You know what they say: there is no such thing as a free lunch. But is there such a thing as free car insurance?
Surprisingly, some people have managed to find offers for car insurance at no direct cost to themselves—or at least, no immediate direct cost. But as you will learn, the “no free lunch” principle is a good one to remember for most things in life.
How Much Is Free Car Insurance Worth?
It definitely depends on a lot of factors, but the nationwide average car insurance premium is around $1,000 for individual coverage, and can cost a lot more or a lot less depending on the type of vehicle you’re insuring and your personal driving history.
Where You Will Find Offers for Free Car Insurance
In some states, the government offers free or reduced price car insurance for individuals and families who are experiencing trying economic circumstances. Because these programs are well-regulated and going to the neediest individuals, they are not motivated by the same profit margins as most offers for free insurance, and thus not the focus of our present discussion. If you are a low-income individual or curious about your city’s available programs though, it is worth reading about the government-sponsored car insurance for low-income families in your state.
On rare occasions, you’ll see an offer for free car insurance from a car manufacturer. Since many states prohibit this practice, you definitely won’t see this advertised nationwide, but you might see it locally.
What Is the Catch?
This one’s easy: if you “buy” free car insurance (opt-in would be a better way of phrasing this), you will unlikely be able to choose the company you will be insured by or the type of auto insurance coverage.
You will likely be offered only the minimum legal coverage for your state. Of course, like any agreement, you must read the fine print of the agreement before signing on the dotted line.
There is something else you have to know about “free” car insurance: if you are purchasing your vehicle with a loan, you can likely kiss the offer goodbye.
Well, when you finance a car, you might get to drive it around town, but the company who loaned you the money technically owns the lion’s share of the vehicle when you purchase it. As such, they want to protect their asset in the event that you or someone else destroys it, so minimum coverage insurance is not going to fly with them.
Why Do Companies Offer This Deal?
The first one is obvious: even if you do not end up taking the offer, just seeing such an enticing thing advertised might get you in the door of the dealership or the manufacturer’s brand of vehicle. But additionally, if the manufacturer offers free insurance, they get to control what type of insurance you get… which means that they can custom-tailor your coverage to suit their interests!
Does not really sound ideal to me. Less skeptical people would also point out that such a promotion could also foster brand loyalty and make you more likely to purchase that type of vehicle again in the future, though that’s a less compelling argument.
What About Free Insurance Quotes?
More and more insurance companies allow you the ability to comparison shop for car insurance online, for free. Using these tools, you can compare premium prices from the comfort of your home or even in your pajamas.
While you should certainly be careful whenever you provide personal information online, comparing insurance quotes on most national insurance company websites is risk-free and could end up saving you money.
Should I Accept the Offer of Free Insurance?
In most cases, a cash rebate, extended warranty, or lower insurance rate on a dealer or manufacturer financed vehicle is much more valuable than a year of free insurance. If you are offered free insurance, ask about getting a cash rebate or one of the aforementioned options instead. Though it is unlikely that they’ll be extremely pleased with your negotiation skills, you never know—it might end up saving you a lot of money and hassle.
How Else Can I Save on Car Insurance?
While taking a free insurance offer is not typically the best idea, it does pay to comparison shop and do a lot of research with the aforementioned free insurance quotes, as well as speaking to family and friends.
Once you find a good car insurance company, stay loyal, as many companies offer discounts for doing so. If you’re in school, be a good student, and definitely be a safe driver, and your insurance premiums should steadily decrease. It’s not as enticing or instantaneous as free insurance, but it’ll pay off more in the long-run.