Tips to Save on Birmingham Car Insurance Rates

I can't think of anyone who enjoys paying for auto insurance, particularly when their premiums are too high. It seems like auto insurance rates in Birmingham are constantly going up and Alabama drivers seem powerless to put the brakes on high rates.

Big companies like GEICO and Progressive constantly bombard you with catchy ads and consumers find it hard to avoid their marketing magic and effectively compare rates to find the best deal. It's a good idea to check auto insurance prices occasionally since rates go up and down regularly.

Even if you think you had the best price for coverage a couple years back there may be better deals available now. I'm going to tell you how to most effectively compare rate quotes in order to help you lower your policy premiums.

How to Compare Auto Insurance Rates in Birmingham

Most companies provide coverage price quotes directly from their websites. The process doesn't take a lot of time as you just enter your required coverages as requested by the quote form. Upon sending the form, the company's rating system obtains your driving and credit reports and provides a quote determined by many factors.

Online quotes makes comparing rates easy, but having to visit each company's website and repetitively fill out multiple forms is monotonous and tiresome. But it's very important to perform this step in order to find lower prices.

A less time-consuming method to find cheaper rates utilizes a single form to obtain quotes from a bunch of companies at once. It saves time, requires much less work on your part, and makes price shopping online much easier to do.

Immediately after you send the form, it is quoted and you can select any or none of the quote results. If a lower price is quoted, you can simply submit the application and purchase the new policy. This process can be completed in less than 5 minutes and you will find out if you're overpaying now.

To save time and use this form to compare rates, simply click here to open in new window and submit your coverage information. If you currently have coverage, we recommend you input the limits and deductibles exactly as shown on your declarations page. Doing this guarantees you will be getting a fair comparison using the exact same coverages.

What Factors Influence Car Insurance Rates?

Consumers need to have an understanding of some of the elements that go into determining your auto insurance rates. Knowing what impacts premium levels helps enable you to make changes that could result in much lower annual insurance costs.

  • What are your deductibles? - Physical damage insurance, commonly called comprehensive (or other-than-collision) and collision coverage, is used to repair damage to your car. Some instances where coverage would apply could be collision with another vehicle, damage from fire, or theft.

    Physical damage deductibles are how much you are willing to pay out-of-pocket before a claim is paid by your company. The more money you are required to pay out-of-pocket, the bigger discount you will receive for coverage.
  • Pleasure use or commuting - The higher the mileage driven every year the more you will pay for auto insurance. The majority of insurers apply a rate based on how the vehicle is used. Vehicles not used for work or commuting get more affordable rates as compared to vehicles used primarily for driving to work.
  • High numbers of claims are not good - Auto insurance companies in Birmingham give better rates to policyholders who do not rely on their insurance for small claims. If you tend to file frequent claims, you can expect either higher rates or even cancellation. Car insurance is intended to be relied upon for major claims that would cause financial hardship, not small claims that can be paid out-of-pocket.
  • A clean driving record saves money - Good drivers receive lower rates than bad drivers. Just one speeding ticket can increase rates twenty percent or more. Drivers who have serious citations such as DWI, reckless driving or hit and run convictions may need to submit a SR-22 form with the Alabama Department of Revenue Motor Vehicle Division in order to continue driving.
  • Liability coverage is peace of mind - Your policy's liability coverage is the coverage that protects you when a court rules you are at fault for damages from an accident. It provides for a legal defense which can be incredibly expensive. Liability insurance is quite affordable as compared to coverage for physical damage, so drivers should carry high limits. Alabama requires liability insurance to drive a vehicle in Birmingham, and you can read more about it in the Mandatory Liability Insurance Manual.
  • Higher safety ratings means cheaper insurance - Safer cars are cheaper to insure. The safest vehicles reduce injuries and any reduction in injury severity means lower claim amounts and thus lower rates.

Car Insurance Discounts can Lower Rates

Companies that sell car insurance don't necessarily list all available discounts very well, so we took the time to find some of the best known and the more hidden auto insurance savings. Not all companies who sell insurance in Birmingham offer the exact same discounts, so it's important to check with the company or agent to see which discounts you may qualify for.

  • Passive Restraint Discount - Factory air bags or automatic seat belts can qualify for discounts up to 30%.
  • Student Driver Training - Make teen driver coverage more affordable by requiring them to take driver's ed class in school.
  • Seat Belts Save more than Lives - Drivers who require all occupants to use a seat belt can save up to 15% off your PIP or medical payments premium.
  • Life Insurance Discount - Larger companies have a discount if you purchase life insurance.
  • Accident Free - Claim-free drivers can save substantially when compared with bad drivers.
  • Good Student - Getting good grades can get you a discount of up to 25%. The discount lasts well after school through age 25.

Drivers should understand that some credits don't apply to the overall cost of the policy. Some only apply to the cost of specific coverages such as collision or personal injury protection. Just because it seems like you would end up receiving a 100% discount, companies wouldn't make money that way.

Is Car Insurance Advertising Deceptive?

Companies like 21st Century, Allstate and State Farm constantly bombard you with ads in print and on television. All the ads have a common claim of big savings if you switch to them. How does each company make the same claim?

