How to Save on Car Insurance
March 2, 2006
Are You Still Paying Too Much for Car Insurance?
Everyone who owns a car needs auto insurance. This article will give you some tips on lowering your auto insurance costs. You will find a checklist of items to ask your insurance agent that may qualify for discounts. Keep in mind that not all discounts can be applied with all insurance companies in all states.
1. Shop Around
Go to your favorite search engine and type in free car insurance quotes online. You'll see a long list of insurance companies that you may even be familiar with. Visit at least five car insurance websites and look for a link to free quotes. You will then be asked basic information about yourself, your driving history, and your car's make, model, and year. It just takes a couple of minutes, and shortly thereafter, they will email you a no obligation quote. Write down their website address, their toll free number, and customer service email address.
Each insurance company will ask you generally the same questions, and will give you options about how much coverage you will want. Find your current policy, if you have one, and take note of the coverage you currently have. Always provide the same information and ask for the same coverage at each company so you will be comparing apples to apples. Read the fine print and make sure nothing is excluded from the quote like Rental car coverage, towing, medical, etc...
For the purposes of the quote, the insurance company will not ask you your social security number, but keep in mind your actual cost maybe higher or lower depending on your credit history. If you're not sure about some of the terminology or coverage, take notes so that you can ask the insurance company about them directly.
Once you have at least five quotes emailed to you, take the lowest two or three quotes and see if they are less than what you are paying now. Most likely at least one of them is much lower. At this point you will want to call them directly to get the most accurate quote by providing additional personal information. For additional discounts, here is a checklist of things you should ask about.
[ ] $500 deductible
[ ] $1,000 deductible
[ ] Paying monthly, semi-annually, or annually
[ ] More than 1 car
[ ] No Accidents in 3 Years
[ ] No Moving Violations in 3 Years
[ ] Driver Training Courses
[ ] Defensive Driving Courses
[ ] Anti-Theft Devices
[ ] Low Annual Mileage
[ ] Air Bags
[ ] Anti-Lock Brakes
[ ] Daytime Running Lights
[ ] Student Drivers with Good Grades
[ ] Auto and Homeowners Coverage with the Same Company
[ ] College Students away from Home
[ ] Long-Time Customer
[ ] Other Discounts
2. Saving Insurance Premium on cars you own outright.
If you own a clear title to your car, meaning there is no bank loan on it, then you may want to consider dropping the collision/comprehensive coverage. As a rule of thumb, if the cars value is less than $3000, it may not make sense for you to pay for this additional coverage. Over time, the cost of the additional insurance premium will exceed the value of the car. It's pretty simple math.
Check the fair market value of your car either through Edmunds.com or even your local newspaper. See what other people are trying to get for the same car. Keep in mind your cars mileage, condition, and age. Has it been in an accident before? Does it have unusually high mileage in excess of 15,000 miles per year? Does it need new tires? You get the idea. Be realistic, because in the event that this car is in an accident and is damaged beyond repair, it is unlikely you will get the full value of the car.
3. Ask About Insurance Rates in Different Areas
Rates can vary widely even in the same state. Different locals have different accident rates, population, and crime. These all factor in to the final cost. If you are moving to a different area, ask about what the rates are for that town.
4. Ask About Getting Other Insurance Policies Together With Your Auto Insurance
Combining insurance policies with the same company can often give you additional discounts. If you own a home, ask about combining your homeowners insurance with your auto insurance. Also ask about other polices, such as life, health, and business insurance. Most insurance companies cover a wide range of policies and will give substantial discounts when you do business exclusively with them.
5. A Clean Credit History Can Reduce Car Premiums:
Having good credit can also lower your insurance costs. Many insurance companies will use credit information to price auto insurance policies. Drivers with good credit and a clean driving record may qualify as a "preferred" customer with lower risk and will be rewarded with lower premiums.
6. Low Mileage Discounts
Some companies offer discounts to drivers who drive a lower than average number of miles per year. If you car pool, take public transportation like the subway, or work from home, you will most likely drive few miles per year than the average driver.
7. Group Insurance
Some insurers offer discounts to drivers who work for certain companies or belong to professional associations, and alumni groups. Ask your employer, group or clubs that you belong to if they have any special arrangements with different insurance companies.
Using all of these tips can save you hundreds of dollars per year, especially when you have multiple cars and multiple drivers in the same household.
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