Posted : 11/19/2008
Cut your car insurance rates with 10 easy tips
Before you compare rates, check out these money-saving tips for your car insurance.
1. Earn a low mileage discount. If you work from home, carpool or use public transportation, look for companies with discounts for low mileage, pay-as-you-go, or carpooling. And, tell your current insurance company if you're driving less these days; rates may be lower if you drive less than 10,000 miles each year.
2. Increase your deductibles. You may save 10 percent or more on your comprehensive and collision premiums if you increase your deductible from $250 to $500. And, if you car is really old, it may be time to drop comp and collision coverage completely—but only if you're willing to pay for repairs yourself.
3. Drive a hybrid. Some companies offer a 10% hybrid discount for cars in most states. (They also have a hybrid discount for boats and yachts!) If you're not ready for a hybrid, pick a low-profile car with high safety ratings, because your insurance will be lower, too. The Top Safety Picks from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is a good place to start.
4. Drop coverage you may not use. If you're paying for Roadside Assistance, Towing and Rental Car coverage, you might do without—especially if you have AAA or roadside help provided by the auto company. While these are low cost coverages, dropping them might save you an additional $50–75 a year.
5. Keep an eye on your credit report. Payment history is an important factor for most auto insurance companies. Paying your bills on time and maintaining a good credit history may qualify you for lower rates in many states. When it comes to insurance bills, using EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) could save you monthly installment fees, which can be as much as $5 to $7 per payment.
6. Don't let your policy lapse. A short-term decision like missing a car insurance payment may result in a cancellation—and rates for a new policy that can be 25 to 50% higher than you're currently paying. If you can't pay the full amount due, ask whether a partial payment will keep your policy active.
7. Ask about student discounts. Most companies offer a 10 to 15% discount for high school and college students who maintain a B average. And, if your college student is more than 100 miles from home without a car, the rates are discounted year-round.
8. Drive safely. You may be eligible for a price break on your policy if you have a clean driving record for the past three years (five years for some companies). So, slow down, because even one or two traffic violations can increase your rate by $200–$400, depending on state laws.
9. Add an anti-theft device. While some cars have alarm systems, an aftermarket anti-theft device or tracking system, such as LoJack®, may give you a discount on comprehensive coverage, by reducing the chance of your car being stolen. If you park on the street or in urban areas, the peace of mind will be priceless.
10. Be a smart online shopper. Comparison shopping online can save you time and money. Just make sure you understand whether you're getting a "quick quote," which is just an estimate, or a bindable online auto insurance quote. There can be a big difference between an estimate and the final rate.
For more information on how to prepare for car insurance shopping, see our "Car Insurance Checklist."
Do you have any questions or comments? Please let us know.
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