Insurance prices for the same coverage can vary by hundreds of dollars, "so it pays to shop around. Get at least three quotes," urges Jeanne Salvatore, vice president of consumer affairs for the Insurance Information Institute (III) in New York.
"Use different tools to extract the best terms and conditions such as logging on to various insurance websites, phoning carriers, and talking to friends," says Janine Gibford, government affairs advocate for the Association of California Insurance Companies (ACIC), in Sacramento.
Raising the comprehensive/collision deductible "is one of the easiest ways to cut your auto insurance bill," points out Salvatore. Bumping up the deductible can save a consumer about 15% to 20% on comp/collision coverage costs. Just be sure you can afford the deductible in the event of an accident or claim.
Lower coverages on older vehicles
Gibford has a second cost-saving tip for consumers. They can save "quite a chunk of change" if they decide to drop collision and/or comprehensive coverages on their older vehicles, she says.
Make sure you can afford that new car
Auto insurance costs should enter the equation when shopping for a new or used car. "The choice of car will have a lot to do with how much you'll pay for insurance," said Salvatore. "Things like the cost of repairs, the likelihood of theft, and a vehicle's overall safety record can all affect how much you pay for insurance. If you can't afford proper coverage, then you shouldn't buy that car."
Look for discounts
Salvatore noted that a number of insurers offer discounts for car features that decrease the chances of injury or theft, such as air bags, anti-lock brakes, and anti-theft devices.
Laura Toops, spokeswoman for the National Association of Independent Insurers, Des Plaines, Ill, mentioned steering wheel locking devices and car alarms that " would serve as deterrents to would-be car thieves, and most insurers will recognize that and give you a break on your insurance premium".
Having multiple cars and drivers on your policy typically provides discount opportunities as well, as can defensive driving courses and AAA membership.
Keep your driving and credit histories clean
Salvatore emphasized that safe driving records save money over the long haul. "Those with clean driving records, meaning no moving violations or history of at-fault accidents, will pay less for insurance than drivers with spotty records."
Credit scores are an important rating factor for most insurance companies. Peter Gorman of the Alliance of American Insurers talks about the role of credit scoring in insurance underwriting. Gorman cites "strong statistical evidence in numerous studies that policyholders with good credit are more likely to take care of potential problems that could lead to losses, like repairing a leaky roof or water pipe or replacing worn auto brakes before they occur and result in expensive claims." Just another reason to maintain a good credit history.
And don't forget to shop around
To fuel your drive to find the best insurance deal, be sure to shop around for the company that works best for you! There just may be another company out there that better fits your profile. Since prices can vary by hundreds of dollars, it’s certainly worth your time to shop around.
Please note that this description/explanation is intended only as a guideline.
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