Charlotte Car Insurance

Charlotte Car Insurance

Comparing Car Insurance Rates in Charlotte, NC? 

I am going to tell you the best way to do it and how to get the best rates on your Charlotte car insurance.

Since we represent most of the insurance companies available in Charlotte, we know a thing or two about car insurance here.  Who has the best rates in Charlotte?  We will tell you. There are several factors that are considered when rating auto insurance.  We will discuss those and some ways you can save the most money on your car insurance rates.

comparing car insurance

Shopping Charlotte Auto Insurance Companies

You would need a crystal ball to know which insurance company is going to offer you the best rates.  The only way to truly know is to quote every single company that sells car insurance in NC.  We know you don’t have time for that.  So what is the next best option?  Your best bet is to find an independent insurance agency that represents the most companies.  We shop to find our clients the best rates.  In order to win more than 70% of the time, we have to represent the majority of insurance companies in Charlotte.  It is just the law of numbers.  

Don’t focus on bundling with one company.  In most cases you can fall into a trap on that.  The reason is, it is unlikely that one company will offer you the best rate on your auto insurance, home insurance, business insurance and motorcycle insurance.  If a company is low on car insurance, they will likely be higher on one of those other lines.  They typically have to make up for low rates on one policy with higher rates on another.  

An independent insurance agency can spread your policies around to the best company on each line of business.  They can also offer bundle discounts, in many cases, just for having your other policies with the agency.  The end result is you save the most money on each policy.  That is what we do with our own policies and that is what we do with our clients as well.

Even if you could find one place online that you could quote all companies yourself (you can’t), you don’t always know everything you need to know regarding the insurance coverage.  That is why it is imperative to find an agent you can trust to do it for you.  One that has your best interests at heart and can provide all of the insurance discounts needed to offer you the best rate.

So you found an agent that can help you shop multiple companies.  What is next?  We will discuss what factors play a role in getting you the best rate in Charlotte, NC.

Charlotte Insurance Rates by Zip Code

In the past in NC, zip codes played a much smaller role in car insurance rates.  Today the rates can be vastly different.  There is a lot of data that is looked at to determine what zip codes should have higher rates and which should be lower.  They look at the chances of accidents and theft when making these determinations.  

I can’t say I agree with the actuaries completely on this.  I agree they should play small role, but we have seen rates go up as much as 30% when a client moves from a preferable zip code to one that is higher rated.  First of all, the zip codes in Charlotte are pretty large.  In many cases there are pockets where the accidents and thefts are occurring much more than other areas within the same zip code.  In addition, very few people work in the same zip code that they live in.  This work address isn’t picked up on the risk and we all spend a significant time at work which leads to our vehicles spending time there too.  It isn’t just the commute either.  If you go out for lunch or to run errands during a break, you may be more likely to have a loss around work than home.

For those that live outside of Charlotte, your rates are cheaper.  If you live in Concord, Harrisburg, Waxhaw, Matthews, etc then you will see a significant rate reduction then those living in Charlotte.  This is true even if you work in Charlotte.  Below is a breakdown of some of the higher and lower zip codes.

Cheapest Charlotte Zip Codes:  27277, 28227, 28226, 28210
Highest Charlotte Zip Codes:  28216, 28262, 28269, 28213

Charlotte Population

Charlotte, NC is the 16th largest city in the nation.  We are just above Indianapolis and just under San Francisco.  The estimated population as of 2019 is 872,500.  This is a 19% increase in just 9 years.  To say that Charlotte is growing is an understatement.  In fact, Charlotte, NC is the 5th fastest growing city in the US behind Phoenix, AZ; San Antonio, TX; Fort Worth, TX; and Seattle, WA.

With population increases like these, along come increases in crime and accidents as well.  These things will dramatically effect car insurance rates.  Each time companies take large losses, they will raise rates to incorporate their profit margins in what is called loss ratio.  Insurance companies are in the business of making money after all.  If they incur more losses, the only other option is to raise rates to lower their loss ratio and increase their profitability.

Charlotte Insurance Driving Experience Years

The number of years you have had your license has the largest impact on your rates.  The reason for this is statistics overwhelmingly show a correlation for new drivers and accidents.  Currently the inexperience rating factor is incremental starting with 0 years experience and phasing out at 3 years.  This means that you pay the highest when you have under 1 year of experience and your rates go down for each year you have been licensed.  

