Let’s face it, insurance costs add up, and often you’ll pay more in insurance over the course of your life than you would if you just paid for issues as they arose. However, car insurance is a requirement, with liability being the minimum in almost every state. With that being said, it doesn’t mean you can’t save a little money along the way. Below are 10 ways to save on car insurance, so you can spend that money elsewhere.
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Compare Insurance Providers and their Policies
Okay, we know this is probably the most annoying part about getting coverage, but once it’s over, you’ll thank yourself later for all the money you end up saving. Yes, you’re going to have to deal with an insurance agent who wants to sell you everything, including the kitchen sink when you probably don’t need it. Yes, the representative will most likely try and sell you the most expensive policy they have. Yes, you’re going to have to give up a lot of personal information—and get annoying follow-up calls long after you make your selection. However, in the end, it is worth it to comparison shop.
Some insurance providers charge more than others based on credit score or bad driving habits. What one raises the price drastically on, the other might not, an example of this is a DUI charge. No matter how you look at it, something like a DUI will raise the cost of your insurance premiums. However, one company might charge you an extra few extra $100 for a year, while another will charge you a $1,000 more a year for.
Sadly, most insurance agencies don’t offer this information up-front on their websites, so you’re going to have to call and talk to a real person. You’ll probably be on hold for too long and wonder if you should just go with the easy online application. Yes, you can do that, but you’ll probably end up paying more in the end. So, make sure you compare auto insurance agencies and their policies.
Consider your Deductible
Policies come with a deductible. You’ll pay your monthly premium and then when something happens, you’ll pay more on top of that before you can have your car fixed. Typically, your deductible will be either $500 or $1,000. However, every agency is different. Either way, the larger your deductible, the smaller your monthly premium will be. But, the lower your deductible is, the more you’ll pay on your premium.
This is something you might want to consider if you need smaller payments now or can afford to pay a big lump sum later. This will depend entirely on your financial situation. But, if you can afford it, spending more later will save you more now.
Yes, we know, bundling typically involves paying for a bunch of stuff you didn’t need in the first place. Here though, we mean bundle when it makes sense. If you’re already paying for home insurance, personal property insurance, and car insurance, some agencies will give you a bundling discount. For insurance providers who don’t offer anything but auto insurance, if you have more than one car on the policy, you could save money this way as well.
Before you settle on any car insurance, read our blog, Best Car Insurance for Veterans/Military Personnel
Improve your Credit Score
When you hear about credit score, you probably think about a car or home loan. But, did you know it can affect your insurance premiums as well? Some agencies put a little more stock in this than others, but it’s typically a consideration with most providers.
If your credit score is on the lower end of things, you’re likely to pay more on your premium than someone with a higher credit score. If you find that you’ve improved your score over time, you might want to consider talking with an agent to see if they can lower your premium based on your new credit score.
Ask about Discounts
Don’t be shy here, ask about available discounts. Unfortunately, not all agents will be forthcoming about the discounts they provide. Some companies won’t disclose discounts on their websites either. With that being said, ask, because the worst they can do is say, “no, we don’t offer that discount.”
We say ask as well because some insurance providers offer more discounts than others. For example, not all companies provide a safe driver discount, a mileage discount, military discounts, etc. And if you don’t ask, you won’t be able to get an accurate price comparison.
Pay by the Mile
Paying by the mile will probably only save you money if you drive very few miles. For example, let’s say you live a block away from where you work. The grocery store is literally next to your house, and you probably walk a majority of the time. Your family also lives nearby, so you’re not really driving a long distance to go see your loved ones. If this is you, you might not be putting a lot of miles on the car.
Keep in mind, every insurance company is different. Some offer lower prices for varying miles you put on your car while others don’t offer a pay by the mile option at all. If you’re putting a lot of miles on your vehicle, this will not save you money.
If you got one of those agents who sold you the most expensive policy, there’s a chance you’re paying for more than you need. For example, are you the only one driving your car? Many agencies make you pay more for other people driving your vehicle. But, if this isn’t the case with you and there’s no chance anyone will ever drive your car, then you’re paying for something you aren’t using.
Or, maybe you’re paying for more insurance than you need. For example, if you’re paying for insurance that will replace a $20,000 car, but your vehicle only cost $10,000, you’re probably paying for too much coverage.
Maintain Safe Driving Habits
Like we said earlier, not all insurance providers offer a safe driving discount. That doesn’t mean safe driving habits won’t save you money. Some agencies will give you a check if you go so long without filing a claim, and the longer you go accident-free, the more you’ll get back. Or, you’ll simply see your premium drop over time.
Again, not all companies offer this, but if they do, it’s another great way to save a little money. Make sure you ask your agent about this before signing a contract, especially if you think you’d fall into the safe driver category.
In the air about USAA car insurance? Read our blog, Is USAA The Best Car Insurance for Veterans?
Pay in Full or Bi-Annually
Not everyone can afford to pay for their car insurance up-front or even bi-annually. However, if you can, it’s only one more way of saving money in the long-run. Some agencies will give discounts for paying up-front or even bi-annually, so make sure you ask about this saving opportunity, because chances are, you won’t know until you ask.
Safety Features, Location, Car Prices
We went ahead and put this all in one category because the chance of you picking out a car with safety feature because of insurance is unlikely. Moving based on car insurance prices or buying a car based strictly on how much it will cost you in coverage is also unlikely. But, each of these could save you money and have a drastic effect on how much you’re going to pay in insurance.
For instance, the more safety features you have on your car, the more you’re likely to save. This is because safety feature decreases the potential for you to get into an accident.
Where you live will also increase or decreases the chances of accidents. Let’s say you live in a very populated area, you’re more likely to have a collision. Location is also all about other drivers. If you live in an area where statistics say there’s a lot of car thefts or uninsured drivers, you’re going to pay more.
How much your car costs will also increase or decrease your insurance rate. For example, if your car would cost a lot to replace, you will pay more. If your vehicle doesn’t cost that much to replace, you probably won’t be paying as much.
For those of you currently serving, some agencies do offer military discounts. USAA and Geico are examples. However, you can also save by storing your car on base while deployed. Talk to a representative if you’re leaving your vehicle behind state-side and no one will be driving it.
Considering USAA or Geico for your car insurance? Read our blog, USAA vs. Geico Car Insurance for Veterans