Let’s face it; auto insurance can be confusing, especially when it comes to insuring new vehicles. When trying to look up information surrounding auto insurance in Renton or Bellevue, WA, the internet can be full of myths and misinformation. If you are trying to disseminate fact from fiction the experts at Eastside Insurance Services can help. We have compiled some common insurance myths and facts; we like to think of it as our own insurance version of Mythbusters.

Five auto insurance myths in Washington:

  • Color: Have you always wanted a red car, but never did because you thought it might drive up your auto insurance premium in Renton or Bellevue, WA? Not true. Insurance premiums factor in the make/model, age and power of the vehicle. Premiums are also based on the person being insured. The cost of the vehicle can also influence the price of the premium, as more expensive the car usually the more expensive it is to repair if it is damaged in an accident.
  • Mature Drivers: Heard that once you enter your ‘golden years’ your auto insurance premiums will increase? Not necessarily. Your local, independent insurance agent can assist you with senior discounts or get you resources for defensive driving courses which can also lead to a discount.
  • Optional Coverages: Basic auto insurance in Renton or Bellevue, WA will cover theft or weather-related damage. Claims such as these are only covered under comprehensive coverage. Most car loans require that you carry both comprehensive and collision as these protect the vehicle fully. If your car is getting older and worth less than $1000, you may want to opt-out of these coverages, but you will want to talk this over with your agent before dropping these coverages completely.
  • Loaning your vehicle: Does your best friend need to borrow your car for the day or leaving your mom the car to pick up the kids from school? If they get in an accident, their insurance will cover it, right? Wrong. Typically insurance follows the vehicle, not the driver. However, that is not always the case. Rules and regulations for this specific instance vary by state, so you will need to clarify with your insurance agent before you loan out your vehicle. Additionally someone who has regular access to your vehicle, like a roommate or spouse, should be added to your auto insurance policy to prevent a messy claims process should they be involved in an accident while driving your vehicle.
  • Personal v. Business: Your vehicle is covered under your personal auto insurance policy whether you are using it for pleasure or business. Not entirely accurate. If you are using your vehicle often for business, purposes, a business auto policy may help protect your vehicle more thoroughly. If you are not self-employed but use your personal vehicle for work, make sure you covered by your employer’s commercial auto policy.

While these are the most common myths associated with auto insurance, others are out there.  Your licensed insurance agent in Renton or Bellevue, Washington can assist you with any questions or concerns you may have about your auto insurance policy. The local, independent agents at Eastside Insurance Services can assist you with adding or amending an existing policy or setting you up with a new policy. Their years of insurance experience can save you a bundle. You can also visit their insurance website 24/7 to learn more about auto insurance or the other insurance products they offer like classic car or home insurance.

You get a bill every month (or every six months depending on your preference) for your auto insurance premiums in Renton and Bellevue, WA. Your policy details what is covered and what is not. What it may not detail is how the policy cost was determined. There are many factors that go into an individual auto policy price and likely, no two auto policies are the same since the factors largely depend on the insured driver.

Auto insurance premiums in Washington may be determined by:

Auto Insurance Premiums in Renton and Bellevue, WA

  • Driving History: The most obvious factor is your driving history. Drivers that have accumulated many accidents and tickets typically pay more than those who don’t. Same goes for freshly minted drivers (of any age) and those who have not had insurance for an extended period of time regardless of the circumstance. While some of the factors cannot be mitigated, a few can. Staying alert and following the rules of the road can reduce the likelihood of accidents or tickets, thus potentially reducing the cost of your auto insurance premiums.
  • Age: Age is one of those factors that cannot be helped. The younger you are, they higher risk you are considered. While society considers you an adult between 18 and 21, the insurance industry considers you an adult at the age of 25 which is when insurance premiums tend to drop a bit for the matured driver. Another factor you can’t change? Your gender. In the great battle of the sexes, women take the lead on this one as they tend to be safer drivers as a whole. Women tend to take fewer risks when driving, giving females an advantage when it comes to insurance premiums as they tend to pay less than their male counterparts.
  • Location: Do you live in an area that is prone to car prowls or do you live a significant distance away from work? These are factors that will figure into your insurance premium. Statistically, the more you are on the road, the greater the likelihood that an accident may occur. So if you commute a long way to work (notice on your insurance application they ask you the distance from home to work?) you may incur a higher auto insurance premiums than someone who lives within a few miles of their workplace.
  • Make/Model: While that little red sports car is a tempting buy, you will likely end up paying more for your auto insurance than say a family sedan. Not that you should be discouraged from buying the sports car of your dreams, just make sure you talk to your insurance agent prior to your purchase so you can be aware of the potential rate change.
  • Type of Insurance Plan: Did you go for the “platinum” insurance package? You know the one: maximum coverage and a low deductible? A lower deductible means a higher upfront policy rate. Drivers who opt for the minimum coverages required by law in their state and a higher deductible may pay less for their policy. Make sure you ask your agent about your state’s required insurance coverages!
  • Credit : A final factor that determines car insurance premiums? A credit score. This is kind of a sensitive subject as there are some states like California that forbid the use of a credit information for an insurance policy. A credit score is used to assess risk, the thought being the higher the credit score the lower the risk, but that is not always the case. An overall driving history is the best indicator of risk, regardless of a credit score. You can check with your agent to see if your state allows the use of a credit score in determining insurance policies.

There you have it folks. There are so many factors that influence the cost of auto insurance premiums. Since most policies renew every six months, the cost fluctuates each time depending on your situation. Make sure you let your licensed insurance agent in Renton and Bellevue, Washington know if you purchased a new car, had an accident or ticket, or if you changed your name (marriage, divorce, etc.). The local, independent agents at Eastside Insurance Services can assist you with adding or amending an existing policy or setting you up with a new policy. Their years of insurance experience can save you a bundle. You can also visit their insurance website 24/7 to learn more about auto insurance or the other insurance products they offer like classic car or home insurance.

“You can save hundreds on car insurance in Renton and Bellevue, WA!”  Really?

We’ve all seen the commercials… “Call today and save hundreds!” There is some truth to it, but you’re not going to save over and over until you’re paying nothing.  Take advantage of the cost saving tips below and then stay put! Your insurance company will reward you for staying with them; just make sure that you follow the tips below to save when you’re ready to shop, and if you feel like you’re paying too much, you might be! Here are some tips on saving on home and Auto Insurance Bellevue or Renton, WA.

1.      Shop early

Many companies offer discounts on auto insurance if you shop at least 7 days in advance of your current policy expiration date. This discount varies, but can be as high as 10% and depending on the carrier, can stay on the policy for several years. Companies reward responsible consumers who shop early and pay their bills on-time; they say it is an indication of predicting future losses. Other products may be eligible for an advance shopping discount too. Be sure to ask!


2.      Bundle your policies – but also shop individually!

Bundling your home and auto insurance together in the same place has been touted for years by the likes of State Farm and Allstate, but that’s because they only offer one company. There is still some truth that it can save you money by packaging your home and auto policies together. Statefarm will discount your premium as much as 30% for bundling the two policies together. That said, it doesn’t mean that their rate without the 30% discount is the best. Have your agent quote you out separately as well to ensure that it is best to bundle them together. Some companies offer “mini-packages” where you can put your auto and umbrella with one company (creating a mini-package) and home with another. Talk to you agent about what is best for you.


3.      Go to a local independent agent

Local independent agents offer insurance products through many companies and can save you time by shopping you through all of their companies at once! Think about what your time is worth. Do you really want to spend your time calling several different insurance companies, giving out your personal information over and over just to get a quote? Save yourself the hassle and look for a recommended local independent agent. Keep in mind that some 1-800 companies will not run your MVR (motor vehicle record) prior to issuing your policy. So, if you have any tickets or accidents your rate may be artificially low. They will send you a bill within 30 days for any missing violations or accidents.


4.      Take EFT or pay in full options

By putting your policy for either your home or auto on an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) or paying the policy in full, you can save upwards of 10% off of your premium. Ask your agent about different payment options and how much they differ. You’re paying monthly by mail anyway, might as well save while you pay!


