Auto insurance can be expensive – but there are ways to make it cheaper. Today, we’re featuring some of the best tips, tricks, and strategies you can use to save a lot of money on auto insurance in 2017. Scroll down to get started.
1) Renew your Insurance Coverage Continuously and Avoid Lapses
Insurers reward drivers who have a long history of insurance coverage. If you’ve been insured for 5+ continuous years without a lapse, then that’s a very good thing to your insurer. Most insurers will drop rates by at least 6% after one year of insurance coverage. That discount gets better and better over time. In addition, some insurers offer loyalty rewards, where you can get certain discounts after being with the same insurer for 5, 10, 15, or 20 years.
2) Bundle your Auto Insurance with Home Insurance
This tip is found in pretty much every article about auto insurance cost saving tips. Insurers love it when people buy home insurance, auto insurance, and life insurance through one company. They love it so much that they will substantially reduce your rates if you bundle everything together. Ask your insurer about bundling your auto insurance with a new home insurance plan. Or, consider switching your auto insurance to a new insurer to maximize your bundling savings. Typically, you can bundle insurance policies together if all members of the family are living at the same household.
3) Compare Quotes
Here’s another basic cost savings tip for auto insurance: take the time to compare quotes. Insurers can vary widely in terms of plans. Different insurers have different policies. One insurer might be ideal for young people driving their first vehicle, for example, while another insurer might cater its services towards older, more experienced drivers. Quote requests are always free. Send out a bunch of them.
4) Pay your Insurance Upfront
You can save a lot of money by paying your insurance in full upfront. When you pay a monthly rate for insurance, you’re paying a small premium for the convenience. You can typically save $30 to $100 a year by paying your insurance in a lump sum, once a year. If you’re having trouble finding the cash, then just put your monthly insurance premiums into a separate account. By the end of the year, you’ll have more than enough for your one lump sum payment. Or, pay your insurance every six months.
5) Improve your Credit Score
Your credit score has a huge effect on your auto insurance rates. Remember: your credit score is an assessment of your worthiness as a lender. You could write an entire separate article on “100 Ways to Improve your Credit Score”. Popular strategies include checking your credit report, paying your loans on time, and limiting your number of credit applications. Check out some tips from myFICO for a better idea.
6) Check Quotes Frequently
You might have compared quotes when you first applied for auto insurance. But have you compared quotes lately? You might be comfortable with your current insurer, but they could be taking advantage of your laziness. Check quotes on an annual basis to see if you could save by switching to a new provider. You may be surprised by how much rates have changed as you’ve aged and become more experienced.
7) Buy Older Vehicles
We all love new cars. However, older cars are cheaper. You’ll pay less when you buy an older car, obviously, but you’ll also pay significantly less for auto insurance. A 5 year old car can be 18 to 25% cheaper to insure than a brand new car.
8) Provide your VIN When Requesting Auto Insurance Quotes
This is a valuable tip not everyone knows about. Certain vehicles are eligible for anti-theft device discounts. To check if your vehicle is eligible, make sure you enter your VIN when requesting auto insurance quotes. It won’t be a big difference, but it can save you 2 to 5% per year.
9) Choose Automatic Payments or EFT
Typically, electronic funds transfer (EFT) and automatic payments are available from your insurer. Some insurers may even provide discounts to customers who use these payment methods.
10) Ask About Usage-Based Insurance
Do you work from home? Do you hardly drive? Do you drive your car to church every Sunday, and that’s it? If so, you may want to ask about usage-based insurance (UBI). Usage-based insurance plans make sense for drivers who want a “pay as you go” insurance rate. For these plans, insurers will attach a telematics device to your vehicle. That device tracks your driving behavior. If you frequently drive your car close to home, or very rarely, then you may be eligible for savings as high as 30% over traditional auto insurance plans.
11) Ask About Discounts If You Were Listed on Someone Else’s Policy
Many teenagers are listed under their parents’ policies. Sometimes, spouses might share a policy. Whatever the situation may be, insurance companies often offer discounts for customers who have spent at least 6 months listed on someone else’s policy. Ask about these discounts – because they’re not always listed or mentioned.
12) List your Education
You might think it’s weird when an auto insurance quote request form asks for your highest level of education attained. However, it’s totally normal: higher-educated individuals tend to be safer drivers. Insurance companies know this. The higher your level of education, the lower your rate will be. Make sure your insurer knows about your college degree.
13) Use Paperless Billing and Signing
Some insurance companies offer discounts for those who go paperless. Choose to sign your policy documents electronically, if available. You should also be able to receive your monthly statements (if any) electronically. Even if you don’t save money, you can sleep peacefully at night knowing you’re saving the environment, right?
14) Ask About Low Mileage Discounts
Some drivers may save money with a usage-based plan, as we mentioned above. Other insurers offer a similar system, however, in the form of low mileage discounts. If you drive a below-average number of miles per year, then you may be eligible for significant savings. Low mileage discounts can also apply in people who carpool to work.
