for awhile now and always thought I was paying ridiculous rates.  Well finally, I decided to do something about it and shop around.   I surfed around on various forums on auto insurance to refresh my memory on what I should be looking for.  Things I was trying to figure out were what companies should I be looking for, what kinds of premiums I should be getting, the ratings for various insurers and the types of coverage I needed.

Types of Coverage

Now that I look back at the coverage I used to have, it was pretty low.  And although it was low, my premium was high and understanding deductibles made it clear to me why that is the case.  Let’s talk coverage first.  I used to have a 100/300/100 coverage – which means that if I was in an accident, I would be covered for bodily-injury liability claims up to 100k per person in an accident up to a max of 300k for the accident.  The 3rd number there is for property damage, so again, if I was at fault for an accident, then my coverage for property damage such as the car or anything else I hit like.. say, a house… would be covered up to 100k.  So the story there is don’t hit a house or a Ferrari.  And if you are going to – then look into having an umbrella policy when you do it.  I bumped my coverage up to 250/500/100 in preparation for an umbrella policy.  That’s typically the minimum in order to qualify for an umbrella.  I kept the same for Uninsured Motorist coverage – which covers you in the event that you are in an accident with someone who doesn’t have enough insurance to cover the bills or is even uninsured.

Medical expense I didn’t spend much time researching and did 5k.  Income loss I declined because I’m assuming my short-term disability would cover me there.  Perhaps I should check.

On to the collision and comprehensive coverage.  As opposed to the liability coverage, these are the coverages on your own vehicle.  Here, the numbers to look at are the collision and the comprehensive (“other than collision”) deductibles.  Collision covers you for just that – an accident involving another car or crashing into a tree.  Comprehensive covers accidents such as a deer hitting or theft or a rock shattering your windshield.  So in deciding what coverages to take – I decided that collision repairs will be far more expensive and typically you want to take as high a deductible as you can afford out of pocket.  I feel like if I’m in an accident, I can cover up to $1000 so that’s what I chose as my deductible.  Plus collision claims really affect your insurance, thus why most people try to avoid filing claims.  For comprehensive, you would think similarly however the price difference in lowering your deductible is much less than if you were to lower it for collision.  Also, according to a few agents I’ve spoken to, comprehensive claims don’t count as significantly towards your insurance premium – obviously don’t abuse it but don’t be afraid of it either.  Finally, the cost to repair something for comprehensive – say a broken windshield – may be more than paying for the lower deductible anyways, so why not use that insurance.  Here, I went with $100 deductible – and it worked out that I would need to be claim free for about 2.5 years to start seeing the benefit of a higher deductible on my premium vs say a $50 deductible.  In other words, I’ll pay $25 for example on my $100 deductible vs $50 on my $50 deductible.  After 2 years I’m ahead on my $100 deductible policy.  Many claims within 2 years, I’m screwed.  You get the point.

Suggested companies/Ratings

Now that I picked the coverages, who should I go with?  I searched around and found a few links.  In reading, there were bound to be people that were happy and unhappy with a particular insurer.  I did find that some of the top ones were Amica, USAA (only for military and relatives), Erie Insurance, and Wawanesa (in California) also seemed to be popular.  Those findings were backed up by a JD Powers auto insurer ratings link that I had previously posted.  Geico came out cheap to and seems to work for many people.  Ameriprise comes out cheap also but they seem to have a tendency to jack prices up after the first year.  I’m currently with Liberty Mutual and will be with them for a little bit until a claim is closed and an accident rolls off my record.  But when I do, I’m going Erie or Amica.  Amica can come out more expensive than most – but it didn’t turn out that way when I was just pricing it out.  But again, my accident is really hurting me so I just have to wait it out.  I took notes on people’s opinions of various companies so if you want more – just let me know in comments and I’ll try to back it up.

Miscellaenous Thoughts

My insurance is going to get so much better in a few years.  Most insurers charge for accidents/violations within the last 3 years, meaning the premiums will be higher.  After 5 years, they can start giving you the discounts, like safe driver discounts, preferred/platinum statuses.  So once my wife’s accident comes past 3 years next year, my insurance apparently will go down by 300 a year.

Don’t be afraid to switch companies.  It’s not always good to stay with the same company in the hopes that your loyalty to them will lower your rates.

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply