Car Insurance

Ask An Agent: How do I save money on car insurance?

    A lot of factors are considered by car insurance companies when they calculate your monthly premium. While some of these factors may seem stacked against drivers (bad driving record, not having auto-lock brakes, having a new car, etc.), there are real, effective ways to save money on your auto policy. In our inaugural Ask An Agent video, we discuss one of the most important aspects of car insurance: discounts. From State Farm to Liberty Mutual and GEICO, most insurance companies offer discounts, so be sure to ask your agent (or our agents) to see where you qualify!

    Our agents, Nicole and Chase, talk through opportunities for serious savings!

    Daniel: Hello and welcome to The Zebra’s Ask an Agent, our Facebook Live series where we try, and the keyword here is try, to make the insurance world a little bit easier to navigate. We might even say black and white. My name is Daniel Wiersema and I am the Social Media Manager here at The Zebra, and with me are two licensed insurance agents, experts. We’ve got Nicole Fleming and we’ve got Chase Nelson. They both work here at The Zebra. They are folks that often answer a lot of my questions and certainly other people around the company. So, speaking of black and white, it might be important to explain, real quick, what The Zebra is. Thezebra.com is in fact a website, as the “.com” implies, and it’s the nation’s leading car insurance comparison site. That’s really important to say the keyword comparison: we are not an insurance agency, like Progressive or Allstate. We do work with them. Our job is to make shopping and comparing car insurance for your car, your truck, your home, your apartment or condo, whatever you happen to have, a little bit easier. We’re spending money all the time on insurance coverage, it’s something that whether the bills are coming in, spending money is really hard, but saving money is kinda nice. 

    Nicole: It’s fun!

    Chase: Best part about it. 

    Daniel: Exactly, a little bit more back in your wallet is always a good thing. What we do here at thezebra.com is we hopefully can save you a couple bucks. That can go to a new pair of shoes, a little Zebra t-shirt, that’s blocked by the computer, whatever it happens to be. It’s simple, you head to thezebra.com, you give us a little information about your vehicle, yourself, your driving habits, those sorts of things and we compare hundreds of carriers, all at once, in real time, lickety-split. We try to help find the best coverage for you, so whatever you’re looking for, whatever your needs are, that’s what we do. Hopefully find a better price than what you are currently paying, and we go on from there. 

    Nicole: And you get to save a lot of time. Shopping for insurance is very grueling, so you can definitely go onto our site and it is a one-stop-shop. 

    Daniel: Yes, and that is thezebra.com, right here. There’s definitely something nobody has enough time for, it's time and money. Real quick before we get started, we are going to be talking about a bunch of different things related to insurance, and of course that means there’s a little bit of legal things we need to do here to make sure we get the lawyers happy.

    Chase: While we know a lot about insurance, you should seek individual advice before purchasing any insurance product. Our views expressed in this show are just that, our views based on our experiences. Insurance carriers, policies, and procedures vary, so our advice isn’t carrier specific. It should not be viewed as speaking for any specific carrier. The examples in this video are merely anecdotal and can vary based on your own rating and risk factors. Just want to make y’all aware of that. 

     

    Daniel: We are going to talk about a lot of things here. Depending on your age, your gender, your credit score, where you live, what you drive, all those sorts of things, there's a huge amount of factors towards that. So I think this is the perfect segway to mention, since we are talking about insurance and today’s episode is gonna be about discounts. If you have any specific questions or comments about getting your car insured, ask us! Ask us in the comment section, shoot us a message on our Facebook page, go to thezebra.com/ask where Nicole is the one that helps answer questions for us. More importantly you can give us a call at 1-888-255-4364 and we‘ve got dozens of licensed insurance agents who are available to help and do the comparison for you. It takes a little bit longer, but they kinda walk you through the process and help you out there. 

    Without further adieu, we’re gonna talk about discounts. Money. It is so important. Saving money is even more important, getting a little bit back. When you’re shopping for car insurance, it can be expensive. The Zebra did a study, and we do one every year, called “The State of Auto Insurance,” and our insight for 2019 is that in the last 7 years, car insurance rates have gone up 23%. The average American pays $1,470 for car insurance. 

