11 Car Insurance Secrets Your Carrier Doesn’t Want You to Know in Alabama
Alabama is one of the most beautiful states to drive through. Maybe you want to scope out the natural beauty of Auburn’s rolling hills or check out the breathtaking urban landscape of Birmingham. Let’s not forget the fun in the sun of a trip to Orange Beach!
Nothing takes the fun out of your road trip quicker than a car accident. Filing a claim and dealing with insurance companies can be very stressful. That is, unless you know the right car insurance secrets.
What do you think your own Alabama insurance carrier hopes you don’t find out? Here’s 11 secrets your insurance carrier doesn’t want you to know!
1. Your Car Affects How Much You Pay for Auto Insurance
Even if you’re the safest driver in Alabama, your choice of car can affect how much you pay for insurance. Your carrier is going to consider several different factors about the car.
For example, the car’s make and model will be considered, with expensive cars being more expensive to insure than cheaper cars. If the car has a high safety rating, it can drive your premium down; otherwise, the premium can go up. If you drive a type of car that tends to get stolen, this also affects your rate.
2. Claims Drive Your Car Insurance Rate Up
Insurance companies encourage you to file a claim when you get into an accident. However, did you know that filing a claim typically drives your premium up?
Because of this, it may be worth it to pay out of pocket for minor damage to your car. Otherwise, you could end up paying more over time after your insurance increases.
Another incentive to not file for minor claims is that you may be able to qualify for a “no claims bonus” discount. With such a discount, you’ll pay less on your premium.
3. Where You Live in Alabama Affects Your Car Insurance Premium
Some of the things affecting your insurance rate are harder to change than others. For example, where you live in Alabama actually affects your premium!
Sometimes, the insurance rate is higher in Alabama cities with a larger population. The logic is simple: There are more drivers in larger cities, so you are more likely to get into an accident.
The insurance company also looks into whether the state has a high percentage of uninsured drivers and whether your area has a long history of accidents, thefts, and claims. Long story short? If you live in an area in Alabama where the insurance company is likelier to have to pay out for a claim, your carrier passes those extra costs along to you.
4. Insurance Discounts Are Easy to Qualify For in Alabama
Earlier, we touched on the fact that not filing claims can help you qualify for a “no claims bonus” discount. However, you can get cheap car insurance in Alabama with other car insurance discounts, too.
There are discounts for things like safe driving and good grades. If you don’t drive as much anymore, there are discounts for infrequent driving. You can even get discounts for installing certain anti-theft devices in your car.
Once a discount is active, it helps you save money on your premium each month. Keep in mind that you won’t know exactly which discounts your insurance carrier offers until you ask them.
5. Adding a Teenage Driver Will Raise Your Premiums
If you have a child, they’ll eventually need to learn how to drive. Once you add them to the family insurance policy, you can expect your premium to really shoot up.
That’s because, statistically speaking, teenagers are the most dangerous drivers and likeliest to get into car accidents. The insurance carrier considers covering a teenage driver something of a heightened risk, hence the higher premium.
You can defray some of these costs by asking your carrier about discounts for multiple drivers and possibly discounts for your child having good grades. Ultimately, your best bet may be to find another carrier so you can save money (more on this later).
6. Claims Can Be Rejected Due to Carelessness
Filing an insurance claim is relatively simple. But if you file a claim due to your own carelessness, that claim can get rejected.
For example, a common occurrence is that someone leaves their keys in the car and then the car gets stolen. The driver files a claim for a stolen vehicle. In this case, the insurance company may decide the driver acted in an irresponsible manner and refuse to pay anything.
The lesson here is simple: Insurance is no replacement for common sense, and it’s important to not leave your car in a vulnerable position.
7. Car Loan Providers May Affect Your Car Insurance Rates
We often get the question “How much car insurance in Alabama do I need?” Typically, the answer is the state-required minimum. If you are paying for your car via a bank loan or other financing, the lender may have additional requirements.
For example, the minimum mandatory insurance in Alabama is liability insurance, which is the kind that pays out if you cause an accident. If you were the one at fault, though, liability insurance does nothing to pay for your own car.
If you got a car loan through a bank to pay for the vehicle, the bank may require you to get additional insurance (such as collision and comprehensive insurance). This can be annoying, but for what it’s worth, we always recommend getting more than the minimum insurance to protect your car.
8. It’s Better to Get Your Car Repaired “In Network”
If your car is damaged and you file a claim, the next step seems simple enough: get your car repaired. How smoothly this process goes may depend on where you take your car in Alabama for repairs.
The insurance carrier will recommend several local places. If you go to one of these places, you can get a “cashless” claim, which means the insurance carrier pays for it. If you go somewhere out of network, you’ll need to first pay for repairs out of pocket and then get reimbursed by your carrier.
Keep in mind that you must still pay the mandatory deductible to get the car repaired. In this way, “cashless” claims are not completely cashless.
9. Accidents Stay on Your Record for Seven Years
One of the biggest factors affecting your insurance in Alabama is your driving record. For example, if you get into a lot of car accidents, your insurance is going to be more expensive than somebody who rarely (if ever) gets into accidents.
You may be wondering if old accidents ever “fall off” your record. While they do, keep in mind that, in most cases, accidents stay on your file for seven years. If you want cheaper insurance, you are better off driving safe and, if you’re lucky, qualifying for a safe driver discount.
10. Credit Score Impacts Your Premium Cost in Alabama
Just as the insurance carrier cares about your record of car accidents, they care about your credit score in Alabama. A negative credit score can cause you to pay more for insurance than if you had a positive score.
As with car accidents, most of the negative things on your credit score fall off after seven years. If you want to improve your score right away, we recommend signing up for a free credit monitoring service. These services will tell you what your current score is and make recommendations for how you can improve it.
Once you have access to your report, you can also see if anything on your record is incorrect. By disputing these things, you can instantly boost your score.
11. Always Contact Your Carrier in Alabama Before Repairing the Car
Have you gotten into an accident and want to file a claim? If so, it’s vitally important that you contact the insurance carrier before you have your car repaired.
That’s because your insurance company needs to see how bad the damage to your car is before they can reimburse the claim. If you get the car repaired first, they have no way to survey the damage and are likely to reject your claim outright.
Get the Most Affordable Car Insurance Rates in Alabama Today
One thing that every driver in Alabama has in common is that they want to pay less for car insurance. But what if paying less for insurance was as easy as clicking a button?
The best way to save money on your car insurance is to “shop around” and discover better rate offers. Here at USAgencies, we take pride in offering Alabama residents the most competitive rates and coverage. If you’re ready to get the best car insurance, request a quote online. Or you can come visit us at the nearest office. Finally, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call us at 800-420-3712.