Your insurance company assumes that the average vehicle is driven 12,000 miles per year. Is your vehicle under or over that amount? If you’re frequently over that amount, then you probably shouldn’t tell your insurer. If you’re under that amount, however, then you could be eligible for usage-based discounts.
15) Take a Defensive Driving Course
Defensive driving is always a good idea. You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Assume everyone else on the road is trying to kill you.” That’s a classic defensive driving strategy. Defensive drivers get in far fewer accidents than aggressive drivers. Look up courses in your area. You’ll pay a little bit of money for the course upfront, but you could save a considerable amount on your auto insurance in the long run.
16) Take Any Type of Driver’s Education
There are two benefits to taking driver’s education. First, you learn how to become a better, smarter driver. And second, you can save up to 10 or 15% on your auto insurance. Insurers know that drivers who take the course tend to be safer on the road. They’re happy to reduce your rates if you take an accredited defensive driving course.
17) Reduce your Coverage on an Older Car
As a general rule, if your car is worth less than 10 times your premium, then purchasing coverage isn’t the best strategy. If you drive an older car, then you may consider reducing your insurance. Take off collision and/or comprehensive coverage, for example. Check the value of your vehicle online (using car resale websites) to see if you’re paying an unnecessary amount for your vehicle insurance. Obviously, you’ll still need to keep liability insurance as a bare, legal minimum.
18) Buy Winter Tires
Winter tires are a legal requirement in some parts of the world. In many snowy parts of the world, winter tires offer big insurance savings at the very least. Winter tires offer proven safety benefits in the winter. They offer better traction for your vehicle in snow. They’re also designed to perform better in sub-freezing conditions. Insurers know all of these things. If you regularly use winter tires, then you may be eligible for a discount on your insurance. Even if you’re not eligible for a discount, winter tires can make the difference between life and death.
19) Subscribe to a Roadside Assistance Program
There are a wide range of roadside assistance programs available today. AAA is popular in the United States. Many insurance companies offer a discount if you’re a member of a roadside assistance program. Having roadside assistance comes with other benefits, of course: if you’re stuck on the road, or if your car breaks down, then you’ll have someone available 24 hours a day to help. Some membership programs – like AAA – also offer 10 to 15% discounts at hotels across North America. In any case, consider subscribing to a roadside assistance program for a variety of reasons – including auto insurance cost savings.
20) Check for Organization-Based Discounts, like Alumni or Employer Discounts
Some insurance agencies offer discounts to certain groups of people. Say, if you graduated from a certain school, or if you work with a certain employer. Big auto insurance discounts may be available to certain graduates, certain members of professional associations or societies, and certain employees. Sometimes, these organizations take part in a group insurance program. In other cases, insurers simply like insuring members of these organizations. Chartered Professional Accountants, for example, often receive insurance discounts.
21) Park your Car in a Garage or Private Driveway
Drivers who park on the street may pay higher insurance rates than drivers who park their cars in a secure location. Some insurers offer something called a “Preferred Parking” discount. If your park your car in a locked garage, a private driveway, or another secure location, then you could be eligible for steep savings. Insurers love it when your car is less likely to be broken into or vandalized.
22) Ask About Green Vehicle Discounts
Some insurance agencies offer discounts for electric vehicles or hybrid vehicles. Today, insurers may give you cost savings of 5 to 10%. This is an under-reported benefit of electrics and hybrids: we all know about the gas savings, but you can also save money on your insurance.
23) Consider Renting a Car Instead of Buying a Second Vehicle
Some families enjoy having two cars. Both parents work in different parts of the city, for example, so two cars are a necessity. In certain situations, however, you might be able to save a lot of money simply by renting a car. Why pay a lot of money for a car that’s just going to sit in the driveway for most of its life? If you only need a second car for brief vacations, road trips, or business trips, then renting can save you a surprising amount of money. Don’t forget that you save the costs of maintenance and upkeep as well.
24) Consider Ride Sharing Services
If you want to avoid insurance on a secondary or primary vehicle, then you may be able to sell your vehicle and rely on ride sharing services. We’re not just talking about Uber and Lyft or taking taxis everywhere: today, vehicle sharing companies like Car2Go, ZipCar, and AutoShare are available in cities across North America. These companies all work in a similar way: you create an account, then pay-per-use whenever you need to drive. It’s a great option for people who take public transportation to work, and only need to drive when they get groceries.
25) Ask About Loyalty Discounts
So you’ve been with the same insurance agency for 15 years. That’s great! Some insurers will approach you to offer loyalty discounts. With other insurers, however, you may need to play hardball. Tell your insurer that you’ve received a better quote from another insurance company, but mention that you don’t want to make the switch because you’ve been a happy customer for 15 years. Sometimes, they’ll offer you a small discount as a reward for your loyalty – or at least match the competing offer.
26) Make Sure You Compare Apples to Apples When Checking Insurance Policies
There’s a big problem in the insurance industry. Insurers love to lure you in with promises of low rates. You might pay $100 a month for your insurance plan. Then, a competing company offers rates of $25 a month. You think that’s a steal – only to discover that the terms, coverage, liability, and deductible are set to their cheapest possible amounts. When comparing insurance policies, make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. In other words, make sure the two insurance policies have similar terms and coverage.
