1. Shop around
Of course, shopping around is the most obvious way to save money, but it’s one of the most overlooked. Perhaps it’s because most people like shopping for insurance quotes about as much as they like going to the dentist (no offense, dentists!). You’ve probably heard it before – you should always get at least three quotes when shopping for insurance. But why stop at three? Even with all of the same variables, the cost of a policy can vary greatly between carriers, and according to Coverhound, it’s estimated that there are over 500 different auto insurance companies in the U.S.! If you’re shopping around and you’re tempted to take the first or second quote you get, get a few more – you might be surprised at the difference you’ll find between agencies. If you’re strapped for time and find it difficult to get multiple quotes, try checking out the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Not only will you find an abundance of information on insurance here, but you can select your state and be redirected to your state’s insurance department. Many states actually offer a price comparison or rate guide on their site.
2. Revisit coverage every year
Many people don’t think to reexamine their coverage each year when the renewal notice arrives in the mail and instead just check to see how much the premium went up. I admit, I am usually guilty of this! However, not re-evaluating your insurance needs every year can be a costly mistake. As your vehicle begins to age, it may not make sense financially to hang onto certain coverages such as comprehensive or collision, which will pay you fair market value for your vehicle if it’s totaled. To get an idea of what your car is worth, check out NADAGuides and then make an informed decision. Is the premium that you’re paying for coverage year after year worth the value of the vehicle minus the deductible that you would have to pay if in an accident? Only you can decide if it’s worthing keeping, but the less your car is worth, the more likely it is that it may be time to drop those added coverages.
3. Consider a tracking device
Many companies including State Farm, Allstate and Progressive now offer tracking devices to monitor your driving habits. These devices gather information such as how fast you’re driving, whether you’re making sudden stops, how many miles you’re driving and what time of day you’re driving. Although some people may find these devices intrusive, the savings can be pretty significant and may outweigh those concerns. In fact, according to Progressive, drivers who utilize their Snapshot device save anywhere from 10-15 percent. That is, of course, if you’re a good driver. If you tend to drive a little too fast or a little too wild, then this device may not be for you!
4. Inquire about other discounts
As a Krazy Coupon Lady, there’s one word that I just love hearing – discounts! Insurance agencies offer a myriad of discounts, and there is something for just about everyone. The insurance market has become extremely competitive, which is great news for consumers because agencies are constantly offering up new discounts in an effort to lure new customers. Various discounts include those for military personnel, good students, select occupations, sorority or fraternity members, and even discounts for having select equipment on your car such as anti-lock breaks. Even if you think you have all of the applicable discounts on your current policy, it is still wise to call every few months to inquire about any new discounts that you might be eligible for and double check that you have all the current ones you qualify for.
5. Pay your bill in full
No one likes plunking down a large chunk of change on something as unexciting as car insurance, so many people choose to pay their insurance bill monthly. After all, psychologically, it’s much easier to write a check for $100 than $1200! However, because most insurance companies charge somewhere between $3 and $5 each month for the privilege of paying monthly, this can actually cost you a good bit more in the long run. If you can afford to pay your bill in full every 6 or 12 months (depending on the company you’re using), you may be able to knock as much as $60 off of your bill! If you can’t afford to pay your bill in full, inquire about signing up for automatic payments, which may also qualify you for a discount.
6. Take a class
Spending your weekend taking a driving class is probably the last thing you want to do, but you might be surprised to learn that taking a voluntary course can possibly knock some serious cash off of your premium! This is actually regulated in some states, such as New York, and drivers who take a defensive driving course and present the certificate of completion to their insurance company automatically receive a 10 percent discount. Even if this is not regulated in your state, many insurance agencies offer this discount, so call your agent to find out which, if any, courses will garner you a price reduction.
7. Remove towing and rental reimbursement coverage
Admittedly, dropping certain areas of coverage such as towing and rental reimbursement can be a gamble, but the odds are in your favor, and chances are good that you won’t ever need it. These coverages, which can add anywhere from $10-80 each to your insurance bill, can often be avoided by keeping your vehicle well maintained, keeping several spare keys with friends and family, and having a spare tire in your trunk. Obviously, the older your car is the more likely it is to break down, but if you’re driving a car less than five years old, you can probably skip these added services and save the cash. If you’re worried about getting into an accident and needing a tow, don’t – towing due to an accident is usually covered under collision. Locking your keys in the trunk with your groceries…well, that’s another story.