Are you regretting buying an overpriced auto insurance policy? Trust us, many Birmingham drivers have buyer's remorse.
Sad but true, almost 70% of insureds in Alabama have been with the same company for a minimum of four years, and just under half have never taken the time to shop around. Many consumers in America can save $860 each year by just comparing quotes, but they don't want to take the time to compare rates and save money.
Companies like State Farm, Progressive and GEICO continually bombard you with ad campaigns and it is difficult to avoid their marketing magic and effectively compare rates to find the best deal.
If you are insured now, you stand a good chance to be able to get lower rates using this information. Buying affordable auto insurance in Birmingham is quite easy. But Alabama consumers do need to know how the larger insurance companies compete online because it can help you find the best coverage.
Car insurance rates and discounts
Companies that sell car insurance don't always advertise every available discount in a way that's easy to find, so we took the time to find some of the best known and also the more inconspicuous discounts that may be available.
- Full Payment Discount - If paying your policy premium upfront rather than paying in monthly installments you may have a lower total premium amount.
- Distant Student - College-age children who live away from home to go to college and leave their car at home may be able to be covered for less.
- Club Memberships - Having an affiliation with a professional or civic organization could earn you a nice discount on your bill.
- Discounts for Cautious Drivers - Safe drivers may receive a discount up to 45% compared to accident prone drivers.
- Passenger Safety Discount - Factory air bags or automatic seat belts can get savings of 20 to 30 percent.
- Early Renewal Discounts - Some companies reward drivers for switching to them prior to the expiration date on your current policy. It could save around 10% when you buy Birmingham car insurance online.
- Claim Free - Good drivers with no accidents are rewarded with significantly better rates on Birmingham car insurance quote in comparison with drivers who are more careless.
- Include Life Insurance and Save - Some companies give a small discount if you purchase auto and life insurance together.
- Paper-free Discount - Some of the larger companies will discount your bill up to fifty bucks for signing up on the web.
Don't be shocked that some of the credits will not apply to your bottom line cost. Some only reduce the price of certain insurance coverages like medical payments or collision. Despite the fact that it seems like all the discounts add up to a free policy, company stockholders wouldn't be very happy.
Popular car insurance companies and some of their more popular discounts are outlined below.
- GEICO offers discounts for anti-theft, driver training, defensive driver, federal employee, membership and employees, and emergency military deployment.
- Travelers offers discounts including new car, good student, home ownership, IntelliDrive, and hybrid/electric vehicle.
- Nationwide includes discounts for good student, accident-free, defensive driving, family plan, and business or organization.
- Farmers Insurance has savings for mature driver, multi-car, bundle discounts, homeowner, switch companies, early shopping, and good student.
- Esurance offers premium reductions for good student, online shopper, anti-theft, defensive driver, online quote, multi-car, and homeowner.
- State Farm may have discounts that include good student, driver's education, multiple policy, passive restraint, and Drive Safe & Save.
- Progressive may include discounts for homeowner, online quote discount, good student, continuous coverage, and multi-vehicle.
- Mercury Insurance may offer discounts for good driver, type of vehicle, multi-car, age of vehicle, professional/association, low natural disaster claims, and ease of repair.
When getting a coverage quote, ask each insurance company which credits you are entitled to. Some of the discounts discussed earlier may not apply in every state. To find insurers with discount rates in Birmingham, click here to view.
To find the best car insurance rates, there are several ways to compare prices from local Birmingham car insurance companies. One of the best ways to find affordable insurance rates consists of shopping online.
Doing online rates comparisons is so easy that it makes it obsolete to spend time driving to local Birmingham insurance agencies. Quoting and buying car insurance online has reduced the need for local agents unless you have a complicated situation and need the personal advice that can only be provided by a licensed insurance agent. It is possible to price shop online but still have the advice of a local Birmingham agent.
Just remember that comparing a large number of companies helps increase your odds of locating better pricing.
The following companies offer free quotes in Alabama. If the list has multiple companies, we suggest you visit as many as you can to get the lowest price.
Insurance agents near you
Some people still prefer to buy from a licensed agent and that is not a bad decision One of the great benefits of getting online price quotes is you may find the lowest rates and still have an agent to talk to. Buying from and supporting local agencies is especially important in Birmingham.
For easy comparison, once you complete this form (opens in new window), the quote information is immediately sent to insurance agents in Birmingham that give free quotes for your business. It's much easier because you don't need to even leave your home because prices are sent to you instantly. You can find better rates AND an agent nearby. In the event you want to get a comparison quote from one company in particular, you just need to jump over to their website and give them your coverage information.
If you prefer to buy insurance from a reputable insurance agent or broker, you should know the types of insurance agents and how they work. Insurance agents can be described as either exclusive or independent (non-exclusive).
