Everybody wants cheaper car insurance, but how do you actually find it?
Before you start searching for a bargain-basement policy, remember that sometimes focusing solely on the lowest insurance rates is a mistake. Cutting costs does not make sense if you're also shortchanging quality, or doing without the coverage you need.
The whole point of insurance is to stand between you and financial disaster.
However, with a little research, you should be able to find cheaper auto insurance without sacrificing important coverage amounts. Here are ways to improve your odds of lowering your insurance rates:
Sometimes, you'll get the best deal with your current car insurance company. But in many other cases, the road to the cheapest car insurance policy will take you elsewhere.
In general, the more you pay for car insurance, the bigger the difference between insurance companies' rates. Every company calculates its own price, and they often differ by hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Comparison shopping can help you uncover cheap car insurance companies and auto insurance discounts. How often should you search for lower premiums? Experts generally suggest looking around at least once a year -- but certainly at these times, when your rates are most likely to change dramatically:
Your insurance company may offer more affordable car insurance rates if you purchase both your home insurance and auto insurance policies from the same provider.
It's not unusual to save 10 percent or more off your premium when you receive a multiline discount.
Simply raising your deductible from $250 to $500 can lower the collision or comprehensive portion of your premium by about 20 percent, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
Remember, though, that a higher deductible means more money out of your pocket in the event of a claim. Cheap insurance can become expensive fast if you have to pay your deductible with a high-interest credit card.
Is your daughter a straight-A student? You may qualify for cheaper car insurance. Park your car in a garage? Your insurer may give you a price break because the car is less vulnerable to theft and weather damage.
Talk to your agent about all auto insurance discounts that are available and find out if you qualify for any of them.
If you're shopping for new wheels, your choice of automobile can play a big role in getting lower insurance rates. Cars that cost less to repair or replace generally receive lower premiums.
You'll also get better rates if your car has certain safety features. Insurance companies often give discounts for features such as anti-lock brakes, side air bags and automatic safety belts. Anti-theft devices also may help in your quest for cheap vehicle insurance.
There are also a few things you should avoid doing that will reduce your car insurance rates. They include:
A poor driving history can easily disqualify you from getting the cheapest car insurance. Insurers will check your record to see if you present a high level of risk. Speeding tickets, accidents, drunk driving citations – all can drive your insurance rates higher.
Drive sensibly and cautiously and you'll be on the way to cheap car insurance in no time.
If you have an old beater, reduce your car insurance costs by dropping comprehensive and collision coverage. When should you make this move toward cheaper auto insurance? Many experts say it's time to drop these coverages when the actual cash value you’d receive for your vehicle doesn’t justify the insurance expense. (See "When to drop collision and risk it all.")
Also, don't pay extra for personal injury protection or medical payment insurance if your family already has a good health insurance plan.
Experts generally recommend you sit down with your agent annually to discuss any changes in your life that might impact your auto rates. For example, your insurer may offer cheaper car insurance if you've dropped your daily commute in favor of working from home.
Has your teen recently flown the nest and landed car-free at a university or college? If so, let your agent know that the teen does not drive your car for the majority of the year. Being proactive can help you nab these and other auto insurance discounts.
Copyright © 1998-2014 by Quinstreet, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Insurance licenses
Insurance.com is not affiliated with any state or government agency.
950 Tower Ln, Suite 600, Foster City 94404