By Catherine Powell
Image courtesy Pixabay
Other than a home, a car is one of the costliest purchases an individual can make. It’s also one of the costliest to insure. If the high price of auto insurance is making you lose sleep at night, I want to share with you ten ways you can save money without watering down the coverage you already possess.
- When was the last time you had your agent shop your policy? – If it’s been a year or more since you last spoke to your insurance agent, it’s high time to have him or her shop your auto policy with other carriers. Independent agencies like mine work with fifty or more insurance companies. Using industry software, we can not only shop for the best quotes from the best insurance companies, we can update a quote by changing various coverage factors at the click of a mouse.
- Do you qualify for any discounts? – Believe it or not, many insurers offer discounts for everything from anti-theft and safety equipment installed in vehicles, to drivers who take a defensive-driving course and students with good grades. Some insurers also offer discounts for drivers who put 7,500 miles or less on a car, as well as to those who haven’t had any tickets or accidents in several years. There are even loyalty discounts offered to policyholders who stick with the same insurance company for years on end. The only way to know which discounts you qualify for is to call your friendly insurance agent and ask.
- Pay every 6-months instead of monthly. – When it’s time to renew your existing policy, calculate the difference between paying monthly and paying twice per year. You’ll be surprised at the savings. Since you can pay your premiums with a credit card anyway, you can pay off the amount as quickly or slowly as you wish while saving a pretty penny in the process.
- Have you considered increasing your deductible? – While many drivers dread having to pay a high deductible, if you haven’t filed a claim in several years, you can save up to 10% by increasing your deductible from $500 to $1,000.
- Bundle to save a bundle! – If you want to reduce the cost of both your auto and homeowner’s insurance, consider bundling both policies under one roof. The more policies you bundle, the more you can save. This means if you also have a boat, an RV, and/or a business, talk to your agent to see the difference bundling can make to your insurance rates. You’ll be surprised at the savings.
- Have you checked your credit rating lately? – Insurance companies determine rates offered to individual policyholders based on the risk they represent. One of the metrics they use to assess risk is a credit check. Historically, people who have high credit scores represent less of a risk than do people with low scores. If your credit score has substantially improved in the past 6-months, you may qualify for a reduction on your auto rates. Conversely, if your credit score is less than 700, you should do what it takes to improve your score if you want to pay less when it’s time to renew your auto policy.
- Are you looking to buy a vehicle in the near future? – If you are, consider talking to your insurance agent to find out which vehicles cost less to insure and which cost more. While most drivers will spend an inordinate amount of time shopping for the best price on their next vehicle, precious few take the time to find out what it’s going to cost to insure it. Since an agent can provide you with specific quotes on any make and model, you can kill two birds with one stone just by making a phone call. Your agent will also be able to tell you which makes and models are the most and least expensive to insure before you ever set foot on a car lot.
- Have a teenage driver in the house? – This factor alone can cause your rates to increase by fifty to one hundred percent. If you want to reduce the cost to insure your teenage driver, have them take a defensive-driving course and let them know that any evidence of unsafe driving will cost them their driving privileges. All it takes to have your auto rates go through the roof is a moving violation or heaven forbid an accident involving a teenager at the wheel.
- Are you about to make a move? – Where you live affects how much you pay for insurance. People who live in urban areas with high population density and traffic congestion pay more to insure their vehicles than those who live in suburbs or rural areas. If you’re getting ready to move, discuss the matter with your insurance agent to find out if your new destination will increase or decrease your auto insurance cost.
- Opt-in for telematics – If you don’t drive aggressively, talk to your agent about telematics. Some insurers will send you a computer module that can be plugged into your vehicle that allows them to assess how you drive. Everything from how hard you accelerate and brake to how fast you drive will be reported to the insurer for several months, which is time enough to determine your style of driving. Pass the test and you’ll qualify for up to a 15% saving on your auto insurance rate. If you fail, your rates won’t go up one red cent. So, what do you have to lose?
Catherine Powell is the owner of A Plus All Florida, Insurance in Orange Park, Florida. To find out more about saving money on all your insurance needs, check out her website at http://aplusallfloridainsuranceinc.com/