27) Compare Insurance Companies After Moving
You might have the best insurance company in your city today. However, if you move to a new area, your insurance company could be competing against a whole new range of companies. It might not be the cheapest option in your area any more. If you recently moved to a new region, make sure you request new insurance quotes to see how much you should be paying. Insurance rates vary widely between jurisdictions.
28) Buy a Dashcam
Dashboard cameras, or dashcams, have become very popular (and very affordable) in recent years. Insurance companies love dashcams because they provide a clear record of a particular incident. Dashcams can help you if a case goes to court. They can protect you from liability. If you live in an accident-prone part of the world, dashcams are just a great idea in general. But most importantly for this article, dashcams are also a money saver: a growing number (but certainly not all or even most) insurance companies offer discounts for drivers who use dashcams. Even without a discount, a dashcam can pay for itself after one incident.
29) Pay Bills On Time
This one goes back to the “improve your credit” tip. The best thing you can do to improve your credit is to pay your bills on time, every day. However, paying your bills on time is also important for auto insurance providers. Insurers can actually cancel your policy for a non-payment. That can lead to significantly higher premiums going forward. Setup an automatic payment system to ensure you never miss a bill. Auto insurers would love any excuse to charge you a higher rate.
30) Be Picky About Who Drives your Vehicle
There’s nothing wrong with telling someone “no” when they ask to drive your vehicle. If you know someone is a bad driver, a dangerous driver, or engages in risky behavior while driving, then you should not let that person drive your vehicle. If you lend your car to a friend, and that friend is involved in a collision, then your insurance will increase (assuming it was a single-vehicle accident, or your friend was at-fault).
31) Ask About Seasonal Insurance
Some insurers let you amend your policy for certain vehicles. Say, if you have a summer car and a winter car, you could be eligible for substantial cost savings. There’s no point spending extra money on a car if it’s stuck inside all winter. Some of the people who should take advantage of seasonal discounts include snowbirds who travel south in the winter and leave a vehicle behind, people who leave the country to travel or work for several months, or those who prefer not to drive in the winter. Ask your insurer if you can amend your policy. You’ll still need to keep comprehensive insurance (to protect against damage and theft), but it becomes more like storage insurance than vehicle insurance.
32) Save Money on Young Driver Insurance By Mentioning Grades or GPA
Some insurers will actually give a discount on young driver insurance for students who maintain a good average or GPA. Ask your insurer about any type of good student discounts. Typically, these insurers require the student to maintain a specific average and provide transcripts as evidence. Now, your child has extra incentive to maintain good grades.
33) Tell your Insurer About your Retirement
Are you retiring in the near future? Make sure you tell your insurer that you’ll no longer be commuting to work daily. That can knock thousands of miles off your annual driving activity, which could mean lower insurance rates.
34) Ask About Retiree Discounts
While you’re telling your insurer about your retirement plans, make sure you ask about any retiree discounts or senior discounts. Some insurers offer retiree discounts because they know you’re not commuting to work daily. Senior discounts aren’t as common – although seniors may still be eligible for discounts based on their decades of safe driving.
35) Compare Quotes Online
Shopping for insurance in-person can be intimidating. Fortunately, we don’t live in 1976 anymore. Today, all major insurance companies have quote request forms online. You can shop and compare quotes online in a stress-free, hassle-free, instant way. You might never have to speak to a real human being! Compare quotes online, then pick the one that meets your needs best.
36) Ask for a Higher Deductible
Are you confident about your driving ability? Ask for a higher deductible. A higher deductible means that you’re going to pay a lot more money if you do get into an accident. However, your monthly rates will be lower. You can make an enormous difference in the cost of your insurance policy by switching from a $500 deductible to a $1,000 deductible (as much as 30 or 40%, especially if your deductible was lower than $500).
37) Take Public Transit
The fewer miles you put on your car every year, the less money you’ll pay for insurance. Consider taking public transit to work every day. The more you drive, the more chances you have to get in an accident. Your insurance company knows this – and they also know that it’s more dangerous to drive during rush hour. By taking public transit, you can significantly reduce the risk of driving.
38) Buy a Vehicle with an Anti-Theft Device
When shopping for vehicles, ask about anti-theft devices. Sometimes, these devices are as simple as a blinking light. In other cases, they’re full-fledged alarm systems. Whatever the device may be, insurers could give you a discount. When shopping for vehicles, try to pick one that comes with built-in anti-theft protection.
39) Install an Anti-Theft Device
If your vehicle didn’t come with an anti-theft device, then you may still be eligible for big cost savings by installing your own anti-theft device. Ask if your insurer provides discounts for aftermarket devices. If so, your anti-theft device could pay for itself in a few short months.
40) Take a Refresher Course as an Older Driver
People are living longer today than they ever have before in human history. That means the average driver is getting older – and insurance companies are starting to freak out. To encourage driver safety, insurance companies often provide discounts to older drivers who take a refresher course. These courses can help older drivers get up-to-date on the technology in new cars, as well as any new road signs, driving strategies, or driving systems introduced in the decades since you first took your driving test.