5.      Talk to your friends

Friends love to share when they are able to save money on their insurance or any product for that matter. It makes them feel good! It is human nature to want to help others and feel like an expert at the same time… so start asking who your friends are insured with and maybe you can share this article with them to help them too!


6.      Stay with the same company longer

Insurance companies now offer longevity credits for loyal customers. They know it is far better to retain a current customer than it is to attract a new one. Stay with a company longer and they will often reward you with perks such as accident forgiveness, better rates and disappearing deductibles! It is also good to touch base with your agent once a year to see if there are any new discounts too.


7.      Keep your credit in good health

Like it or not, your credit has an incredible influence on your insurance premiums. Insurance companies say that credit is a good indicator of future losses.  Credit improved lately? Your insurance company can often re-run your credit with your permission to see if you’re eligible for a better rate.


8.      Previous insurance limits

Those low policy limits may be hurting you. If you tend to select lower than 50/100 liability limits on your policy (we’d always recommend at least 100/300; ask us why) you will be penalized if you go to another carrier. When a new insurance company takes you on as a customer, they will actually tier you based partially on your previous insurance limits. Come to them with low limits and they will penalize you and your premium will be higher. Consider raising your limits. Not only is this a good idea to save money, it is a good idea to protect you financially in the unfortunate case of an accident.


9.      Raise your deductibles

Are you carrying low deductibles? You’re paying more for it. While everyone is different on how they want to use their insurance, consider this: Do you really want to make a claim for less than $500? This could affect your premiums in the future, even if you’re not at fault! Talk to your insurance agent about what is the best option for you.


10.   House rebuilding cost is different than what you paid for it.

This is a big one! Many people think that what they paid for their home is what they need to insure it for. Of course you want to protect it and have it rebuilt in the unfortunate even of a fire or possible storm damage. However, when you insure your home for what you paid for it, you’re taking into consideration the value of the land. The average property has 30-40% of the value in the land. Most insurance agencies will use a cost estimator for the rebuild value of the home, but then will talk to you about it. Make sure you don’t include the value of the land.


11.   Avoid being a claims magnet

We see people all the time turn in theft or vandalism claims for stolen personal effects in their vehicles. Not only are those personal effects usually not covered (iPods, cds, cameras) the claim usually stems from them leaving it visible on the seat of the vehicle that was damaged. If you have an iPod or other MP3 device in your vehicle, consider stuffing it below your seat or putting it in the glove box out of sight. Furthermore, always talk to you agent BEFORE you turn in a claim so they have the opportunity to help with the claims process.


12.   When shopping for a new car or house, consider the cost to insure it first!

According to insure.com, the most expensive vehicles to insure are late model luxury sedans and suv’s. The least expensive are your conservative sedans and minivans. Many companies offer free insurance quotes for vehicle changes and you can often access right online through your insurance provider.  

When looking at purchasing a new home, consider if it is near any creeks or bodies of water as your mortgage broker may require you to carry flood insurance which can run into the thousands of dollars a year. While that sound of water is tranquil, it will likely increase your insurance premiums to be near it. Get a quote before making an offer!

Education level

Like it or not, insurance carriers have started giving discounts on their products based off of how much education you’ve received. Have some college and you get a larger discount than someone with a high school diploma. Have a graduate degree and get the largest discounts available (usually only around 1-3%).


14.   Ticket falling off soon? Ask for an MVR review!

Make sure you tell your agent about this. Penalties can vary greatly, but it isn’t unusual for them to be in excess of 50% increase in your premiums. 1st tickets aren’t as heavily penalized as the 2nd or 3rd. If you have a ticket coming off of your insurance the carrier can often do an MVR review (depending on your state). Keep in mind, if the company reviews your MVR, they may find additional tickets that you haven’t told them about, so if you’ve recently received another, it may be best to keep quiet.


15.   Other items to consider:

  1. Simply by adding an umbrella to your auto policy can almost cover the cost of the umbrella itself!
  2. If you have youthful operators in the house, they may be eligible for a good student driver discount.
  3. Mature driver (55+)? Some companies offer discounts for mature drivers who have completed a safety course lately. To find one near you, just type in “Mature Driver Course” into Google and you will find many!