All companies can use profiling for the type of customer that earns them a profit. For example, a preferred risk might be profiled as over the age of 50, insures multiple vehicles, has a high credit rating and lives in the Greyston neighborhood. A driver who matches those parameters gets the lowest rates and is almost guaranteed to cut their rates substantially.

Insurance companies may actually offer different rates depending on which area of Birmingham you live in. The Forest Park area may have different rates than Liberty Park, and still different rates from people who live in the Highland Lakes region.

Potential customers who are not a match for these standards must pay more money which usually ends up with business going elsewhere. The ads say "customers that switch" not "people who quote" save that kind of money. This is how companies can truthfully make the claims of big savings. This illustrates why it is so important to compare many company's rates. You cannot predict the company that will give you the biggest savings.

When Might I Need the Advice of a Birmingham Insurance Agent?

When buying proper insurance coverage, there really is no single plan that fits everyone. Everyone's needs are different and your policy should reflect that. Here are some questions about coverages that may help highlight if you will benefit from professional help.

  • Do I need added coverage for expensive stereo equipment?
  • Which companies will insure high-risk drivers in Birmingham?
  • When does my teenage driver need to be added to my policy?
  • Does my policy cover my teen driver if they drive my company car?
  • How can I get high-risk coverage after a DUI?
  • Do I need rental car coverage?
  • Do I need roadside assistance coverage?
  • How high should my uninsured/underinsured coverage be in Alabama?
  • At what point should I drop full coverage?
  • I don't drive much so do I pay less?

If you're not sure about those questions but a few of them apply, then you may want to think about talking to a Birminham insurance agent. Keep reading for more information on how to find a good agent and some important questions to ask.

Neighborhood Insurance Agents

Some consumers would rather talk to a local agent and that is just fine! One of the best bonuses of comparing rates online is you may find better rates but still work with a licensed agent.

Choosing an insurance agency should depend on more than just a low price. These questions are important to ask:

  • Do they specialize in personal lines coverage?
  • Is the agent and/or agency licensed to do business in Alabama?
  • Do they have any clout with companies to ensure a fair claim settlement?
  • If you have an accident, are you able to get your vehicle repaired at the shop of your choice?
  • What insurance companies do they work with?
  • Do clients work directly with the agent or are most inquiries handled by a CSR?
  • Do they have advanced training designations such as CPCU, AAI, AIC, or CIC?
  • Does the agency have a good rating with the Central Alamama Better Business Bureau?

Captive agents vs. Independent agents

If you're trying to find a reliable agent, there are a couple of types of insurance agents that differ in how they can insure your vehicles. Insurance agencies in Birmingham are categorized either captive or independent.

Captive Insurance Agents

This type of agents can only write with one company such as American Family, Liberty Mutual and AAA. These agents are unable to shop your coverage around so they have to upsell other benefits. These agents receive extensive training on the products they sell which can be an advantage.

Listed below are Birmingham captive agents who may provide you with price quotes.

  • Farmers Insurance Group - 1305 4th Ave S - Birmingham, AL 35233 - (205) 714-7300
  • GEICO Insurance - 3301 Lorna Road, Suite 2 - Birmingham, AL 35216 - (205) 824-4449
  • Liberty Mutual Insurance - 1200 Corporate Dr - Birmingham, AL 35242 - (205) 995-9883
  • Allstate Insurance - 48 Manning Pl - Birmingham, AL 35242 - (205) 980-6113

Independent Agencies or Brokers

Independent insurance agents are not employed by any specific company so they can insure your vehicles with many different companies and potentially find a lower price. To transfer your coverage to a different company, the agent simply finds a different carrier and that require little work on your part.

When searching for an agent, we recommend you get quotes from multiple independent agents to have the most options to choose from. Many independent agents are members of the Alabama Independent Insurance Agents or AIIA, and their website has agent resources you can use to help find an agent.

Shown below is a list of independent insurance agents in Birmingham who can help you get rate quotes.

  • PAC Insurance Agency, Inc. - Three locations- Birmingham, AL - (205) 823-2037
  • Don Williams Insurance - 1515 Huffman Rd - Birmingham, AL 35215 - (205) 854-1034
  • Brennan Agency - 5120 Selkirk Dr - Birmingham, AL 35242 - (205) 981-0500
  • Gurley-Cooke Agency - 1521 Pinson Valley Pkwy - Birmingham, AL 35217 - (205) 841-4444

To view a full list of auto insurance agents in Birmingham, simply jump to this page.

After receiving positive feedback to any questions you have and an acceptable price quote, you may have just found a car insurance agent that will properly service your auto insurance policy.

Quote more. Save more

Low-cost Birmingham car insurance can be purchased from both online companies in addition to many local insurance agents, and you need to price shop both in order to have the best chance of saving money. A few companies do not provide online quoting and usually these smaller companies provide coverage only through local independent agents.

When buying insurance coverage, don't be tempted to buy poor coverage just to save money. In too many instances, drivers have reduced liability limits or collision coverage to discover at claim time that the savings was not a smart move. The aim is to get the best coverage possible at the best price while not skimping on critical coverages.

Even more information can be found at the Alabama Department of Insurance website. Consumers can find a variety of consumer forms, read enforcement actions against agents and companies, and report car insurance fraud.

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