Agents in the independent channel are not employed by one company so they have the ability to put coverage with lots of companies and possibly get better coverage at lower prices. To move your coverage to a new company, they can switch companies in-house and you can keep the same agent. If you need lower rates, you will want to get quotes from a few independent agents to get the most accurate price comparison.
Below is a partial list of independent insurance agents in Birmingham that can possibly get you competitive price quotes.
Exclusive Insurance Agents
Agents in the exclusive channel normally can only provide a single company's rates and examples are Farmers Insurance, State Farm, or Allstate. Exclusive agents cannot compare other company's rates so always compare other rates. Exclusive agents are well schooled on their company's products and that allows them to sell at a higher price point.
Shown below are exclusive insurance agents in Birmingham willing to provide price quotes.
Choosing the best car insurance agent should include more criteria than just a cheap price quote. Ask your prospective agent these questions:
- Do they write coverage based solely on cost?
- Will the quote change when the policy is issued?
- How does the company pay claims for a total loss?
- Will they give you a referral list?
- Are there any extra charges for paying monthly?
- Are they full-time agents?
- Is the agency active in community causes in Birmingham?
After you get acceptable answers as well as a price you're happy with, most likely you have located an insurance agent that meets the requirements to provide insurance coverage.
Knowing the specifics of auto insurance helps when choosing the best coverages for your vehicles. The terms used in a policy can be confusing and coverage can change by endorsement. Listed below are the usual coverages found on most auto insurance policies.
Comprehensive auto insurance
This coverage pays for damage OTHER than collision with another vehicle or object. A deductible will apply then your comprehensive coverage will pay.
Comprehensive insurance covers things like damage from a tornado or hurricane, fire damage and theft. The maximum payout you'll receive from a claim is the market value of your vehicle, so if the vehicle is not worth much it's not worth carrying full coverage.
Coverage for uninsured or underinsured drivers
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist coverage provides protection from other motorists when they are uninsured or don't have enough coverage. Covered claims include medical payments for you and your occupants and also any damage incurred to your vehicle.
Because many people only carry the minimum required liability limits (which is 25/50/25), it only takes a small accident to exceed their coverage. For this reason, having high UM/UIM coverages is very important. Most of the time your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverages are identical to your policy's liability coverage.
Liability auto insurance
This coverage provides protection from damage that occurs to other people or property. This coverage protects you against other people's claims. Liability doesn't cover damage to your own property or vehicle.
Coverage consists of three different limits, bodily injury for each person, bodily injury for the entire accident, and a limit for property damage. Your policy might show liability limits of 25/50/25 that means you have a $25,000 limit per person for injuries, a total of $50,000 of bodily injury coverage per accident, and $25,000 of coverage for damaged propery. Some companies may use a combined limit which combines the three limits into one amount and claims can be made without the split limit restrictions.
Liability insurance covers things such as court costs, repair costs for stationary objects, medical services and legal defense fees. How much liability should you purchase? That is up to you, but you should buy as high a limit as you can afford. Alabama requires minimum liability limits of 25/50/25 but you should think about purchasing better liability coverage.
Coverage for medical expenses
Medical payments and Personal Injury Protection insurance provide coverage for expenses like funeral costs, X-ray expenses and chiropractic care. They are used in conjunction with a health insurance policy or if you lack health insurance entirely. Coverage applies to all vehicle occupants and also covers any family member struck as a pedestrian. Personal Injury Protection is not available in all states and may carry a deductible
Auto collision coverage
This covers damage to your vehicle resulting from a collision with a stationary object or other vehicle. A deductible applies then the remaining damage will be paid by your insurance company.
Collision insurance covers things like colliding with a tree, sustaining damage from a pot hole, scraping a guard rail, crashing into a ditch and sideswiping another vehicle. Paying for collision coverage can be pricey, so consider removing coverage from older vehicles. Drivers also have the option to choose a higher deductible to save money on collision insurance.
Keep this in mind when shopping around
Some insurance companies do not offer rates over the internet and these smaller companies sell through local independent agents. Budget-friendly auto insurance in Birmingham is available online as well as from independent agents in Birmingham, and you should compare rates from both in order to have the best chance of saving money.
In this article, we covered a lot of tips how to get a better price on auto insurance in Birmingham. It's most important to understand that the more you quote Birmingham car insurance, the more likely it is that you will get a better rate. Consumers could even find that the lowest prices come from a small local company. Smaller companies may often insure only within specific states and give getter rates compared to the large companies like State Farm or Progressive.
When getting Birmingham car insurance quotes online, you should never reduce needed coverages to save money. There are a lot of situations where consumers will sacrifice physical damage coverage only to discover later that a couple dollars of savings turned into a financial nightmare. The goal is to buy enough coverage at the lowest possible cost but still have enough coverage for asset protection.
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