Sometimes it feels like you need to check your medical insurance before you check the car insurance bill, just in case you have an attack of some kind after looking at the vehicle coverage charges. Here are some ways to give yourself a easier time of it with your car insurance.
You may be aware that there are websites that compare car insurance rates. However, many of those sites make money by charging a fee to the insurance companies when someone buys insurance after seeing it on that site. So if a company doesn’t agree to pay the fees, they don’t get included in the listings. For a more comprehensive listing visit the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ web site at www.naic.org.
Improve your credit
One of the things insurance companies have generally come to believe is that people with higher credit scores tend to have fewer accidents. So go to www.annualcreditreport.com and get your free credit reports.
The number crunchers at insurance companies have all kinds of complicated formulas they use to determine who is more likely to be in an accident. But one way they calculate insurance rates isn’t that complicated: people who spend less time driving are less likely to be in an accident. Call your insurance company to see if they offer a lower rate for those who put fewer miles on their vehicle.
Go with higher deductibles
The deductible for your insurance is the amount you have to pay after an accident before the insurance company will swoop and pay their share. By raising your deductible, you lower the amount you need to pay each month.
Drop unneeded coverage
When insuring an older vehicle that doesn’t have a lot of value, it doesn’t make sense to have a lot of collision or comprehensive coverage on it. Additionally, if you have robust health and disability insurance separate from your car insurance, you usually only need to pay for the minimum personal injury protection required by your state for your auto policy.
Make your car safer
Insurance companies will often give lower rates for cars with air bags, theft deterrent devices, alarm systems, automatic seat belts, anti-lock brakes or daytime running lamps.
Get payments in on time
A history of late pays can disqualify you for any or all discounts.
Having multiple types of insurance with the same company or having multiple family members utilizing the same provider can in many cases put extra dough in your pocket.
Pay in lump sums
In many cases, insurance providers charge an administrative fee for paying in monthly installments. Having to pay these fees 12 times a year can really add up, so try to pay in larger amounts less frequently.
We’ve all heard about people whose insurance payments have “gone through the roof” because they got into an accident or got a ticket. Avoid these bank account drainers by obeying traffic laws and driving defensively.
Pick your vehicles with insurance rates in mind
Vehicles that get into more accidents are going to cost more to insure. Visit the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s web site at www.iihs.org to get a sense for which cars are considered safest and thus should cost less to cover.
Learn your group affiliation perks
Employees of certain companies and graduates of particular colleges can qualify for breaks on their rates in some instances. And if you are in the military, have been in the military, or are related to someone in the military, you might be able to qualify for insurance through USAA, an organization known for offering very competitive rates. Make a list of your affiliations and ask your insurer if any of these would give you a reduction in costs.
Call your agent
Car insurance is a very competitive industry, so it’s in your provider’s best interest to help you get the best deal possible with them. Periodically giving your agent a ring will help you keep up on any discounts you might be eligible for.