41) Make Sure You’re Raising a Safe Driver
Adding a young driver to your plan is always expensive (expect it to add about 50 to 100% to your plan). However, your plan is going to go up even higher if your young driver gets in an accident. To prevent that from happening, make sure you’re raising a safe driver. Talk to your teen about the hazards of texting while driving, for example, and make sure you know who they’re driving with at all times (you don’t want them to frequently drive with friends who encourage hazardous behavior, for example). Obviously, cheaper insurance rates aren’t the only reason you want your child to avoid an accident!
42) Limit Your Drinking
Drinkers are more likely to get into an accident than non-drinkers. From an insurer’s perspective, it’s most costly to insure someone who drinks than someone who doesn’t drink. You may be able to get a cheaper rate on your auto insurance by letting your insurer know that you don’t drink. However, these discounts are rare. Obviously, even if you don’t get an insurance discount, you should still avoid drinking and driving: drinking and driving increases your chances of getting into a collision, which will have an enormous impact on your insurance rates.
43) Work with a Direct Insurer Instead of an Insurance Broker
There are pros and cons of working with insurance brokers. On the plus side, you get to work with someone whose job is to find you the cheapest rate on car insurance. However, you typically pay a small fee for this service. Sometimes, you can save a considerable amount of money by working with a direct insurer (i.e. an individual working for the insurance company via call centers or online). In these situations, you’re cutting out the middleman, which means you save money.
44) Reduce Modifications on your Car
Car modifications can increase the cost of your insurance policy. Whether it’s an expensive car stereo or a body kit, your insurance covers your car and its modifications.
45) Ask About Welcome Discounts
Did you just move to a new city? Are you considering switching to a new provider? Some insurers offer “Welcome discounts” or special promotions where you can save 5 or 10% as a new policy holder.
46) Get a Plan with Only Liability Coverage
Virtually all countries require vehicles by law to have liability insurance. If you injure someone or damage their property, liability coverage protects the other person. There’s no law requiring you to have collision insurance. If you drive an older car, or are simply willing to risk it, you can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars by switching to a plan that only contains liability insurance. Talk to your insurer about removing collision insurance from your plan – especially as your vehicle gets older.
47) Wait Six Years for Accidents to Disappear from your Record
If you have an at-fault collision in your past, then you know the pain of high auto insurance costs. Fortunately, I have some good news for you: if you wait six years, and you don’t get into another accident in those six years, your rates should fall sharply. All you need is a little patience.
48) Consider the Make and Model of the Car
Obviously, more expensive cars are associated with higher insurance costs. However, the make and model of the vehicle also come into consideration (even if two vehicles are equal in price). Some car types are associated with riskier drivers, for example. In addition to the make and model of your vehicle, specific vehicles features can play a role in your auto insurance rate.
Insurers look at certain features within the car to assess its risk. For example, cars with two seats, high-performance engines, and racing tires typically have a higher insurance premium because they fall into the “sports car” category. Sports cars are a high-risk vehicle for insurers – not just because of unsafe driving habits, but also because they’re a bigger target for car thieves. When shopping around for cars, always check insurance quotes before you buy. It could be a deciding factor in your purchase.
49) Choose Cars with Cheaper Repair Costs
Certain cars – like a BMW or Jaguar – have notoriously expensive repair costs. Insurance companies know this, which is why it will cost more to insure these cars. In general, domestic cars have cheaper repair costs than foreign cars.
50) Avoid Filing a Claim for Small Damages
Keeping a claim history is important. It’s so important that many drivers avoid claiming small incidents. Say, if you scrape the side of your garage pulling into the driveway, you may want to keep that incident off the books. Sure, your insurance could pay for the $300 touch-up from your local body shop – but your insurance rates may be higher for years into the future. You don’t even have to hide the incident from your insurer. Talk to your insurer after an incident to see if it makes sense to claim it – or if you’re better off paying out-of-pocket at the body shop.
51) Ask About Discounts for People with Disabilities
People with disabilities may be eligible for discounts as high as 25%. If you or a loved one has a disability, then ask your insurer if they’re eligible for any discounts.
52) Understand that Car Insurance is a Package of Different Insurance Products
When we talk about auto insurance, we’re not talking about one single type of insurance. We’re talking about a package of insurance products. Each of these products is priced separately, and not all of these products are legally required for you to drive on the road.
Auto Insurance Products include:
- Collison coverage pays to repair your vehicle when you have an accident with another vehicle (even if the crash was your fault)
Comprehensive coverage covers things like vandalism, fire damage, hail damage, or damage caused by hitting an animal
- Property damage covers any damage you cause to another person’s property, like their mailbox, fence, or building
- Bodily injury liability covers any injuries you cause to another individual involved in a vehicle accident
- Medical payments or personal injury protection (PIP) pays for any injuries you or the passengers of your vehicle suffered, even if you’re at-fault; this can extend to lost wages and funeral expenses
- Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage covers situations where you’re involved in a collision with another motorist who doesn’t have auto insurance, or if you’re in a hit and run situation, or if an at-fault driver has insurance, but not enough to fully cover your loss
By understanding these terms, you can pick and choose which ones matter most to you. If you choose to have all of the above policies maxed out on your plan, you’re going to pay significantly more than someone who just has liability coverage.
