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Please school me on Auto Insurance

MetroidZoidMetroidZoid Registered User regular
My current plan, one that's been in renewal since I lived with my parents, is expiring, and I want to shop around. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, much if any interaction with a physical agent is going to be limited. And I've talked to people who were happy shopping online as well. That's question one, am I going down a wrong path in that manner?

On all other things, my issue is that I need cheap. Expenditures, what with having to find a new place on my own, are exceedingly limited. I've also been a very safe driver (27, no accidents or tickets in the 9 years I've been driving, and always in Oregon if it matters). So, while I'd love to have ideal coverage, the reality is my truck is not worth that much ('96 Chevy s-10), and I'm under the impression that minimum is OK.

Wrong again? What can I skimp on, what's seriously important? If it also matters, I have health insurance through school, so I'm less concerned with medical costs I noticed when shopping Geico this morning. Please help H/A, these are a lot of numbers floating around and I'm scared of zeroes!
-Jordan

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Posts

  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    I have had wonderful experience with Amica, but I don't know where you are and I don't think they are available in every state.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    edited May 2014
    Seconded.

    Or rates have gone down every year and they were fine when someone rear-ended me. The girl had some 3rd rate insurance, the kind that only does print ads, and Amica got them to pay for all repairs plus rental.

    Edit: Seems to be available in Oregon.

    MichaelLC on
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  • wonderpugwonderpug Registered User regular
    My current plan, one that's been in renewal since I lived with my parents, is expiring, and I want to shop around. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, much if any interaction with a physical agent is going to be limited. And I've talked to people who were happy shopping online as well. That's question one, am I going down a wrong path in that manner?

    On all other things, my issue is that I need cheap. Expenditures, what with having to find a new place on my own, are exceedingly limited. I've also been a very safe driver (27, no accidents or tickets in the 9 years I've been driving, and always in Oregon if it matters). So, while I'd love to have ideal coverage, the reality is my truck is not worth that much ('96 Chevy s-10), and I'm under the impression that minimum is OK.

    Wrong again? What can I skimp on, what's seriously important? If it also matters, I have health insurance through school, so I'm less concerned with medical costs I noticed when shopping Geico this morning. Please help H/A, these are a lot of numbers floating around and I'm scared of zeroes!
    -Jordan

    The only place you can really skimp (because you have an old car you don't care about) is with "collision coverage." This covers damage done to your vehicle in an accident. If you're ok with just throwing your truck into a trash can if it gets totaled (or entirely paying for repairs yourself after an accident), you can drop this way down. There's also sometimes "comprehensive physical damage coverage" which covers things like theft or a tree falling on your car. If a tree falling and smashing your truck would just evoke a "meh, I'll buy something else", you can lower this as well.

    Having great health insurance is super duper, but what if you get into a crash and a passenger of yours gets seriously hurt? Your "medical payments coverage" would save you if your passenger got hurt and had no insurance.

    "Bodily injury liability" and "liability coverage" protects you if you hurt another person or their property (e.g., their car). Try not to skimp here, because now you're talking about paying for someone else's medical bills and Mercedes repairs, rather than your own bills and Chevy repairs.

    As for where to go, online places are fine. I used GEICO for a while and they seemed great. The key thing to look for in an insurance company (aside from price) is how satisfied customers are when they actually have to file a claim. I had my garage door fall on my car which smashed the windshield and caved the roof in, and the process with GEICO to fix everything was easy and painless.

    schussmcdermottzerzhulShadowfire
  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    Yeah I have used GEICO since 2006. I have no idea if they are price competitive in my area, because I've never had a reason to go look at a different company. Only had to file two non-glass claims in that time period, and both were totally painless. Also their phone based customer service is top notch. I originally signed up for the service at 3am while on a conference call with my wife while she was in a different state, easy peasy.

  • ZomroZomro Registered User regular
    wonderpug wrote: »
    My current plan, one that's been in renewal since I lived with my parents, is expiring, and I want to shop around. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, much if any interaction with a physical agent is going to be limited. And I've talked to people who were happy shopping online as well. That's question one, am I going down a wrong path in that manner?

    On all other things, my issue is that I need cheap. Expenditures, what with having to find a new place on my own, are exceedingly limited. I've also been a very safe driver (27, no accidents or tickets in the 9 years I've been driving, and always in Oregon if it matters). So, while I'd love to have ideal coverage, the reality is my truck is not worth that much ('96 Chevy s-10), and I'm under the impression that minimum is OK.

