6 Best Methods to Slash Car Insurance Costs in Columbia South Carolina

Are you overwhelmed by the dozens of car insurance company choices in Columbia? Lot’s of other consumers are too. People have so many options that it can turn into a real hassle to find lower rates.

It’s a good habit to shop coverage around at least once a year because insurance rates are adjusted regularly by insurance companies. Just because you found the best deal a couple years back a different company probably has better rates today. Don’t believe everything you read about car insurance on the web, but by reading this article, you’re going to learn the best ways to find affordable car insurance.

Policy discounts you shouldn’t miss

Properly insuring your vehicles can get expensive, but discounts can save money and there are some available to help bring down the price. A few discounts will automatically apply when you quote, but some may not be applied and must be manually applied before you get the savings.

  • Anti-lock Brakes – Cars that have steering control and anti-lock brakes can avoid accidents and earn discounts up to 10%.
  • Seat Belts Save more than Lives – Buckling up and requiring all passengers to buckle their seat belts can save up to 15% off your medical payments premium.
  • Safe Drivers – Safe drivers can pay as much as 50% less than drivers with accidents.
  • Theft Prevention System – Vehicles with anti-theft systems are stolen less frequently and therefore earn up to a 10% discount.
  • Government Employees – Simply working for the federal government could cut as much as 10% off with certain companies.
  • One Accident Forgiven – Some insurance companies permit an accident before hitting you with a surcharge if you are claim-free for a particular time prior to the accident.

Keep in mind that some credits don’t apply the the whole policy. Most only cut the price of certain insurance coverages like comprehensive or collision. So when the math indicates it’s possible to get free car insurance, you won’t be that lucky. Any qualifying discounts will reduce the amount you have to pay.

To choose providers with the best car insurance discounts in Columbia, click this link.

Cheap Columbia Car Insurance Comparisons

There are several ways to compare quotes from local in Columbiacar insurance companies. The fastest way to find the cheapest insurance rates consists of shopping online. It is quite easy and can be accomplished in just a few minutes using one of these methods.

  1. One of the simplest ways to compare a lot of rates at once is a comparison rater form click here to open form in new window. This type of form saves time by eliminating a different quote for each company you want a rate for. A single form gets rate comparisons . Just one form and you’re done.
  2. A more time consuming way to find lower rates requires a trip to the website for each individual company to complete their respective quote request forms. For examples sake, we’ll assume you want to compare Progressive, Safeco and Travelers. To get each rate you have to spend time on each company’s site and enter your policy data, which is why most consumers use the first method. To view a list of companies in Columbia, click here.
  3. The least recommended way to compare rates is driving around to local Columbia insurance agencies. Buying insurance online can eliminate the need for a local agent unless you require the professional advice of a local Columbia agent. You can, however, compare the best prices online but still have the advice of a local agent. We’ll cover that shortly.

Which method you use is up to you, but ensure you’re using exactly the same deductibles and coverage limits for each comparison quote. If each company quotes higher or lower deductibles it’s not possible to determine the lowest rate in Columbia. Just a small difference in limits can mean a large discrepancy in price. And when price shopping your coverage, quoting more helps locate a better price.

But I want to work with a local agent

Some people would prefer to sit down with an agent and that is OK! The biggest benefit of comparing rates online is the fact that you can find lower rates and still choose a local agent. And providing support for local businesses is important particularly in Columbia.

Once you complete this quick form, the quote information is transmitted to insurance agents in Columbia who will return price quotes to get your business. You won’t need to drive around since price quotes are sent immediately to your email address. You’ll get the best rates and an insurance agent to talk to.

Columbia auto insurance agents come in two flavors

If you’re trying to find a good insurance agency, you need to know there are two types of agencies that you can select. Agents are classified as either captive or independent (non-captive).

Independent Agencies or Brokers

Independent agencies are not employed by any specific company so they can insure your vehicles with multiple insurance companies depending on which coverage is best. If your agent finds better pricing, the agent simply finds a different carrier and you don’t have to find a new agent.

When comparison shopping, it’s recommended you get quotes from at least one independent agent for the best price selection. They often place coverage with smaller regional carriers which may provide better rates.

Listed below is a short list of independent insurance agencies in Columbia willing to provide comparison quotes.

  • Davenport Insurance Solutions – 1 Windsor Cove Suite 106 – Columbia, SC 29223 – (803) 699-1947
  • Adams Agency Inc – 312 Long Pointe Ln – Columbia, SC 29229 – (803) 772-6978
  • Heard Agency – 1608 Decker Blvd – Columbia, SC 29206 – (803) 787-8881
  • Groome Insurance – 115 Schooner Ln – Columbia, SC 29212 – (803) 781-7987
  • Rivers Agency – 1901 Bull St – Columbia, SC 29201 – (803) 254-0133
Captive Insurance Agents

This type of agents have only one company to place business with such as AAA, State Farm, Farmers Insurance and Allstate. They usually cannot shop your coverage around so it’s a take it or leave it situation. Captive agencies are usually quite knowledgeable on the products they sell which helps them sell insurance even at higher premiums. Consumers frequently purchase coverage from captives mostly because of loyalty to the company and the convenience of having a single billing for all their coverages.

Shown below is a list of captive agencies in Columbia who can help you get rate quotes.