53) Carpool to Work
Up above, we mentioned that you can save money on your insurance by taking public transit to work. If you don’t like the idea of being crammed on a sweaty bus or train with a bunch of strangers, then consider carpooling to work. You can even carpool to work with your spouse if you work in the same area. Whether it’s with a spouse or coworker, carpooling significantly reduces the number of miles on your car every year.
54) Buy your Vehicle with Cash, or Get a Shorter-Term Loan
For many people, it’s not really an option to buy a vehicle with cash. However, you should try to avoid borrowing money for your vehicle whenever possible. Obviously, you pay more in interest and lending fees. But you also pay more for vehicle insurance: when you have a loan on your vehicle, you don’t totally own the vehicle. That’s why these vehicles are required to have both comprehensive and collision coverage. If you took out a car loan to pay for your vehicle, you need these types of insurance.
55) Remove Unnecessary Insurance Once your Vehicle is Paid Off
As a companion tip to #54, make sure you remove unnecessary insurance after your vehicle is paid off. You might not want to remove collision insurance on a vehicle that’s just 3 years old. However, as your vehicle gets older, and your loan is completely paid off, removing collision insurance may be a smart cost saving decision.
56) Check your Odometer
Audit your driving regularly by checking your odometer. You may be driving less (or more) than you realize. Reset your trip odometer to zero at the beginning of the month, then track your usage throughout that month. Multiply that number by 12 to get your approximate average usage for the year. If your usage is under 12,000 miles per year, then you drive less than the average driver and you may be eligible for certain discounts.
57) Audit your Driving When You Move to a New Location or Start a New Job
If you’ve recently had a life change, then it’s important to audit your driving and find out exactly how far you’re driving in an average period. Audit your driving when you move to a new home, for example, or start at a new job. Even small life changes can have a big impact on your odometer.
57) Consider Using a Tracking Device
Tracking devices make some people (understandably) uncomfortable. But some insurance companies now offer tracking devices as a way to save money. Progressive, for example, has a tracker called MyRate. It’s a small, wireless device attached to your vehicle. It lets Progressive monitor your driving habits – like your distance, frequent travel times, and driving habits – to get a more accurate picture of the type of driver you are. Progressive claims you can save as much as 60% after the first year of switching to MyRate. Obviously, this is only a good idea if you’re a safe driver.
58) Make Sure Your Insurer Knows How You’re Using your Vehicle
Insurance companies charge different rates depending on how you’re using your vehicle (along with the distance traveled). Does your insurer know that you’re not commuting to work every day? Does your insurer know you work from home? Make sure your insurer knows exactly how you’re using your vehicle.
59) Tell Your Insurer About Different Drivers or Uses for the Vehicle
Are you going out of town for a month? Is someone else using your vehicle for different purposes? Your insurance might drop depending on the uses and the distanced traveled.
60) Ask About Mature Driver Discounts for Drivers Over 50
Insurance companies like to see a long history of safe driving. However, some companies also offer “mature driver” discounts even if you don’t have perfect driving history. Mature driver discounts are for drivers with good driving records over the age of 50 (different insurers have different age limits). You may be eligible for a substantial discount.
61) If You’re a Young Driver Living at Home, Add Yourself to your Parents’ Plan
I know a lot of young drivers are reading this article. Insurance is expensive for young drivers. One “insurance hack” you can use to reduce the costs is to stop looking for insurance on your own. Instead, bundle yourself under your mom or dad’s insurance. You can gain driving experienced as a named occasional driver under the insurance policy of a parent or guardian, saving you a lot of money compared to if you listed yourself as the principal driver of your own vehicle. Overall, the premiums for young, occasional drivers are significantly lower than the premiums for young, principal drivers.
62) Ask About Student Discounts
Up above, we mentioned that insurance companies give discounts to drivers who maintain a certain GPA. However, some insurance companies give discounts to students regardless of their GPA. If you’re a college student looking to save money, for example, then you may be eligible for a student discount on your insurance plan. Overall, this is a rarity in the insurance industry, because students are a hazardous risk group (more due to their age than their education) However, it’s worth a check if you’re in college.
63) Ask About a Student Away from home Discount
If your college-age kid just left home to go to school, then you may be tempted to remove them totally from the insurance policy (young driver premiums cost a lot of money, after all). However, if your college kid comes home to visit from time to time, then you may want to ask your insurer about a Student Away-At-School Discount. A growing number of insurance companies are offering such discounts. It allows you to enjoy considerable cost savings while still letting your child drive your vehicle the occasional weekend. They can help you save a lot of money while still letting your kid enjoy the convenience of using your vehicle.
64) Ask About Car Safety Discounts
Some insurance companies give discounts on certain car safety features. Discounts may be available for side airbags and antilock brakes, for example. If your car already has these features built-in, then car safety discounts are a no-brainer way to save on auto insurance.