    Wrong again? What can I skimp on, what's seriously important? If it also matters, I have health insurance through school, so I'm less concerned with medical costs I noticed when shopping Geico this morning. Please help H/A, these are a lot of numbers floating around and I'm scared of zeroes!
    -Jordan

    The only place you can really skimp (because you have an old car you don't care about) is with "collision coverage." This covers damage done to your vehicle in an accident. If you're ok with just throwing your truck into a trash can if it gets totaled (or entirely paying for repairs yourself after an accident), you can drop this way down. There's also sometimes "comprehensive physical damage coverage" which covers things like theft or a tree falling on your car. If a tree falling and smashing your truck would just evoke a "meh, I'll buy something else", you can lower this as well.

    Having great health insurance is super duper, but what if you get into a crash and a passenger of yours gets seriously hurt? Your "medical payments coverage" would save you if your passenger got hurt and had no insurance.

    "Bodily injury liability" and "liability coverage" protects you if you hurt another person or their property (e.g., their car). Try not to skimp here, because now you're talking about paying for someone else's medical bills and Mercedes repairs, rather than your own bills and Chevy repairs.

    As for where to go, online places are fine. I used GEICO for a while and they seemed great. The key thing to look for in an insurance company (aside from price) is how satisfied customers are when they actually have to file a claim. I had my garage door fall on my car which smashed the windshield and caved the roof in, and the process with GEICO to fix everything was easy and painless.

    This is good info, here. Easiest way to save on your insurance is to have a high deductible for collision coverage, or no collision coverage at all. If you have a loan on your car, or are leasing it, you are required to have a minimum amount of collision coverage on it.

    Comprehensive, or all but collision, coverage will cover repairs for every thing that's not a car to car collision or collision with an inanimate object (telephone pole, tree) or upset of your vehicle (i.e. lose control and your car flips). Generally, the things that are out of your control (tree falls on it, vandalism, deer jumps out in front of you). You can save some money by leaving this off, but comprehensive coverage is quite cheap compared to collision. At the end of the day, the most common cause of damage to cars are collisions.

    Your real concern is your liability coverage, which as wonderpug detailed, is coverage to pay for damage and injuries sustained by others when you're at fault in a traffic collision. It's, obviously, your choice on how much you want to get, but keep in mind that medical bills and repair costs get higher every year.

    If you're looking to get your own policy, I would start off by asking your parents for a copy of the current policy's declarations page. The dec page will show the current liabilify limits and collision / comprehensive deductibles for the cars on the policy (you just want yours). It will also show any medical coverages or other coverages (some optional, some required by your state). This is your baseline. Get a quote(s) from insurance companies with these same coverages and see what the premium comes out to. If it's too much, you can start removing lowering coverages to fit your budget.

    Double check your state's insurance requirements for vehicles. Some states require more minimum liability than others. If you're doing quotes with a nationally recognized company (Progressive, GEICO, State Farm, etc), they'll make sure you can't get less than you need. But, if you're working with less than reputable companies, you just want to make sure you're not getting less than is required. Not having ample coverage can mean a lot of things depending on your state. Fines, cancelling your registration, suspending your license. Some states will even mandate you carry higher minimums for a period of time (SR 22s or the dreaded FR 44). If you think insurance is expensive now, you don't want to see what it's like when your rates are higher and you have to pay the whole 6 month premium at once (some states mandate a company cannot cancel SR 22 coverage, even for nonpayment, so they're going to collect up front).

    Good luck, and I hope you get good coverage that fits your budget!

  • ThundyrkatzThundyrkatz Registered User regular
    slightly off topic. But if your getting your own place and your own insurance. Check into renters insurance with the same place you get yoru auto insurance. It is seriously just a few extra bucks a month on your premium and you should have it.

    schussbowenSoggybiscuitan_alt
  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    I'll keep my opinions of various companies out of this (I work for a major-market insurer), but if you have renters or homeowners, try to do both through the same company for discounts. Also - never be afraid to ask for a cheaper price, as you'll often get 10% off just by asking. Ask about additional discounts as well, as you can often pile them on due to stuff you already do, like belong to AAA or get good grades (as a student).

    wrong_button
  • SoggybiscuitSoggybiscuit At the edge of spacetime lies a path with no end.Registered User regular
    The easiest thing you can do to save some money on insurance is to pay biannually instead (that is every 6 months). You usually get a decent discount for doing so. I've been using Erie for a few years now and they let me pay annually so it's even easier.

    Steam - Synthetic Violence | XBOX Live - Cannonfuse | PSN - CastleBravo | Twitch - SoggybiscuitPA
  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    If your parents or grandparents are vets, get USAA. It is the single best automobile, renters or home owners insurance you can get. Better coverage, lower premiums and amazing customer service.

    If not shop around, esurance isn't bad, neither is geico or erie. If you need dirt cheap, go to the local places, that look like the building is old, they will cover you to the extent of the law, but don't expect much after that.

