Can you save 15 percent or more on car insurance? Can you call Progressive Insurance and tell them that you want a policy for $10? Esurance can quote you a rate in seven and a half minutes.
All this advertising makes you think that auto insurance is a commodity and all you need to worry about is the price and not the product.
When shopping for auto insurance, the most important thing is the coverage you need and can afford to protect your assets and the vehicle itself. If the vehicle is financed, you will need comprehensive and collision coverage to protect the lienholder interest in the vehicle. The deductible is up to you.
How much out of pocket can you afford if the car is damaged before the insurance payment kicks in? The higher the deductible, the lower the insurance premium. Even if the vehicle is not financed, you might decide to carry physical damage coverage, because it is less expensive then what you may have to spend if the vehicle is involved in a serious accident.
Liability coverage is required in Georgia. The minimum limit is $25,000/$50,000 bodily injury liability. You would select this limit if you did not have any assets, or if it was all you could afford. If you had other assets such as a home, you certainly would want to select a higher liability limit, at least $100,000/$300,000. Remember this coverage protects you in the event you are at fault in an accident and the other party files for damages against your insurance company. Unfortunately, even a minor fender bender can result in an ambulance being called to the scene due to alleged injuries.
Property damage liability covers the other car in an at fault accident. The required minimum limit for this coverage is $25,000. This is one coverage many customers actually carry too high a limit. A vehicle has a fixed cost, not one that is negotiable like bodily injury coverage. Unless you hit a couple of vehicles, there is no need to select $100,000 property damage coverage, as $50,000 is more than adequate for most of us. You may want to weigh the cost difference and pick the amount you feel more comfortable with.
The bottom line though, is that the price is dictated by the coverage and not vice versa. You can always get a lower price by selecting lower limits of coverage. It is much better to know the coverage you need and then shop that coverage to get the lowest price. It is a very competitive marketplace and you might be surprised how much you can save.
Dave Pushman is the former regional vice president of Geico in Macon and is now an independent insurance agent with Tidwell and Hilburn Insurance. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.