A lot of people believe car insurance is rated based on your age.  This isn’t true.  It is solely based on when you first obtained your license.  This means if you first got your license at the age of 40, you will still pay higher rates as if you were 16 years old.  

Keep a watchful eye on the House Bill HB 221 that is in the NC General Assembly currently.  If approved, this will increase the number of years that you can face higher inexperienced rates in addition to charging any violations of 4+ points for a longer number of years.

Charlotte Insurance with Tickets and Claims 

accidents and insurance

The quickest way to raise your insurance rates is to cause an accident or to get a speeding ticket.  Your car insurance rates can go up 30-40% just for one of those unfortunate events.  The more you get, the more your rate goes up.

Accidents are settled as either not-at-fault, 1 point, 2 points, or 3 points.  The more points an accident is, the higher surcharge on your auto insurance policy.  You need to weigh this when you decide whether to file a small claim or not.  Depending on the company’s underwriting guidelines, this can effect you for 3 years or as much 5 years.  

Other Discounts on your Charlotte Car Insurance

There are many factors that effect your rate on Charlotte car insurance other than your driving experience, zip code, vehicle and driving record.  Some may surprise you.  I will mention several with explanations

Credit Rating

Most companies will adjust rates depending on your credit rating.  If you have worked hard to maintain excellent credit, then this will be very pleasing to you.  If you haven’t, then not so much.  Either way most companies will rate based on this factor.  Favorable credit can save you hundreds of dollars per year so it pays to clean it up if your credit rating is less than stellar.

Marital Status

That’s right.  Your marital status can effect your rate as well.  Marriage is more than just blissful love and tax benefits.  It will also save you on your auto insurance as well.

Incident Free Discount

This one is relatively new.  It used to be that if you were involved in an accident that was not your fault, it would not impact your rate in any way.  Not so anymore.  A lot of companies will give you an additional discount if you have had no driving incidents.  This includes being free of not-at-fault accidents, waived speeding tickets and accidents, and even those improper equipment rulings you paid your attorney to get you out of that speeding ticket.  These items don’t vastly increase your rates but it will make a difference with many companies.  It is always helpful if your driving history is blemish free.

Gender

This one is new in NC as well.  Other states have rated males higher for quite some time now.  Yes even way back when I got my license this was the case.  NC did not base rates on gender at all for a long time.  They do now.  It isn’t excessive, but you pay a little more.  Females do typically mature faster than males and statistics don’t lie.

Length of Prior Insurance

Having prior insurance will impact your rates.  Some companies won’t write your policy at all without prior insurance.  Others give larger discounts if you have had it.  Still others look at the length of prior insurance with your previous insurance company.  Call it a loyalty credit for how long you were with your prior company.  The new company hopes you will do the same with them.  Most insurance companies don’t make any money until you renew your policy after all.  This is due to the increasingly higher costs of doing business and the expenses of running motor vehicle reports.

 

10 Largest Auto Insurance Companies in NC

Top Charlotte Insurance Companies

Below is the list of the largest companies in NC by market share on written premium. Combined they make up over 86% of the market share in NC.  After these top 10, it is very much spread out from there.  

  1. State Farm
  2. Geico
  3. Nationwide
  4. National General
  5. NC Farm Bureau
  6. Allstate
  7. USAA
  8. Progressive
  9. Erie Insurance
  10. Liberty Mutual

Top Charlotte Insurance Companies by Risk Type

Charlotte car insurance has become more complicated to rate than ever before.  When shopping our clients in the past, we could very intuitively choose which company will win on a certain risk type.  Due to an increased number of rating factors, it is much harder to guess which companies will be the best with each risk type.  With that said we will give several scenarios along with the insurance company that would likely offer the best rates in Charlotte.  

Experienced drivers with excellent credit, prior insurance, and no prior driving incidents:

  • National General
  • Progressive
  • Geico

Driver with a DWI conviction:

  • National General
  • Dairyland
  • Progressive

Mom and Dad with a child in the household that is a new driver:

  • Travelers
  • National General

Driver with 3 or more accidents in the last 3 years:

  • Dairyland

Clean driver with previous military service:

  • USAA

NC Minimum Liability Requirements

North Carolina has minimum liability requirements of $30,000 bodily injury each person, $60,000 bodily injury each accident, and $25,000 property damage each accident.  These split limits are commonly referred to as 30/60/25 in shorthand. 

These limits have been the same for way too long.  In today’s dollars, these amounts don’t go too far.  We recommend having at least 100/300/100 on your policy.  A large percentage of vehicles purchased new are well over the $25,000 minimum property damage required.  That that means is if you hit a car over $25,000, you are responsible for the rest.  