    All: That’s a lot of money!

    Our insight for 2019 is that in the last 7 years, car insurance rates have gone up 23%. The average American pays $1,470 for car insurance.

    Daniel: Whether it’s five, ten, twenty, a hundred dollars here and there, that can mean the difference between a grocery bill, or school supplies, or anything like that. We are going to review some of the most common car insurance discounts and what you are supposed to be looking for. If you’re looking to compare or shop you can ask for them if you’re not already getting them, and the potential savings in store if you qualify for them. So Nicole, let’s start off with one of the big ones: bundling. And that’s not because of the winter weather coming, you don’t get a discount for getting a big winter coat. This is something completely different than that. 

    Nicole: It is. Bundling is also known as multi-line discount. You get this discount when you have multiple policies with one company. For instance, your auto insurance plus your homeowners insurance, or auto insurance and renters insurance, even auto and motorcycle. Anything like that will give you the multi-line, multi-policy discount. It’s really good because this discount, it does vary by company how much the discount is, but typically it is one of the biggest ones about 25% on average. One thing to keep in mind is that you can also get another discount if you own your home, that’s a little side note. So if you bundle your homeowners insurance with your auto, and you also have a home that’s two discounts for you right there, which is really cool. To speak about the renters policies, what's really good about that, we have had a lot of  customers come into our agency and we quote both of them for you, just to make sure you’re fully covered. A lot of times that discount that you get on the auto insurance policy, pays for the renters insurance policy. It’s really cool. 

    Chase: Most people have to have renters insurance too nowadays for their apartments. Especially if there is a property management company, most all of them require that. So it’s worth looking into. 

    Daniel: Yeah! Anytime that you can get one thing to pay for another that seems like a pretty significant discount to me. 

    Nicole: Right, the other benefit of having it is wanting to keep all the drivers, all your vehicles, you wanna keep them all on one policy because you get a multi-vehicle discount. But also, it makes it easy if you have all of your policies with one company to stay on top of it. If you need to make changes, you have that specific company that you go to. You get a discount, plus it makes your life easier. 

    Daniel: This is a live show, which there is a lot of things that are going on. And sometimes when you shoot a live show you don’t check whether the camera is facing forwards or backwards. 

    Nicole: Are we backwards?

    Daniel: No. Well, we’re on the camera and we’re doing just great. But everybody thinks it’s Nelson Chase and Fleming Nicole. I’m just going to quickly discard of these, because we already know who you are. We’ll just talk about the number a little bit. We will just chalk that up to the first episode, little glitch there. We are still streaming.      

    Nicole: It’s our pilot season. 

    Chase: Trial by fire guys. 

    Daniel: One of the other things is, we get a bill. The bill comes in the mail and we are taking a look at it. And we are thinking, “man, it’s $140 a month,” or anything like that. Is there any way that I can get some discounts when it comes to billing. It seems like a benign little thing, when it comes to administrative tasks, you saving the insurance carrier some time on their end could maybe save yourself some money. 

    Chase: 100% correct, Dan. One of the things that most people may not realize, is that with monthly billing on auto insurance, typically there is always an installment fee or service fee that is charged as part of servicing that policy and the billing for each month. So one of the main things you can do to really cut back on that is by paying the policy in full. That way you’re able to cut out all those installment fees. Not only that, but you will be able to, more than likely, not have to worry as much about your policy cancelling, just due to non-payment. Things happen, we all have stuff that comes up, and an insurance bill could slip. But if you pay in full, you don’t have to worry about that. 

    It seems like a benign little thing, when it comes to administrative tasks, you saving the insurance carrier some time on their end could maybe save yourself some money.

    Daniel: So you’ve got a pile of money around that you’re just itching to spend on your entire policy all at once. Even though you’re spending a bunch upfront, you’re actually saving yourself on a month-to-month basis. 

    Chase: Exactly. One of the other big things too, with actually purchasing the policy in advance. A lot of times your current policy doesn’t expire until a certain date in the month, and you already see a price that you want to take advantage of with us here at The Zebra, or a carrier that has coverages that really meet your needs. If you go ahead and purchase that policy, by putting the down payment on it that day and having the effective date in the future, most carriers will also give you a nice percentage discount as well. 

