Can 15 minutes really save you money on car insurance?

WASHINGTON — You’ve seen and heard the ads, like this one from Geico: “Fifteen minutes can save you 15 percent or more on car insurance.”

Car insurance companies make a lot of these claims, but can you really believe them?

Janet Bodnar, editor of Kiplinger Personal Finance magazine, fact-checked different insurance agencies to examine their validity. Geico, she said, is pretty legit with what they say.

“You can do this, but you need to meet certain criteria,” Bodnar said on WTOP.

Those who meet Geico’s criteria qualify for lower insurance premiums.

“If you put in a little more time, maybe even carving out an hour or so to contact several companies, you might be able to save even more. It’s worth putting in a little more time.”

February 3, 2023 | Can you believe those car insurance ads? (Janet Bodnar, editor of Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine)

As for State Farm — you know, the commercials with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers — their “Discount Double Check” claim is also accurate. If you meet certain criteria, of course: you’ve been accident free for the past three years, have more than one car and you’re a new customer.

“You can often qualify for discounts even if you don’t meet that criteria,” Bodnar said.

State Farm and other insurance companies offer discounts to married couples, young motorists who’ve completed a drivers education course and older drivers who’ve completed defensive driving classes.

Progressive Insurance ads — often featuring saleswoman “Flo” — are accurate as well. There, though, drivers can get discounts if they agree to sign for tracking systems that monitor their habits: whether or not they speed, or drive short distances.

“You can save a lot depending on how safe your habits are,” Bodnar said.

Liberty Mutual comes with a few more caveats. Its ads promise that if you total your vehicle, they’ll reimburse you for the cost of a newer vehicle. It costs $75 to $80 per year on top of your rate to have this service.

“So it does pay to check the value of your car,” Bodnar said.

She said check the value of your car in Kelley Blue Book, and compare average prices to see if Liberty’s program is worth it.

AllState’s Accident Forgiveness program is valid, but like Liberty’s program, it’ll cost an extra 10 to 19 percent, depending on the number of accidents you have.

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