At the very least you should purchase one step up from the minimum 30/60/25 limits and choose 50/100/50.  Some people will try to protect themselves with limits 250/500/100 and further protect themselves with an umbrella policy over top of that.  I believe the small change in premium is worth the peace of mind that you are covered if an accident occurs.  Also, companies increase your discount for having prior insurance if your limits were higher with your previous insurance company.

Charlotte Car Insurance Rate Compared to NC and the US

NC has some of the cheapest auto insurance rates in the nation.  In fact compared to the rest of the United States, we are the 5th lowest in the nation.  Charlotte just happens to have some of the highest rates in NC though.  As stated earlier, this becomes much more complicated when zip codes are taken into consideration.  Some of the lower zip codes in Charlotte may see lower rates than higher zip codes in other towns, even though that town itself offers lower overall rates than Charlotte does.  

To conclude, there are more factors used to rate an auto insurance policy today then ever before.  Insurance actuaries are always trying to find new ways at assessing risk.  This means that shopping for car insurance rates are harder now as well.  It is probably more important now than ever to have a knowledgeable agent as your advocate to ensure you are getting the best rates.  We have saved our customers hundreds and even thousands of dollars by using our vast knowledge and number of insurance companies to their advantage.  

If we can help you with your car insurance or answer any further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 704-494-9495.

Charlotte Motorcycle Insurance

Charlotte Motorcycle Insurance

We would like to discuss some important Charlotte motorcycle insurance topics to consider before you purchase the best motorcycle insurance policy available at the best possible rates.
When it comes to protecting yourself and your property, there are few policies more crucial to get right than motorcycle insurance.  There are several similarities to auto insurance but a few crucial differences.  You want to cover your bike, but more importantly, you need to consider your bodily injury if you are in an accident.

LIABILITY INSURANCE

We highly recommend choosing a higher bodily injury limit with matching un/uninsured motorist coverage.  If you are in an accident in an auto, you certainly have a risk of sustaining serious injury or death.  On a bike, your risk is significantly higher.  
We recommend choosing at least a limit of $100,000 bodily injury each person and $300,000 each accident.  If you hit another rider on a bike, you want to protect yourself with the highest limit possible to prevent yourself from being sued where your limits stop.  The current state required limits in NC are $30,000 each person and $60,000 each accident.  These limits can easily be exhausted very quickly if a rider is thrown from their bike and you are liable.
 

UNINSURED AND UNDERINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE

Be sure to choose the highest limit you can here.  I can think of a couple of incidents where we have had clients with this coverage, at our recommendation, and have been extremely happy these limits were chosen.  There is a high number of drivers on the road that carry minimum limits of liability, or worse, are driving uninsured.  If this happens, then you want to make sure your limits kick in and pay where the other driver’s limits leave off.  

COMPREHENSIVE AND COLLISION COVERAGE

This coverage is very similar to auto insurance.  One area worth mentioning is comprehensive coverage though.  Especially with sport bikes, theft is a major cause of loss.  Make sure that you are protected with the proper comprehensive coverage to protect you if your bike is stolen.  
You may also have a concern that your bike is not being covered for the value you have in it.  Most policies only cover the NADA value which includes depreciation.  We have companies that offer the true replacement of your bike. This can include additional aftermarket alterations made to your bike at a limit you choose.  This is especially important with custom motorcycles.

PERSONAL ITEMS

Some of our carriers offer coverage for your personal items from being damaged or stolen. This can include helmets, jackets, or other personal items. 

MEDICAL PAYMENTS

A lot of companies may not offer coverage for your medical payments.  It is important that you choose a company that will offer you this coverage if this is important to you.  The medical payment limit covers both you and your passengers at the amount chosen.  

DIMINISHING DEDUCTIBLES

This option is currently offered through Progressive Insurance, one of our more popular and competitive carriers.  They offer a 25% annual decrease in your initial chosen deductible.  This can be a nice surprise if you have an unexpected claim after a few claim free years.  

