If you’ve gotten a lot of tickets for moving violations or filed a lot of accident claims in the past, you’re probably paying dearly for car insurance. While there’s not much you can do about your past, there’s a whole lot you can do now to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible on your car insurance.
1. Comparison Shop. It pays to shop around. This is especially true when circumstances change, like when you buy a new car or add a driver to your policy. Insurers continually modify pricing based on market conditions and business priorities, so the company that served you well when you were single and driving a sports car may not be your best choice when you transition to a different stage of life.
2. Bundle Your Policies. Insurance companies want as much of your business as they can get, and many offer big discounts when you buy more than one product from them. So, if you have a home or more than one car, be sure to see what the cost would be if you were to get all of your coverage from the same insurer.
3. Maintain a High Credit Score. There are a lot of factors insurance companies consider when determining what to charge different customers, and in most states, credit score is one of them. That’s because research has shown that people with higher credit scores tend to have fewer accidents, so they cost insurance companies less money. To get the best rates, work on making your credit score as good as it can be and be sure to check your credit report regularly to make sure there are no inaccuracies in it.
4. Check for Discounts. In addition to good credit scores, insurers may offer discounts to people in specific professions, students who get good grades, driving a car with certain safety features, and more. Ask about the discounts your insurer offers, and make sure you’re getting any that apply.
5. Ditch the Brand New Sports Car. Some cars are more costly to insure than others, either because they are more expensive to repair/replace or more likely to be the subject of a claim. That means you’ll pay less to insure a safe and moderately-priced used car, than a pricey new sports car.
6. Join a Carpool. For insurance companies, it’s a numbers game. The fewer miles you drive, the less likely it is you’ll get in an accident, so carpooling could drive down your rate. Likewise, if you get a new job with a shorter commute, be sure to let your insurance company know and ask if you qualify for a reduced rate.
7. Consider a Higher Deductible. With most insurance, there’s a trade-off. If you want lower premiums, you’ll have to swallow a higher deductible or settle for less coverage. If you want no deductible or a low deductible, you’ll pay more in premiums. Remember, though, that the most important thing about insurance is to get the coverage you need to protect yourself and your assets. So, if you want to save on premiums but don’t currently have the cash on hand to cover a high deductible, make it a goal to save up. Once you reach your goal, you can safely increase your deductible, knowing you’ll have the money you need if you get in an accident and need to make a claim.
A lot of your accumulated car wisdom probably comes via tidbits from friends, relatives, shop teachers, driving instructors and various other fellow passengers on the highway of life. While some of this passed-on knowledge can be incredibly shrewd and useful, chances are some of the information just doesn’t compute.