65) Spy on your Teen Driver
Out of all the tips on this list, this one might be the sleaziest. Auto insurance companies now offer discounts for customers who participate in “monitoring programs” for teen drivers. Basically, you agree to let your insurer install a monitoring system in your car (some even offer cameras and microphones). The insurer uses this information to monitor your teen’s driving habits. The camera gets turned on when aggressive driving is detected (i.e. sudden braking or accelerating). You can also set these systems for your personal use – say, set an alert when your child arrives at a specific address.
66) Move to the Countryside
Driving in the city is more expensive than driving in the country. In general, urban areas have more expensive insurance costs than rural areas. More people driving on the roads means more chances to get into an accident. If you recently moved outside the city, consider asking your insurer about any available discounts.
67) Move to An Area with a Lower Cost of Living
Did you recently move across the country? If so, then your cost of living may have significantly changed. That means your insurance could be way cheaper in your new location. Consider calling around to local insurance providers to see if you can save a bundle of money over your previous insurer.
68) Move to an Area with Better Weather
If you live in an area that gets snow or frost throughout the winter, you’re usually going to pay higher insurance premiums than an area where it’s always sunny and dry. Insurers take a greater risk when insuring vehicles that regularly drive on icy roads. Obviously, you shouldn’t move thousands of miles just for the insurance discount – but it’s something to think about if you were moving anyway.
69) Don’t Assume an SUV is Cheaper to Insure than a Smaller Car
Obviously, the make and model of your car plays a big role in the price you pay for insurance. Many people take this to mean that their boxy SUV is always going to cost more to insure than their small sedan. That’s not always the case. Insurers take a lot of things into account – like the fact that a big truck will cause big damage. However, they also look at things like how likely it is that a car will injure another person, how well-protected passengers are in the event of a collision, and the amount of damage that car will receive in an average collision. Always request an insurance quote before you buy a new vehicle.
70) Avoid Adding Too Much Stuff to your Car
Avoid adding aftermarket items to your car if you want to save money. If your car gets totaled, then the insurance company will determine a fair market value for your car. That means they’ll look at your vehicle as a whole package. This is an important difference! You might have paid $3,000 for a new exhaust, stereos, and a spoiler, for example, but they only added $1,000 of actual cash value to your car. Don’t assume you’re getting a dollar for dollar return on your insurance policy.
71) Understand that Insurance Companies Can’t Change your Rate Mid-Term Based on Changes to your Credit Score
Did you recently declare bankruptcy? If so, your insurance company can’t change its rates until your policy is up for renewal. In other words, your insurer can’t alter your rate mid-term based on changes in your credit. The only “exception” to this rule is when you’re adding a new vehicle to your plan mid-term, in which case that new vehicle’s rate can be affected by your credit score.
72) Understand that your Insurer Can Change Rates Mid-Term for Other Reasons
Your insurance company can change rates mid-term for other reasons. For example, they can change your rate for claim and ticket information. They just can’t change it based on credit score information.
73) Ask for a New Rate Based on Your Improved Credit Score
In tip #71, we mentioned that companies can’t change your rate mid-term based on your credit score. However, this isn’t always a good thing. Let’s say you had bad credit in the past, but your credit has been very good in recent years. In that case, your insurance company isn’t going to offer to lower your rate based on your credit score. Instead, they wait for you to request to re-check your credit score. Take advantage of this if you know your credit score has improved since you received your insurance rate.
74) Make Sure You Use an Accredited Driver Safety Program
We’ve mentioned that it’s in your best interests to take a defensive driving course or a driver safety program – especially if you’re a new driver. However, there’s one caveat to this rule: make sure you’re taking a course that is accredited and approved. Most driving courses make it very obvious they’re accredited. Some driving schools, however, might not be accredited, which means you won’t receive the insurance discounts.
75) Use an Accurate Job Title When Requesting Auto Insurance
Oddly, the type of job you have can affect your insurance rate in certain jurisdictions. UK-based GoCompare.com, for example, found that insurers charged over $100 more if you wrote “chef” on your application form instead of “kitchen staff”. Other findings from that study included “music teachers” paying over $100 more than “teachers”, and “office managers” paying significantly more than “office administrators”. Construction workers also paid more than builders, and builders paid more than bricklayers. This seems like more of a glitch in the system than a real policy. However, it may be worth filing separate quote requests under different job titles – just to see if there’s a difference.
76) Get Cheaper Rates as a Full Time Parent
Full time parents will pay cheaper vehicle insurance rates than working parents. That’s because you’re not commuting to work every day. Insurance companies change your rate based on your commute to work. Yes, you might still have to drive your kids to and from school every day, and that commute may be longer than your commute to work. But from an insurance perspective, you’ll pay cheaper rates (remember – you’re typically not driving during rush hour).
77) Add a More Experienced Driver to the Policy
You can’t add your dad to your policy as a primary driver if he’s not the primary driver of your vehicle. However, there’s nothing illegal about adding a secondary driver to your vehicle. In fact, adding an experienced secondary driver to your vehicle can actually save you money. If your relative has a clean record and no claims in his or her past, then you may want to add that person to your insurance.