DISCOUNTS

There are quite a few options for discounts on motorcycle policies.  We have a list of several examples below.  Make sure you are getting credit for all that apply.
-Motorcycle endorsement on your license
-Rider associations
-Multi-policy discounts
-Prior cycle or auto insurance
-Homeowner discount
-Experienced rider
-Claim free discount
-Safe driver discount
-Married discount
Riding on the open road is an exhilarating feeling.  It is important that you can rest easy that you are adequately insured in the event of an accident or claim.  Please don’t wait until it is too late to consider these important cycle insurance coverage options.  Contact us at 704-494-9495 with any questions you may have regarding Charlotte motorcycle insurance.
Independent Insurance Agents

Independent Insurance Agents

Independent insurance agents are almost always the best way to go when you are trying to get the best insurance rates and have the most options. Independent insurance agencies are able to present various options for their clients, they are usually able to save their clients money on policies such as auto, home, business, motorcycle, and boat insurance.

What is an independent agency?

Independent insurance agents represent multiple companies and sell multiple products.  This usually results in lower premiums since there are more companies that are shopped.  They are also open to better underwriting options because different companies offer varying policies and underwriting guidelines.  

What is a captive agency?

A captive insurance agency is typically an agency that sells almost exclusively through one company. Think State Farm, Nationwide, Geico, or Allstate. These companies can have competitive rates provided you meet their criteria for their target market.

What is an online insurance company?

This refers to a company that is accessed online where you are able to quote and issue your own policy.  The issue with these companies is you will likely only get quoted by one company or only a handful of companies.  Further, you will not have a local agent whom you know and trust.  Future service or claims questions are always left to calling a call center or chatting online with a different company representative every time.

What are some of the companies that independent agencies sell through?

People often ask what companies we write through since we market our individual agency name.

Some of the more common ones that we write through are shown below. These companies are commonly used in other independent agencies as well

  • Progressive
  • National General (GMAC)
  • The Hartford
  • Travelers
  • Safeco
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Universal Insurance
  • Foremost
  • AAA
  • Kemper 
  • State Auto

Why use an independent insurance agency?

More Insurance Companies to Shop

By representing numerous companies, they can typically quote them all and give you better pricing. Most independent insurance agents have some form of comparative rating software that allows them to shop various insurance carriers at the same time without having to quote each one individually.

This saves time and money during the shopping process. The law of numbers proves that if you get quotes through 12 different insurance companies then you will likely find a better rate with one of the 12 rather than just calling 1 company.

Less Stringent Underwriting Guidelines

Whereas captive insurance companies can be very particular about their target market, going through an independent insurance agent gives you various companies and policy options. Some examples of situations where your rates might be negatively impacted by certain captive agencies are shown below.

  • Poor credit
  • Tickets or accidents
  • A suspended drivers license in the last 5 years
  • A recent home claim
  • Inexperienced operator
  • No prior insurance
  • Insurance on older home
  • Business insurance on certain business types

You Need an Expert

Insurance is complicated and you need an expert to help explain coverage and give advice. Just like you would hire a medical doctor for health problems or an attorney for legal concerns, you should put your trust in an insurance professional to help explain terms you may not understand or be familiar with.

One Stop Shop

Your typical independent insurance agency can offer you most or all of your insurance needs under one roof. This way when you have questions on your various policies you won’t have to call around to multiple agencies to get answers. Your independent agent can shop your rates for all of your insurance policies giving you several options.

An independent insurance agency is a valuable source for all of your insurance needs. Too often people feel safe by going with one of the 4-6 insurance companies that you see advertisements for almost daily. Those ads are expensive and that typically means you could be paying for them to find their future clients. I currently have all of my personal and business policies through 7 different insurance companies and this saves me the more money on my premiums versus bundling it with one company that may charge me a lot more on certain policies. If you are worried about your bottom line than you should consider getting a quote through a local independent agent.

We work directly with a lot of captive insurance agencies and when we feel like our clients are better served by placing their policy or policies with one of those companies, than we refer them. Many captive companies return the favor and refer clients to us when they may not be able to offer them the most competitive rates.

It is up to you to make that choice because you cannot rely on others to provide you what is best for you. I recommend at least putting an independent insurance agency on your list the next time you are shopping for insurance.

Insurance Discounts

Insurance Discounts

There are many types of insurance discounts that can be offered on auto insurance policies. We will discuss some of them and the things you may be able to do to qualify in further lowering your overall rates. Most agents will ask you questions to see if these discounts apply.

Not all insurance companies will offer the same discounts. The NC Department of Insurance (NCDOI) does regulate discounts that can be applied in some situations due to insurance rate regulations. Over the years the number of discounts allowed has significantly increased.  You should take advantage of each and every one that applies as it will not only effect your overall premium in the current term you are in, but in future terms as well.

Types of Insurance Discounts

Homeowners discount- This is a discount given on your policy for simply being a homeowner.

