7 Tips to Lower Your Auto Insurance Costs
Auto Insurance is a requirement both by law and in order to ensure the safety of your vehicle and loved ones when driving. Yet, that does not mean we have to choose the most expensive option that is presented to us. Nor should we choose the cheapest. Okay, so you found what you consider to be a decent middle of the road, but it's still a little on the high side. Don't worry, I'll share with you seven easy tips to help lower your auto insurance.
1. Multi-car discounts.
When attempting to obtain auto insurance, an essential thing to consider is the number of vehicles you own. You may receive a higher quote per vehicle than if you had inquired about insuring multiple vehicles or drivers with the same company. Depending on the situation, most insurance companies are more likely to offer discounted rates if it would mean bringing in more business.
Consult with your insurance agent to see if you can qualify. Typically, the multiple cars must be owned by the insurer, or the various people must live in the same residence and be related by blood or marriage.
2. Being a safe driver.
With so many distractions now present in our everyday lives, it has become easier to get into an accident or be involved in a moving violation that could have been avoided. Due to this, insurance providers offer discounted rates as high as 15%, depending on your driving record.
Another way to help prove you are a safe driver would be to take a Defensive Driver Course. Some insurance companies provide discounts to applicants who have completed an approved defensive driver course. Just make sure to ask your agent about this before signing up for a class, as so no time or extra money is expended without gains gotten. A bonus to taking a defensive driver course is that it can also lower the number of points on your driver's license. For those unaware, points refer to assessed moving violations of a driver, which typically results in higher premiums.
3. Shop around for better car insurance rates.
As your policy is about to renew, consider shopping around and obtaining quotes from competing companies. It is also suitable every two years or so to obtain quotes from other companies, in case there is a lower rate in the market. Now, this does not mean that cheap means better. Nor does this mean that you take it just because you see the newest deal on the table. Instead, consider all that the insurance policy offers in its coverage, premium, and deductible, as well as the insurer's creditworthiness, customer service, and claims policy. What good is a cheap rate when you have difficulty getting paid on an insurance claim?
4. Decide how much coverage you need.
When deciding on how much coverage you may need, it would first be best to know which type of coverage there is out there:
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) - Covers you and any passengers in your vehicle should there be any sustained injuries in an auto accident.
Bodily Injury Coverage - Covers you when an accident may cause personal injury to someone outside the vehicle at the time of the accident.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage - Covers for damages caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist. Depending on the state, this may be required.
Collision Coverage - Covers your vehicle and you for incidents when you are at fault when in a collision.
Comprehensive Coverage - Covers your vehicle for any damages unrelated to the collision.
This is not all the coverages that can be included in your auto insurance plan. Some insurance carriers offer other optional coverages, such as rental car insurance. When considering which coverages you should drop or keep, it is best to consider the value of your vehicle, how often you utilize it and the requirements placed upon you by law. An example of this would be if you had a car worth less than your deductible plus the amount you pay for annual coverage, or less than ten times the premium. It would be best to drop the collision coverage.
5. Consider installing extra safety features in your car.
No one likes it when their car is stolen; not you, not me, especially the insurance company. Installing anti-theft devices in your vehicle has the potential to lower your premium. Your insurance company would be able to tell you which devices, when installed, would qualify for lower premiums. Examples of anti-theft devices can be steering-wheel locks, tire locks, car alarms, and car tracking systems. Though, always consider whether the cost of adding these new features ultimately is worth their price in both utility and savings.
6. Look into a UBI, Usage-Based Insurance.
What is Usage-Based Insurance? Usage-based insurance is also known as pay-per-mile or as "Black Box" Insurance, and what this type of auto insurance entails is that you pay a base rate plus a per-mile rate while having your driving behavior tracked by either an app or a small device in your car that will transmit data to your insurance company. The type of data can range from the number of miles you drive to the speed at which you typically drive. This generally is a good option for those who don't usually drive long distances. The negative of this type of insurance is that should you begin to start driving more frequently or for longer distances, it could result in higher insurance payments being made. If insurance companies deem you an unsafe driver, your rates may increase.
7. Improve your credit.
Many are surprised that your credit score could play a significant role in how insurance companies calculate when determining premiums. The main reason for this is that many qualify credit scores to be an adequate judge of character and relate it with the ability to maintain financial obligations. It would be best to do the most you can to keep your credit rating high. Some simple tips to ensure this are making all loan and credit card payments on time, keeping credit balances as low as possible, and only having as much credit as needed. In California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Michigan, insurers are not allowed to consider credit when considering premiums.
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