5 Things to Consider Before you Switch Your Insurance

Switching your insurance policy can save you hundreds of dollars a year. But, make sure you consider these things before you make the switch.

Tip #1: Compare Apples to Apples

You’ve seen the commercials – “average savings of $500 a year for those who switched…” Absolutely you can save money. However, be sure that your new quote compares your current policy to the new policy – all coverages, driving records and vehicles the same. Any one thing can make a big difference. Many companies will try to lure you with great savings, but a CLUE report (comprehensive loss underwriting exchange – also known as your claims history) is not completed until after the application is submitted. Online companies are notorious for doing this.

Tip #2: Status Changed

If you’ve recently received a ticket or an accident, moved or purchased a new vehicle, have your current policy changes made prior to shopping. It is entirely possible that your new ride may get you some savings, or result in a price increase. In addition to this, if you’ve recently had a ticket fall off of your driving record, it would be worth calling the company to see if they can remove it now and save you some money for the remainder of your policy term. Regardless, if something changes, be sure to revert to tip #1.

Tip #3: Work with an Independent Insurance Agent

Independent insurance agents are discount detectives and have access to multiple companies. Even better, they know your current situation, history and can give you recommendations across many of their companies. They can compare rates between each of their carriers and let you know the benefits of each company.

Tip #4: Multi-Policy Discounts

When you’re looking for a new policy, be sure to take all things into consideration. You may be focused on your auto insurance, but if you have a package policy (multiple policies with the same carrier) you are likely getting discounts. If you move your auto insurance policy to another carrier, your home insurance may increase as much as 20% eliminating any saving you received. Take all of your policies into consideration. One additional item to consider here is if you have an umbrella policy, this is typically required to follow your home insurance policy. Some carrier require the home and auto to write the umbrella, so talk to you agent about your specific situation.

Tip #5: Your Relationship with your Agent

Knowing your insurance agent and having a business relationship with them is important. They are the ones who will go to bat for you in the event you have a claim or accident. Often times they can help you file that claim or give you recommendation on local companies to help fix your issue. If you have your insurance directly with the company handling your loss, you don’t get this representation. Having a local independent insurance agent is the way to go.

5 Great Reasons to try an Independent Insurance Agent

We live in the digital age. We can get instant results like game scores, recipes and silly videos at the touch of a button. You can also get instant quotes for auto insurance, home insurance and more from specific carriers, but what you can’t do is have someone make sure that you are getting the best insurance rates for your situation and needs. That is why having a local, independent insurance agent is a smart idea.

  • Lower rates: A local, independent insurance agent will work hard to save you money. They have the ability to quote from many different insurance carriers and are able to provide you with several carrier options. Since their business is consumer-driven, your agent will provide a level of service and care with which many large carriers cannot compete.
  • Ease of service: Your local, independent insurance agent can service your insurance policies, so if there is a problem there is only one number to call if you have questions about your policy. Your agent also lives in your area so they are able to be honest and let you know if you really need specialty coverages like flood or earthquake.
  • Adaptability: Did you get a new car, buy a house or get a boat insurance policy? Your local, independent agent can assist you with all of that. Your agent is able to quote multiple types of insurance coverage like personal umbrella or business insurance as your needs change over the years. They can also update your existing policies with ease.
  • Jargon: Your local, independent insurance agent is an expert when it comes to the insurance world. If you are confused to the meanings of Comprehensive, UMBI, PIP or any of the other coverage options, your agent will be able to explain your coverage in plain, easy-to-understand language. When you purchase any type of insurance, there are a lot of ins-and-outs to consider, your agent will be there to walk you through your coverage and make sure that you understand what may or may not be covered.
  • They have it all: It bears repeating: a local, independent insurance agent is a one-stop shop. They offer auto, home, boat, motorcycle, renters, flood insurance and the list goes on. If you are looking for a coverage that they do not offer, your local, independent insurance agent can recommend a carrier who can assist with your needs.

Closing the Gap: Do I need gap insurance?

Congratulations, you just bought a new (or new to you) car! You were able to afford a down payment and now you are the proud owner of a new car and a monthly car payment. But, what happens if your car becomes involved in an accident and you owe more than your car is worth?

Imagine this scenario: While out enjoying your new car, you hydroplane and hit a guardrail damaging your new vehicle beyond repair. The insurance company is telling you that your new car is a total loss. While you may not be able to drive the vehicle, you are still responsible for the loan associated with vehicle. If you have gap insurance in Oregon, you may be only responsible for your deductible.

How gap insurance in Oregon works:

What is depreciation:  Vehicles, especially new vehicles, begin to depreciate as soon as you drive them off the dealer lot. Depreciation can be quite surprising and is not necessarily tied to the base cost of the vehicle. Due to wear-and-tear, fluctuating market conditions and a number of other factors, depreciation in the first year is the steepest. Even with proper care and maintenance and no accidents, a vehicle will continue to depreciate. Even though the value of the vehicle will go down each year, the amount you owe on the vehicle will not. Depreciation will vary between make and model but here is a baseline comparison:

YearVehicleStyleBase priceDepreciation year one
2013Subaru Legacy2.5i sedan$21,295$3,069
2013Honda CivicBase sedan$22,715$4,406
2013BMW328i sedan$34,900$5,198
2013 FordF-150$28,595$5,915
2013Toyota4Runner$37,155$6,380

 *Figures courtesy of automobilemag.com

Why gap insurance: In the unfortunate event that your vehicle is totaled, and it is an event covered under your current auto insurance policy, your insurer may pay the actual cash value of the vehicle, which may be significantly less than the outstanding vehicle loan. In that case, you would still be responsible for the remaining balance between the loan and the insurance payout, which could be thousands of dollars. If you choose to purchase gap insurance in Hawaii, your insurance company would cover the remaining balance between the actual cash value of the vehicle and the remaining loan balance, typically up to 25 percent, potentially saving you thousands of dollars.

Options for gap insurance: There are two options for purchasing gap insurance in Oregon. It can be purchased from the dealership or through an insurance agent. If you choose to purchase gap insurance through the dealership you purchase your vehicle from, the gap insurance will be built into your loan. The average price for gap insurance from a dealership is around $1,000, but add interest and taxes and it can add up to much more. If you choose to purchase gap insurance from an insurance agent, on average it would add less than $10 per month to a policy! There may be certain stipulations associated with a gap insurance policy:

  • The loan may need to be through a financial institution rather than an individual
  • Your current auto insurance policy may need to include Collision and Comprehensive coverage
  • Your claim may need to be a covered Collision and Comprehensive coverage event
  • Your vehicle may need to be determined as a total loss

Before you purchase a new vehicle, make sure to check with your licensed insurance agent in Oregon.