Incident-free discount- This one provides a discount for not having any driving incidents at all, including non-chargeable violations and not-at-fault accidents. It is true these days that a lot of companies charge a higher rate even if you were hit from behind due to this discount being removed.

Proof of prior insurance- If you have had prior insurance for at least 6 months you will likely pay less with most companies. There are higher discounts for being with your prior carrier for 3 or 5 years.

Multiple policies discount- This discount can be applied to all of your insurance policies for carrying your different policies with the same insurance company or insurance agency.

Automatic payment deduction discount- Most carriers these days will give you a relatively large discount if your policy is deducted automatically from your checking account.

Paid in full discount- This discount is even higher in most cases and applies to your overall premium if you pay the policy in full. In addition, you will avoid payment service charges each month on your insurance.

Security system discount- This applies to your home insurance policy and will provide a credit to your premium if you can provide an alarm certificate from your security company showing the home alarm is monitored by a central station alarm.

Claim free discount- Applies when you have not had any claims for a specified period of time, usually 3 or 5 years.

Paperless discount- Most companies that are set-up to deliver bills and other documents through e-mail instead of through the US Post Office will provide a discount for choosing this method of delivery.

Good student discount- This discount is provided by insurance companies through various criteria giving a reduction in your premium for drivers that are good students.

Air bag and various safety equipment discounts- Auto policies will provide discounts for certain safety features on your automobile. These are usually automatically generated once your VIN is provided.

Claim free renewal discount- Certain companies will give a discount for each renewal that you are claim-free and in some cases they may offer a diminshing deductible.

Rider association discount- Motorcycle policies will often give a credit if you belong to a rider association.

Safety course discount- Certain safety courses that you have completed will lower your rates such as a motorcycle safety course.

Pleasure use discount- If you use your vehicle for pleasure use then you will likely get a reduced rate.

New home discount- The age of your home can play a factor in your overall rate. Newer homes receive better rates in most cases.

Good credit discount- NC does allow reduced rates depending on your overall credit score. The credit score that is run is a soft hit on your credit and will usually not effect your credit score in any way. If you have excellent credit then you will see a large decrease in your overall rate and this is typically one of the largest discounts of the ones we have discussed.

These are just some of the more common discounts that can be applied on all types of insurance policies. If you stack these discounts then it can make a significant difference in your overall rate. It is good practice to ask what discounts can be applied on each of your insurance policies when you are getting an insurance quote.

Online Insurance Quotes

Online Insurance Quotes

Getting insurance quotes online has never been easier. We are in the technology age where our technology is advancing more quickly than anytime in history. Just think how much has changed in the last 10 years in how we shop, listen to music, watch movies, and access the internet.

With all of these advancements in technology, the way we shop for insurance was bound to change as well. We will discuss some of the benefits and disadvantages of getting insurance quotes online versus speaking to a licensed agent.

3 Ways to Get Quotes From our Website

  1. Call a licensed agent.
  2. Get an instant online quote that you can bind yourself.
  3. Input your info into an online form that will be transferred to a licensed agent to shop

Every individual is different with different needs so shopping for insurance should fit those differences as well allowing the user to be satisfied with the results.

Benefits of Online Insurance Quotes

  1. Quotes are timely and in many cases instant
  2. Ease of use
  3. You can do it directly on your computer or phone without having to talk with someone
  4. You don’t have to deal with individual sales people
  5. Instant issue of your policy

Disadvantages of Online Insurance Quotes

  1. You may not get the coverage you need
  2. You can’t ask questions
  3. Certain kinds of insurance aren’t available to be quoted or issued online 
  4. You can’t always get quotes from multiple companies like you can when dealing with an independent agent

Many of the online quoting companies are very user-friendly, including our own. However, unless you are a licensed agent you may not understand what coverage will fit your needs. Insurance is extremely important and without the proper coverage, the results can be detrimental.

I still feel that shopping for insurance of all kinds including car insurance, home insurance, commercial insurance, etc is best when issued and advised by insurance professionals so that you will be adequately covered in the event of a loss. It is for this reason that home insurance policies and commercial policies among others cannot be quoted and especially issued by customers themselves.

We offer instant online quotes and the ability to issue your own policy to meet the increasing needs of customers, but please be careful with this technology.

When in doubt please call us to ask any coverage questions or advice on what policy would be best for you. Even if you have already issued your own policy it can’t hurt to have a licensed insurance agent look at your policy and make any recommendations for you.