  • State Farm Insurance – 2724 N Lake Dr – Columbia, SC 29212 – (803) 781-9923
  • Farm Bureau Insurance – 960 George Rogers Blvd – Columbia, SC 29201 – (803) 799-0655
  • Allstate Insurance – 3201 N Beltline Blvd – Columbia, SC 29204 – (803) 799-1178

To view a complete directory of captive insurance agencies in Columbia, click here to link.Columbia SC insurance prices

Picking an auto insurance agent needs to be determined by more than just a cheap price. These are valid questions to ask:

  • Can they provide you with a list of referrals?
  • Do they make recommendations based only on price?
  • Do they have any clout with companies to ensure a fair claim settlement?
  • Are claims handled at the agent’s location?
  • Do you have coverage for a rental car if your vehicle is in the repair shop?
  • Do they assist clients in filing claims?
  • Are you getting all the discounts the company offers?
  • What are the financial ratings for the companies they represent?

Once you have positive feedback and a low price estimate, chances are good that you have found an auto insurance agent that meets your needs to provide car insurance coverage. But remember, you can always terminate your policy at any point so don’t assume you’re contractually obligated to a specific agent with no way out.

Switch companies and save? Really?

Companies like 21st Century, Allstate and State Farm regularly use ads on TV and radio. All the ads have a common claim that you’ll save big if you move to their company. How do they all say the same thing?

All the different companies can use profiling for the type of driver they prefer to insure. An example of a desirable insured could possibly be a mature driver, has no prior claims, and drives newer vehicles. A customer getting a price quote that hits that “sweet spot” will qualify for the lowest rates and most likely will save quite a bit of money when switching.

Drivers who do not match the requirements must pay a more expensive rate which usually ends up with the driver buying from a lower-cost company. Company advertisements say “customers that switch” not “everybody who quotes” save that much. That’s the way insurance companies can make those claims.

This illustrates why it is so important to compare many company’s rates. It is impossible to predict which insurance companies will give you the biggest savings.

Car insurance coverage considerations

Knowing the specifics of your car insurance policy can be of help when determining which coverages you need at the best deductibles and correct limits. Car insurance terms can be impossible to understand and nobody wants to actually read their policy.

Medical expense coverage

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and medical payments coverage reimburse you for short-term medical expenses such as prosthetic devices, X-ray expenses, nursing services and hospital visits. They are often utilized in addition to your health insurance policy or if you lack health insurance entirely. It covers both the driver and occupants as well as being hit by a car walking across the street. Personal injury protection coverage is not available in all states and gives slightly broader coverage than med pay

Comprehensive protection

This pays for damage that is not covered by collision coverage. You first must pay your deductible then the remaining damage will be covered by your comprehensive coverage.

Comprehensive insurance covers things like falling objects, a broken windshield, damage from getting keyed, fire damage and rock chips in glass. The most you can receive from a comprehensive claim is the actual cash value, so if it’s not worth much more than your deductible it’s probably time to drop comprehensive insurance.

Uninsured or underinsured coverage

Your UM/UIM coverage provides protection from other motorists when they either have no liability insurance or not enough. It can pay for medical payments for you and your occupants and also any damage incurred to your vehicle.

Since many South Carolina drivers carry very low liability coverage limits (25/50/25), it only takes a small accident to exceed their coverage. So UM/UIM coverage should not be overlooked. Most of the time these limits do not exceed the liability coverage limits.

Collision protection

Collision insurance will pay to fix damage to your vehicle caused by collision with another vehicle or an object, but not an animal. You first must pay a deductible and the rest of the damage will be paid by collision coverage.

Columbia South Carolina insurance ad

Collision coverage protects against claims like sideswiping another vehicle, colliding with another moving vehicle, crashing into a ditch and crashing into a building. Paying for collision coverage can be pricey, so consider removing coverage from vehicles that are 8 years or older. Drivers also have the option to choose a higher deductible to save money on collision insurance.

Liability car insurance

Liability insurance can cover injuries or damage you cause to people or other property that is your fault. Coverage consists of three different limits, bodily injury per person, bodily injury per accident and property damage. You commonly see limits of 25/50/25 which stand for a $25,000 limit per person for injuries, a per accident bodily injury limit of $50,000, and property damage coverage for $25,000. Another option is a combined limit which combines the three limits into one amount without having the split limit caps.

Liability can pay for claims such as medical services, court costs and medical expenses. How much coverage you buy is a decision to put some thought into, but consider buying higher limits if possible. South Carolina state law requires minimum liability limits of 25,000/50,000/25,000 but it’s recommended drivers buy more coverage.

Shop smart and save

Insureds who switch companies do it for any number of reasons including high rates after DUI convictions, being labeled a high risk driver, policy non-renewal or even lack of trust in their agent. Regardless of your reason for switching companies, switching companies can be pretty painless.

When you buy insurance online, do not buy poor coverage just to save money. There are too many instances where someone sacrificed physical damage coverage and discovered at claim time they didn’t purchase enough coverage. The ultimate goal is to purchase plenty of coverage at an affordable rate while still protecting your assets.

We just covered some good ideas how you can get a better price on car insurance. The most important thing to understand is the more companies you get rates for, the more likely it is that you will get a better rate. You may even discover the lowest priced car insurance comes from a small mutual company.

More information can be read on the South Carolina Department of Insurance website through this link. South Carolina consumers can learn about specific coverages, file complaints about a company, find disaster information, and download brochures.