    Daniel: That seems really helpful. If you see a price, and you like the price, and the coverage is what you need. It’s obviously about saving money, but it's also finding the right coverage. If you can find the price and the coverage and where those meet, don’t hesitate. 

    Nicole: And you do want to lock it in. Because insurance rates do change. After midnight the day of that quote, the rates aren’t valid anymore. If you see a rate that you like, lock it in. And get that discount. 

    Chase: Absolutely. And if you do need to pay monthly, one of the best things that you can do a lot of times, is go on one of the auto payment options. I know that for some people that might not be the best fit, but if you are in a situation where that helps out with your budget, they’ll also give you a little bit of percentage off as well. Having that tied to a debit or credit card or directly to a checking or savings for the payments. 

    Daniel: So less papercuts equals more savings for you. The less people that have to open envelopes and deal with stamps and icky glue on the back of envelopes, you can really help out there. 

    Nicole: Well, that goes to another discount. Chase, if you want to tell them about it, that you can get.

    Chase: As far as the renewal discounts go?

    Nicole: Well, paperless. 

    Chase: Oh yeah, well, the paperless. Obviously, if I’m not gonna have to worry about any of the cuts there anymore. The biggest one when it comes to billing also is gonna be for your renewal discounts. So definitely keep track of how long you’ve been with your carrier. Most of them will give you a little break, the longer you stay with them. Which is just another motivating factor to keep your insurance, of course if you get a discount there by all means keep it.

    Daniel: There are discounts for kinda sticking with the same insurance, there’s some loyalty. I think it’s important to note here, when you do go on the auto-pay that rate is going out. And that premium is going on every month, but it can change. If the rate changes and you’ve renewed, and then it’s gone up a little bit. They’re gonna take it right out of your account for that increase. So even though you know the auto is happening and you’re getting that discount, you might actually be able to save or change coverage by comparing every six to twelve months, usually what is good advice there. 

    Nicole: I definitely recommend everybody shop around, like you said, every six to twelve months. Because rates do change, and you never know if you’re still getting the best deal. Which is the great thing about our site, The Zebra, is you can compare all of those rates really quick. If you’re still getting a good rate, then you know, but if you’re not then we give you a lot of options. 

    Daniel: That’s great. And that number again is 1-888-255-4364. It’s not backwards on the card anymore. Nicole’s got a jingle in her head, that someday we’re gonna record and play for you as the intro. 

    Nicole: One day. 

    Chase: We’ll have that next round. 

    Daniel: Just as a quick sidebar, I know we’re talking about cars, we’re talking about insurance, you guys recently went on a little bit of a road trip together. You are real life buddies, right? This is a real life insurance buddy cop show we’ve got going on here. Tell us a little bit about how it is to be in the car together, not just on this show together. 

    Nicole: Well, I thought it was fantastic. We went on a roadtrip to Dallas for a conference, and we stopped at the smallest gas station in Texas. And then we proceeded to stop at Buc-ee’s, which if you know anything about Texas, is the largest gas station you will ever be in. 

    Chase: It’s the Walmart of gas stations. 

    Nicole: There you go, the Walmart of gas stations. So I thought it was great. Chase, how was your drive? Oh, by the way I was the driver.

    Chase: It was very interesting. Let’s just say we got there really quick. Let’s just say I had to kinda buckle in and make sure we were getting there on time. But still, it was a quick trip, it was a real quick trip. 

    Daniel: Hopefully your insurance carriers aren’t tuning in right now. We might lose some safe driver discounts here. 

    Buc-ee's — the Walmart of gas stations!

    Nicole: That kinda brings me to my next point, is that I still have the good driver discount. Even though I might go a little faster than the speed limit sign. But, I do have a good driver discount because you can get the good driver discount typically if, you know it does vary by carrier, but as long as you don’t have any accidents or tickets within the last three to five years, you get the good driver discount. 

    Chase: She was a safe driver, I’ll say that, just fast. 

    Nicole: I don’t text and drive, just very efficient. 

