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Over the years, we speak with many of our valued clients but with time restraints and the sheer number of clients, it is nearly impossible for us to “touch” everybody annually with a phone conversation but we understand that life changes happen and when they do, let’s not leave a premium saving discount on the table.

 All auto insurance companies offer basic discounts. Some offer higher discounts than other companies for certain things and others offer discounts that others don’t offer. Let’s list some common discounts for you to review. If you see any that you think you may qualify for and aren’t sure whether or not you are receiving the discount, contact us and we’ll check into it for you. These discounts are not in any particular order:finger pushing a button that says "Save Now".

Multi-Car

This one is pretty simple. If you have two or more vehicles on your auto policy, each one gets a discount. It doesn’t matter whether it’s two or twenty cars; they each get the same discount. This is why it is normally a bad idea for couples to each have their own auto policy.

Multi-Policy

 The buzz term you’ll hear on TV is “bundling”. Having two or more policies written with the same insurance company (usually the car and home) gives you a nice discount on both policies. Some companies give a reduced multi-policy discount bundling auto with renters or condo than they do with a home policy. Most of the time, this is the way to go but not always. There are times when one company is good on the auto and another is good on the home which overrides the multi-policy discount.

Good Driver

 This is probably the most misunderstood discount. It is a product of Prop 103 which was passed in California back in 1988. By law, insurance companies that conduct business in California must give a person a 20% good driver discount if that person has been licensed for at least three years (verified), have no more than one minor ticket or one at-fault, no-injury accident within the past three years, and no DUI’s within the past ten years. The driver cannot have had any license suspensions within the previous three years which include those time when there is a suspension due to medical issues (this doesn’t seem entirely fair to me but it’s the current law and they are strict about enforcing it). Another factor is that most preferred driver companies won’t accept any drivers that don’t qualify for the good driver discount though some companies will grandfather some risks by not removing them from the preferred program or cancelling their policy. Losing the 20% good driver discount and getting moved to a standard program can be quite a shock to your budget. It’s important to remember that the insurance company itself has no control over this discount as it is mandated by the state of California.

Persistency

In the old days, this was called a renewal discount. Not as many companies offer this discount anymore and those that do offer less than what I became accustomed to years ago. But, whether or not a persistency discount is offered by a company, most times, it is best to build up some tenure with the company because borderline underwriting decisions can go easier on a long-term client.

Good Student

 This can be a huge discount with some companies. If you have a child of driving age who is a full-time student (12 or more units in a four year college or a full-time high school student) and he or she carries at least a 3.0 grade point average (GPA), they qualify for the good student discount until they turn 24 years of age. It is easy to get a school transcript online these days. I often suggest that parents use this as a carrot for allowing the student access to the car. You want to drive? Get good grades.

Child Away at School

 If you have a child who is more than 100 miles away at school without a car, this entitles you to a discount.

Validated Mileage

 Due to Prop 103, annual mileage is a big factor when California insurance companies calculate a rate for auto insurance. Because it is such a large factor plus the fact that some consumers (and insurance agents) fudge on this number to give themselves an artificial competitive advantage, many companies are offering a discount if you enroll in their validated mileage program. The way it works is you would provide an accurate odometer reading of each car on your policy at the time the policy was purchased or when a car is added to the policy. At figuring the renewal premium, the company can use third party vendors to obtain updated odometer readings based on the readings recorded when you have the oil changed or when you have the car smoged. This gives the company an accurate way to calculate annual mileage and for those who enroll in programs that offer a validated mileage discount, it can lead to savings. The only down side to this is if somebody takes the occasional long trip which puts the normal annual mileage figures out of whack. I believe that more and more companies will move to validated mileage to eliminate inaccuracies and make underwriting each risk more accurate.

Mature Driver

This is a small discount (usually around 2%) given if somebody who is at least 55 years of age completes a mature driver course at the DMV. It don’t recommend taking the class only for the small discount but if you want to sharpen up your driving skills and have the time to take the class, the discount is a nice little bonus. The discount is generally good for three years after taking the class.

Alarm

 Most times, a discount is built into an auto for certain vehicles that have an alarm installed. Companies know which cars have general alarm systems based on the vehicle identification number (VIN) of the car. An additional discount may be given for a beefed-up alarm system such as Prestige, Avital, Python, or Viper those with a GPS system built in such as LoJack.

Occupational

These are diverse discounts conjured up by product managers at the insurance company. Some occupations get discounts such as firefighters, police officers, or teachers while I’ve seen discount given for targeted groups such as CPA’s, Los Angeles based attorneys, credentialed health practitioners who belong to the American Medical Association and other trade groups. We’re not being nosy when we ask about your schooling and occupation. We’re just looking for ways to save you money and discounts are the way to go.

Please remember that discounts can vary from company to company and some companies offer discounts that others don’t offer. We do our best to make sure that you are receiving all of the discounts that you deserve but like I said before, life changes and we don’t always know that you may qualify for a particular discount unless you bring it to our attention. If you’re not sure, contact us!

--Ken May

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