78) Start Searching for New Car Insurance a Month Before your Renewal
Many drivers make the mistake of waiting for renewal time to shop around. However, a lot can happen in a year. Shop around as life happens – say, if you move to a new city or change drivers on your vehicle. There’s no real reason to wait until renewal time. The sooner you shop, the more seamless your transition will be. Plus, by shopping around today, you may be able to save money on the costs of your insurance before your renewal time – like when you remove a young driver from your policy. At the very least, start shopping for new insurance 4 weeks before your policy is up for renewal.
79) Use Comparison Sites, But Don’t Necessarily Order Through Them
Today, you can find thousands of auto insurance comparison websites online. These comparison websites might promise you an ultra-low rate from one insurer – but in reality, you’re paying commission fees for that referral. You can use comparison sites to compare insurance quotes. Once you’re ready to book, however, you should directly request a quote from the insurance agency’s official website – or through a representative over the phone. You might find that the rate is slightly cheaper.
80) Take Advantage of Referral Fees
On the contrary, you might actually make money when you book through auto insurance comparison websites. These websites might give a portion of their referral fee to you. The website might claim that if you book through their platform, you’ll get $200 cash back. That’s because the website made, say, $400 for the referral, and it gives half of the referral money to you. That’s a sweet deal for you.
81) Remove Unnecessary Things from your Insurance Policy
Some insurance policies go into a surprising amount of detail about the stuff covered under your plan. There may be coverage for roadside assistance, for example, or windshield damage. You might not leave any valuables in your car overnight, but you could be paying hundreds of dollars a year for theft coverage. Take a close look at your policy and see what’s covered. The less stuff that’s covered, the less you’ll pay. If you already have AAA coverage, for example, then you won’t need additional roadside assistance coverage through your insurer.
82) Get Auto Insurance Through Costco
If you’re a Costco member, then you may be entitled to cheap auto insurance. Costco has partnered with Ameriprise Auto & Home Insurance to offer surprisingly cheap auto insurance rates. Depending on your region, Costco may be the cheapest auto insurance provider. Costco also routinely offers promotional periods. You might receive a $50 or $100 Costco cash card if you sign up for auto insurance within a certain promotional period, for example.
83) Don’t Always Pick the Cheapest Insurance Policy
This tip may seem counter-intuitive in an article called “100 Ways to Save on Auto Insurance”. However, it’s an important thing to consider. If an insurance company is offering rates hundreds of dollars less than its competitors, then they could be cutting corners somewhere. They might not have bad customer service, for example, or there may be a number of different restrictions on your policy. If you don’t want to comb through pages of “legalese” to determine what’s covered and what’s not, then your best bet is to stick with a reliable insurance company.
84) Check Reviews and State Complaints Before You Choose an Insurer
Having trouble picking between two cheap auto insurance quotes? Check reviews and state complaints before you buy. Each state’s Department of Insurance collects customer complaints against insurance companies. You can see which insurance companies have more complaints than others. Ultimately, an insurance company may look cheaper on paper – but in reality, they offer significantly worse coverage than a slightly more expensive provider. In that situation, you may want to spend $50 more to work with a more reputable provider. If you have a claim in the future, then this could quickly pay for itself.
85) Don’t Skimp On Liability Coverage
If you’re trying to save as much money on car insurance as possible, then you may be tempted to reduce your liability insurance to the lowest possible value. You’re free to do this. However, most experts recommend having at least $1 million of liability coverage at all times. Some even recommend a minimum of $2 million or $4 million of coverage. If you live in a part of the world where lawsuits are particularly common – like the United States – then good liability insurance is crucial. Litigation insurance is particularly crucial for parents of teen drivers. If your teen is driving your vehicle, and your teen gets into an accident, then all of your household assets can be considered fair game in a lawsuit. Save money on auto insurance – but don’t expose yourself to too much risk by reducing your liability coverage.
86) Shorten Your Commute
We’ve already talked about taking public transit to work, or carpooling with a coworker. If neither of these things appeal to you, however, then consider shortening your commute to work. You might drive to the train station, for example, or drive halfway to work then cycle the rest of the way. If you’re frequently driving over 25 miles to work every day, then reducing your commute can add up to significant savings on your auto insurance.
87) Watch your Insurer Closely When You Need Repairs
Many drivers blindly trust their insurers. However, even top-rated insurers may engage in some shady behavior when you need to file a claim and repair your vehicle. For example, your insurer might encourage you to use shops in a direct-repair program (DRP). Or, they might encourage you to use cheaper replacement parts instead of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts. Non-OEM parts are always a bad idea. They have poor maintenance records, are more prone to rust and corrosion, fit your car poorly, and may even fail federal safety standards. Your insurer is trying to save money on your claim. Don’t let them get away with it. Make sure you watch all claims reports closely.
88) Get Farm or Ranch Vehicle Discounts
Some insurers – particularly insurers serving rural communities – offer discounted insurance rates for farm or ranch vehicles. The main restriction of this insurance is that the vehicle must be used on your own property. However, it’s a substantially lower rate than conventional insurance. If you feel the need to insure a vehicle that’s on your own property, then ask your insurer about farm or ranch vehicle discounts.
