Nine Ways to Lower Your Auto Insurance Costs
by Kevin Schappell
You may not realize it, but the insurance rates you pay for your car can vary dramatically depending on the insurance company, agent or broker you choose, the coverage's you request and the kind of car you drive. Listed below are a number of things you can do right now to lower your insurance costs.
1. Comparison shop.
Prices for the same coverage can vary by hundreds of dollars, so it pays to shop around. Ask your friends, check the yellow pages or call your state insurance department. You can also check consumer guides, insurance agents or companies. This will give you an idea of price ranges and tell you which companies or agents have the lowest prices. But don't shop price alone.
The insurer you select should offer both fair prices and excellent service. Quality personal service may cost a bit more, but provides added conveniences, so talk to a number of insurers to get a feeling for the quality of their service. Ask them what they would do to lower your costs. Check the financial ratings of the companies too. Then, when you've narrowed the field to three insurers, get price quotes.
2. Ask for higher deductibles.
Deductibles represent the amount of money you pay before you make a claim. By requesting higher deductibles on collision and comprehensive (fire and theft) coverage, you can lower your costs substantially. For example, increasing your deductible from $200 to $500 could reduce your collision cost by 15% to 30%.
3. Drop collision and/or comprehensive coverage on older cars.
It may not be cost-effective to have collision or comprehensive coverages on cars worth less than $1000 because any claim you make would not substantially exceed annual cost and deductible amounts. Auto dealers and banks can tell you the worth of cars.
4. Eliminate duplicate medical coverages.
If you have adequate health insurance, you may be paying for duplicate medical coverage in your auto policy. In some states, eliminating this coverage could lower your personal injury protection (PIP) cost by up to 40%.
5. Buy a "low profile" car.
Before you buy a new or used car, check into insurance costs. Cars that are expensive to repair, or that are favorite targets for thieves, have much higher insurance costs. Write to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 1005 North Glebe Road, Arlington, VA 22201 and ask for the Highway Loss Data Chart.
6. Consider area insurance cost if you are making a move.
Costs tend to be lowest in rural communities and highest in center cities where there is more traffic congestion.
7. Take advantage of low mileage discounts.
Some companies offer discounts to motorists who drive fewer than a predetermined number of miles a year.
8. Find out about automatic seat belt or air bag discounts.
You may be able to take advantage of discounts on some coverages if you have automatic seat belts and/or air bags.
9. Inquire about other discounts.
Some insurers offer discounts for more than one car, no accidents in three years, drivers over 50 years of age, driver training courses, anti-theft devices, anti-lock brakes and good grades for students. See the following page for a guide to these and other discounts.
Something to think about:
When looking for competitive quotes make sure you are honest on the application. Not reporting an accident or ticket may get you a lower rate but the insurance company WILL find out the truth. The bad part is they usually check after you have signed on the dotted line. You won't know until you get the bill and magically your insurance rate is higher than quoted. It's all legal because of a little clause in the application and your forgetfulness. Make sure you don't forget anything and good luck in reducing your insurance costs.
Kevin maintains http://www.autoeducation.com where he gives advice on car maintenance, buying, selling, insurance, and financing. A mechanical engineer and car guy, Kevin has decided to spend his online time helping others learn about automobiles.
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