    Daniel: There are other discounts, we kind of categorize these as behavioral discounts. I don’t know if that is an official term. I think I just made that up, being the host of this I get to make up the rules as I go along. Good driver is one of them. And as we talk about all of this too, they vary by company. There is no set discount for any one of these. Each one assigns different levels of discounts based on their data and all of their risk factors and stuff like that. Other types of behavioral discounts that are available?

    Nicole: There’s a good student discount, you can get that typically if you’re a student with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. But again, that varies by company and there’s usually an age requirement. I think most of them it is 25 and under.   

    Daniel: So you can be going back to night school would it work for that? Throw a curve ball. 

    Nicole: I mean it should be. I’ve been asked this question before.

    Daniel: You can’t trip these people up! They are agent experts.

    Each [insurance carrier] assigns different levels of discounts based on their data and all of their risk factors and stuff like that.

    Nicole: I personally think that it should count. However, most insurance companies, any discount you give you have to file with the state in order to be approved to give those discounts. So they have very specific rules. 

    Daniel: How about employee discounts? Can I file my latest performance review, which may go down after this backwards thing?

    Nicole: You might want to do that before your review comes out. But, no. As insurance agents, we don’t even get company discounts or anything like that. Again, everything is regulated by the state. 

    Daniel: Well, I will buy you a cup of coffee to make up for it. 

    Nicole: Thanks, Dan!

    Daniel: Chase, there’s a couple other discounts that we can talk about. 

    Chase: That’s right, Dan. One of the first ones would be defensive driving, or the defensive driver discounts. A lot of times when we think of taking a defensive driving course, it might be in lieu after you were given some sort of citation. The court says you can take defensive driving in order for it to not stay on your record. However, you can also be proactive with it too. They are not that costly of exams anymore and you can go ahead and enroll in one. Most carriers are gonna give you a break there too. The other thing is if we’re looking at things the customer can do, telematics is one. You hear about all the companies having different types of programs that will monitor your driving habits, like speeding.

    Nicole: I don’t think I’m a good candidate for that. 

    Chase: All sorts of other driving habits — your mileage and things like that — that we could go on and on about. But other than that safety features of your vehicle specifically can also give you a different kind of discount. The newer model vehicles with different anti-theft device and safety features. All that stuff can give you a huge break on your cost. 

    Daniel: It’s important to note, too, and we do talk about safety features. These cars with the back-up cameras, and the "lane change" alerts and stuff like that. Even though these are essentially safety features, it doesn’t actually reduce our insurance that much?

    Chase: No. 

    Daniel: You think it would, but why not? We’re making these leaps and bounds — it should, shouldn’t it? 

    Chase: The idea is that with all those safety features, to replace the cost of a bumper that has cameras installed in it and sensors and all of that nowadays. Versus, even just ten to fifteen years ago where that wasn’t commonplace, just a fraction of the cost.

    Daniel: So even though we are making all of these leaps and bounds in the technology, it’s really coming out of the wash. It hasn’t really hasn’t necessarily gotten to where the technology is cheap enough to generate a discount. 

    Nicole: That goes into what you said in the beginning. Insurance rates, over the last few years, have increased by 23%. A lot of it is because the costs of repairs for the claims have risen because of all of these additional features vehicles have. 

    Daniel: Well I certainly learned a lot here. I appreciate you guys taking the time to talk about discounts. Thezebra.com, like we said before, is the nation’s leading car insurance, we actually have home and renters now too on the site, comparison site. Head to thezebra.com, you can hit us up at thezebra.com/ask. If you have future questions, shoot us a message on Facebook, hit us up on Twitter, call us at 1-888-255-4364. There’s the jingle again.

    Chase: Jingle coming soon! 

    Daniel: We’re just going to record that jingle live and that’ll be the next episode. I want to thank everyone who tuned in, including my mom and dad probably. 

    Nicole: Hi Mom. 

    Daniel: Everybody else’s moms and dads out there. Thank you so much and we will see you again on Ask An Agent. 

    Nicole and Chase: Bye! 

    Daniel: Alright, here I come to turn it off.      

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