Car insurance can be one of the most expensive parts of owning a car. You might even pay more for insurance than you do for the car payment itself.
Cars are expensive, but car insurance doesn’t have to be. Finding a good plan, with the coverage you need, and at a price you can afford, can seem daunting, but there are some tips and tricks that make it easier.
In this article, we’ll cover the most common tips you can use to get a great rate, as well as some of the most common mistakes that can lead to you paying more.
Shop the Market
Shopping gives you a couple of advantages. For one thing, shopping around will help you see what the typical rates in your area are. You can compare different coverage plans from various providers to get a sense of insurance costs.
You should also look at all the insurance companies available in your area. The big-name companies might have a solid reputation and a lot of customers, but smaller local companies might have better deals. It’s important to look at the ratings for smaller insurance companies.
But, many of the best rated small companies offer better coverage for lower premiums than their big-name competitors.
After a Move
The cheapest company in one state may be the most expensive insurance provider in another.
Make sure you check the local rates every time you move, whether you’re moving from one county to another or making a big cross-country move.
Check After Major Life Events
You should also shop around for new insurance after significant life events. Marriage, college graduation, or a child getting their license are just a few of the significant events that might change your insurance rates and eligibility.
Basically, if you have a reason to change your insurance, be it adding a new driver or changing the cars you’re insuring, you should shop the market again. Even if you stay with your current insurance provider, you might be able to get new bundles, deals, and discounts thanks to your new accomplishments.
Ask About Discounts
Your insurance agent wants to keep you as a customer, and they want you to stay with the company for as long as possible. Because of that motivation, a good insurance agent will know the policies they offer inside and out, and they might be able to find obscure discounts or other deals that you can take advantage of.
Even if there aren’t any discounts available, or you don’t qualify for the ones that are available when you sign up, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Plus, asking may remind your agent of a discount they hadn’t thought of before.
Bundle Together Your Different Insurance Policies
Another great way to save some money on your insurance is to bundle different insurance policies together.
Renter’s insurance, homeowner’s insurance, life insurance, health insurance, are all potentially eligible to bundle together with your auto insurance. Every company is different, but you can collect additional discounts for each insurance policy you group together.
Getting a multi-car insurance bundle, if you and your household have more than one car, can also be a cost-saving step that keeps your rates low. Even if you insure your vehicles through the same company, that isn’t the same as a multi-car policy, and individual plans are almost always more expensive.
Buy Low-Risk Cars
Auto insurance rates are also impacted by the type of vehicle you drive. Luxury and high-cost vehicles are usually more expensive than commuter and family vehicles. But the safety features of your car and its relative risk in different road conditions are also taken into account.
If you need to keep your insurance rates low, look for a standard commuter sedan with some extra safety features built-in.
If you want to stay with your current insurance provider after buying a new car, it might be worth calling to talk to them about which cars are considered the safest, and therefore cheapest, to insure.
Don’t Keep Comprehensive Coverage on Cars that Don’t Need It
One common mistake people make when it comes to auto insurance is keeping a high-end comprehensive insurance plan on cars that don’t need that level of coverage.
If you have an older vehicle, it may not be worth comprehensive coverage. Ask if the car is worth the cost of significant repairs and if you’re already paying more in insurance premiums than you would pay to fix the car that year.
Generally, if the car could be called a beater, you don’t need comprehensive coverage.
However, an older car, that you own outright, might be worth keeping coverage if it’s still in good condition and still has a high value.
Low Mileage Driver? Get Insurance to Match
Usually, these are best for drivers who drive 10,000 miles or less in a year.
Low mileage insurance tends to have significantly lower premiums because there isn’t as much risk in a driver who spends so little time on the road.
It’s important to shop difference policy options here as well. The big-name insurance companies have low-mileage plans, but you may also have local options, and no two programs are the same.
Carefully weigh by-the-mile and low mileage plans, and check their policy on road trips, vacations, and other rare but high-mileage activities.
Ask About Driving Tracking Apps and Discounts
Another option to potentially lower your rates would be to install a tracking or telematics device in your car, or an app on your phone, to take advantage of your safe driving habits.
Allstate, in particular, has become known for their safe-driving discounts and other perks, but most insurance companies offer similar programs. Tracking programs can provide significant discounts and can even help you keep a lower rate if you do get in an accident.
However, you should be careful because tracking can be a double-edged sword. Tracking apps can reveal that you are an aggressive driver, habitual speeder, or any number of other poor driving habits.
Tracking can backfire if you aren’t as careful as you think you are, so you should talk with your insurance agent about all the details of their monitoring and safe driving programs.
The most important thing you can do to get a great insurance rate is to take your time finding the right plan. And, once you’ve found a great program, you should check in every couple years, or every major life event, to see if you can get a better rate from a different plan or a different company.
Shopping around can also help you negotiate better rates in exchange for customer loyalty, so, staying on top of your driving habits and options is to your advantage.
You can also invest in safe cars with lots of safety features to help bring your rate down. Tracking apps and safe-driving programs that reward claims-free and ticket-free driving can also keep your rate low.
And remember, check your current insurance providers for bundling opportunities. Sometimes you can get more insurance for less if you get the right deal.