By: Crystal Callahan-Estes
CLC Insurance Agency, Inc.
Crystal, a native of St. Petersburg, Florida, started her insurance career by obtaining her Life License and Series 6 in 2001. She then transitioned into a Customer Service role at a captive Nationwide Agency in Largo, FL and obtained her 440 license shortly after joining the agency. After the acquisition of the Nationwide agency in 2007, she pursued her 220 and moved through various roles in the agency such as Commercial Lines Service Representative, Commercial Lines Producer & Director of Operations. To further her insurance knowledge, she obtained her CIC designation in 2016. Most recently she opened an independent agency in Largo, FL focusing on Personal Lines and Commercial Insurance.
In today’s world, it is easier now than ever to take the lead on purchasing auto coverage online, like we do many other necessities. I am sure you recognize the slogan XX minutes could save you XX% on car insurance. If you have never spoken with an agent, you probably spent a short amount of time, went online and even may have used a price compare tool, but you may not have gotten the best rate. Although this may be convenient, computers cannot ask the right questions an agent can. If you have spoken with an agent, you know they ask questions. Let’s talk about why that is.
In order to really maximize the number of discounts you can potentially receive on your auto policy, it’s important to be prepared. Be patient – it will pay off. Make sure to set aside some time in order to provide this information to the agent preparing a quote for you. In addition to setting aside time, ensure you are using an independent agent. Independent agents are not married to just one company. Instead, they have access to several different companies and those companies look for different things. I have listed some key pieces of information below that will affect your rate that most people don’t consider.
How Long Have You Been with Your Current Insurance Company?
The amount of time you have been with your previous insurance company matters. Before you start the quoting process make sure you know how long you’ve been with your previous insurance company. If you’re not sure, call the insurance carrier or agency and simply ask. Why does this matter? Loyalty shows stability and insurance carriers like stability. If you have a history of switching your coverage at every renewal, you are more likely to do the same when you switch your coverage to the new carrier. Therefore, if you show you have been with your current company for more than one term, they have built in rating factors behind the scenes that will provide you with a better rate. For example, there is one company writing business in Florida that has different rating levels based on the amount of continuous insurance previously held with the same carrier.
What is Your Highest Level of Education?
Not all insurance carriers will offer a discount for having a college degree, but some do, so be sure to mention if you have a college degree, vocational degree, or military training if your agent doesn’t ask this question.
When Does your Current Insurance Coverage Expire?
Another way to save money is to ensure you’re not waiting until the last minute to shop your coverage. Some companies offer an Advance Quoting Discount if you obtain a quote at least 7 days prior to your coverage expiration date. My advice is to start the quote process at least 3 to 4 weeks before your current coverage expires.
How Long Have You Owned your Current Vehicle?
Just the other day I was in a training webinar that broke this one down for me. Basically, if you are the original purchaser of your vehicle and have owned it for years you know how that vehicle operates in inclement weather and just in general. You also know the service history of that vehicle. Therefore, this transfers into yet another rating factor that will produce a lower rate with some carriers.
Other Common Discounts
In addition to the not so common discounts or rating factors mentioned above, I’ve also listed some of the discounts below you may or may not already know about.
Good Student Discount: A discount given by some auto insurers if a student driver maintains a certain grade point average (e.g., 3.0) or is named to the honor roll or dean's list. Such discounts can range from 5 percent to 15 percent.
Accident Free Discount: No at fault accidents typically for 5 years.
Trained Driver Discount: Driver’s ed for teens and defensive driver for mature drivers.
Multi-Car Discount: Insuring multiple cars with the same carrier
Pay In Full Discount: Great way to save money on your auto insurance and rack up those credit card airline miles.
Home Ownership: If you own a home, you could qualify for a discount.
Electronic Document Delivery: Save the trees and save money at the same time.
Electric Vehicle: Some companies offer a discount for driving an electric vehicle as well.
As you can see, a little bit of preparation in advance can save you money in the long run. Don’t leave it up to the agent quoting your business to guess certain items of information if it’s not readily available. You will be cutting yourself short in the long run!
You can reach Crystal here:
Office: 727-500-2636 Direct: 727-500-1575