  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    esurance is just a rebrand of Allstate these days (though they're a slightly different SBU for them, which is odd and whatever). USAA and their people are great.
    Not much reason to not go with a major player these days given how competitive service and pricing is among everyone.

  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    schuss wrote: »
    esurance is just a rebrand of Allstate these days (though they're a slightly different SBU for them, which is odd and whatever). USAA and their people are great.
    Not much reason to not go with a major player these days given how competitive service and pricing is among everyone.
    They were 20 bucks a month cheaper than Allstate for me. Honestly Allstate and Farmers have always just been the most expensive insurance I could buy. By a significant margin.

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    They usually offer different kinds of benefits.

    Like you may see something like "safe driver discounts" on the slightly more expensive policies. But you end up paying for them. Maybe one offers more coverage, accident forgiveness, or a car replacement program.

    All things to keep in mind, it's not always about the bottom dollar they give you, but what you want from your insurance. Maybe you don't care for more coverage or safe driver, but you want the car replacement program. Enough that the extra $20 a month is worth it.

    Ladies.
  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    edited June 2014
    zepherin wrote: »
    schuss wrote: »
    esurance is just a rebrand of Allstate these days (though they're a slightly different SBU for them, which is odd and whatever). USAA and their people are great.
    Not much reason to not go with a major player these days given how competitive service and pricing is among everyone.
    They were 20 bucks a month cheaper than Allstate for me. Honestly Allstate and Farmers have always just been the most expensive insurance I could buy. By a significant margin.

    Branding and agent exposure esurance is wholly owned by allstate, so the coverage/adjusters etc. will be exactly the same. I believe esurance just doesn't have any money built in for independent agent spending, as it's direct-channel only (could be wrong though, not really my area).
    Let me note that I do not work for allstate/esurance. Bowen is correct though - it's not about who is cheapest, it is about who offers the features and coverage you want. Each company also have their own risk models that will price different factors differently. A company with better adjusters and shop networks will likely give better prices to people with accidents or higher risk factors (tickets etc.) as they're confident they can mitigate that cost more effectively than other companies.

    schuss on
    bowenzepherin
  • Reverend_ChaosReverend_Chaos Suit Up! Registered User regular
    Good info in here. I agree that you should look at the renters insurance. For most people the discount they get on the auto insurance ends up paying for the renters insurance.

    -Also, definitely get the Declarations page for your current coverage. Chances are you will need to prove that you are currently insured, and the insurance company wants to know what your current coverages are. You will *probably* want to keep it at whatever coverages you are set up with currently. Many insurance companies see changes in coverages when you switch as a red flag which could potentially up your rates. Also, set your new policy up in advance, some companies have discounts for you doing so. Ask about discounts if you set up EFT or automatic payments or paid in full dicsounts. It is also likely that your rate will vary based on how long you have been insured and how long with the current company. The longer you are with your current company (up to 5 years or greater) the lower your rates will typically be.

    “Think of me like Yoda, but instead of being little and green I wear suits and I'm awesome. I'm your bro—I'm Broda!”
  • CogCog Registered User regular
    edited June 2014
    Progressive are fucksticks who you will pay to defend the person who killed you in court, rather than pay out to your estate. So, don't give them any business if you can help it.

    Cog on
  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    Cog wrote: »
    Progressive are fucksticks who you will pay to defend the person who killed you in court, rather than pay out to your estate. So, don't give them any business if you can help it.
    Yeah progressive is pretty shitty on paying out claims. Farmers isn't too bad. Geiko is good on paying out on a claim, but they will use refurbished parts, so be careful of that. I haven't had a claim with allstate, so I have no idea. USAA, using their insurance for hail damage. They are just great.

  • ZomroZomro Registered User regular
    I worked for USAA for a while, and they really are great. If I was still eligible (only from employment, and I wasn't there long enough), I'd have my insurance with them.

    I would tell anyone who is serving, has served, or whose parents have served to check with them. They usually have really good rates, but even If they're not the cheapest they really care about their members.

  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    For the record, I have never had any issues with Progressive paying out on anything.

    As far as refurbished parts, very few companies are OEM-only. I know Geico isn't. USAA might be.

  • ASimPersonASimPerson Cold... ... and hard.Registered User regular
    schuss wrote: »
    For the record, I have never had any issues with Progressive paying out on anything.

    As far as refurbished parts, very few companies are OEM-only. I know Geico isn't. USAA might be.

    USAA isn't, I'd have to go back and look at the report if they recommended any new parts (other than for things were refurb makes no sense).

    But I've had them forever and they're otherwise easy to work with, but I've only ever had one claim.

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