89) Aim to Drop your Mileage Below 7500 Per Year
We established earlier that the average driver drives 12,000 miles a year. If you’re under that number, you may be eligible for low-usage discounts. However, there’s a specific sweet spot to aim for: aim to reduce your mileage below 7500 miles per year. Insurance companies call this a “pleasure rate” – which is the lowest available rate for drivers. If you drive fewer than 7500 miles a year, you’ll be paying significantly less than the average driver (discounts are as high as 25% from some insurers).
90) Ask your Insurance Company About Discounts
A lot of the tips mentioned above involve asking your insurance company about specific discounts. But you don’t have to know about any specific discounts to save money. If you call your insurance company and ask about discounts, they’ll be able to analyze your profile and tell you about any discounts that may be available to you. Yes, this may be a little lazier than the other tips, but it can still save you money.
91) Talk to your Credit Card Company to Save on Rental Car Costs
Some credit cards cover rental car insurance. When you pay with a card that has insurance for rental car protection, you may be able to save about $20 per day in collision damage waiver fees. Not all credit cards have this, so check your policy to make sure.
92) Talk to your Insurance Company to Save on Rental Car Insurance Costs
Some insurance plans cover your insurance costs on rental cars. Your coverage is extended to your rental car whenever you rent a car. If that’s the case, then you may be able to save on collision damage waiver costs for rental vehicles. If this isn’t on your plan, and you frequently rent vehicles, then it may be worth paying slightly more for your vehicle insurance in exchange for waiving rental car insurance fees. On the contrary, if you never rent cars, and this is on your plan, then you may be able to save money by removing it from your plan.
93) Remove Young Drivers from your Insurance Plan
If your son or daughter no longer needs your vehicle, then remember to remove them from your insurance plan. Young driver insurance is expensive.
94) Remove Young Drivers from your Insurance When They Go Away
Adding a young driver to your insurance plan is expensive. One of the best ways to save money on young driver insurance is to remove young drivers from your plan when they go away. Is your son or daughter away at college all winter? Remove them from the plan during the winter months. Don’t forget about holidays! Some parents have followed this tip, then let their son or daughter drive over Thanksgiving accidentally. Fortunately, some insurers let you add young driver insurance on a daily basis – say, if your child is just home for the day or weekend.
95) Apply for your Full, Unrestricted License as Soon as You’re Eligible
Drivers with a full, unrestricted license typically pay less for insurance than drivers who haven’t yet passed their final road test. Make sure you take your final road test as soon as you’re eligible. The sooner you take it, the more cost savings you’ll enjoy. Not all jurisdictions have graduated licensing programs. Some areas let you have your full license as soon as you turn 16.
96) Get Married
Getting married just to save money on auto insurance is probably a bad idea. However, if you were planning on getting married, or recently became married, then you may be eligible for substantial cost savings on auto insurance. Married couples – and even common law couples – are eligible for certain discounts. Couples can consolidate their insurance policies together, for example, or qualify for a multi-vehicle discount. As a married couple, you should also only need to pay one property insurance policy.
97) Use a Service Like Turo to Rent Out your Car
Just like AirBnB democratized the hotel industry, Turo aims to democratize the car rental industry. Turo is available in a growing number of regions. It lets you rent out your car in a safe and easy way. You pay by the day and choose from a wide variety of makes and models. If you find yourself not using your car for days at a time, then Turo lets you maximize your car’s moneymaking ability during those days of non-use.
98) Consider Insurance Costs Before Buying a Vehicle
When you buy a vehicle, you analyze a lot of things. You consider the mileage, the wear and tear, the horsepower, the make, the model, and the overall condition, for example. Surprisingly few car buyers, however, think about checking the insurance costs of their new vehicle before they buy. If you’re switching from a 15 year old sedan to a brand new SUV, then your insurance is going to jump by a significant amount. If you’re shopping around for a new vehicle, consider filling out a quote request on your prospective vehicle before you visit the dealership.
99) Check your Policy Carefully to Ensure All Information is Correct
Sometimes, a small mistake on your insurance policy can cost you a lot of money. Something as simple as your zip code, date of birth, and profession can change your insurance rate. Take the time to scan through your policy to ensure your information is correct. You don’t want to be paying a teenager’s insurance rate because you accidentally typed 1999 into the DOB box instead of 1989!
100) Drive Safely
Ultimately, the best way to save money on auto insurance is to drive safely. Insurers love safe drivers with a long history of never getting into accidents. If you can maintain a safe driving record for years – or decades – then you’ll be your insurance company’s favorite customer. All the tips above will reduce your insurance rates by a little bit – but this one is guaranteed to reduce your auto insurance rates more than virtually anything else on the list.
Ultimately, the auto insurance tips listed above can be used by anyone. Maybe you’re a perfect driver with 20+ years of safe driving experience. Maybe you’re a totally new driver who wants to pay the cheapest insurance possible. Whether you’ve been in ten accidents or zero accidents, the 100 ways to save auto insurance listed above are guaranteed to save you money.