It’s happened to just about every driver. You go to pay your monthly car insurance premium and realize you’re spending way too much money. There must be a better way…right?
Luckily, there are some easy steps you can take to lower premiums and ensure you’re getting the best insurance rate. With a bit of ingenuity and an understanding of the insurance market, you can reduce your car insurance costs and get great coverage without breaking the bank.
1. Shop for car insurance regularly—ideally every six months.
Almost every car insurance company will change their rates every month. Shopping for car insurance once or more each year will help you take advantage of the insurance market’s ebbs and flows.
And in the eyes of insurance companies, you’re also changing. An insurance company will always assess your background and driving history before determining your rate. That means a significant life change like a new job, marriage, or earning a college degree might affect your insurance costs. Similarly, past violations like a speeding ticket might fall off your record. By shopping for car insurance regularly, you can make providers aware of these changes, which might lead to lower insurance rates.
Your insurance rate can also go down as you gain more experience on the roads. While insurance companies often consider teen drivers to be “high risk,” they’ll also typically reward non-teen new drivers with lower rates after they’ve been insured for six months or more. That means their next policy will likely come with lower premiums.
2. Stay responsible on the roads.
Accidents and moving violations happen. Unfortunately, your rate goes up with more accidents and tickets on your record. So it’s essential to stay safe, drive responsibly, and maintain a good driving record.
One easy way to lower your rate? Avoid speeding. Even one speeding ticket can increase your insurance premium and affect your insurance costs.
How long do these violations affect your costs? Well, that depends on the state you’re in and the insurance company you’re working with. So if you have a ticket on your driving record, you might want to shop around for a provider that doesn’t raise costs as severely for drivers with imperfect records.
It can be frustrating to have a ticket or accident on your driving record. It leaves many drivers constantly worried about higher auto insurance premiums. Luckily, there are steps you can take. Signing up for a defensive driving course or investing in a safe new car can increase your standing in the eyes of insurance providers and smooth out a bumpy driving record.
3. Make sure you keep a good credit score.
Your driving history isn’t the only factor providers take into account when determining your insurance costs. They’ll also take a look at your credit history to make sure you’re responsible with money. If you have a higher credit score, your insurance rates will be lower.
Maybe you’ve paid some bills past the deadline—and your credit score has gone down as a result. If so, you might want to look for an insurance company that doesn’t look into your latest credit report. No-credit-check auto insurance companies are out there—but it might not be the best option for everyone.
As always, use quotes comparison tools like Insurify to compare your options and find the right insurance policy for you.
4. Know the insurance discounts you qualify for—and take advantage of them.
Insurance companies understand that every driver is different. Naturally, they provide discounts for certain types of drivers who are seen as less of a risk. Knowing about these discounts and actively seeking out discounts is one of the easiest ways to lower your monthly premiums.
For instance, maybe you don’t drive that much. You may be an urban dweller who only drives when you leave the city. If so, you might qualify for low-mileage discounts. Or maybe you commute regularly but have a car equipped with useful safety features such as anti-lock brakes, high-tech airbags, or anti-theft devices. If so, you probably qualify for a good driver/safe driver discount. And college students who meet certain minimum grade requirements can earn a good student discount, which helps good students lower their car insurance premiums.
Again, shopping around for insurance frequently is an excellent way to always know about new discounts that pop up and make sure your information is up to date in the eyes of providers.
5. Get the insurance policy that works for you.
Your needs are unique, so you want an insurance policy that aligns with those needs. And you never want to be paying for coverage you don’t need. For instance, maybe you’re paying for comprehensive coverage when you only need collision coverage. Or sometimes motorists with older cars find it useful to eliminate collision coverage if their vehicle is paid off.
It’s worth considering the weather patterns and crime rate in your area when determining if you need comprehensive coverage. If you park your car in an area that sees frequent theft, it’ll probably be worthwhile to spring for comprehensive coverage, which covers theft.
You might even find that bundling homeownersand auto insurance will result in lower insurance premiums.
6. Optimize your deductible.
How much are you going to pay for repairs if you get in an accident? The answer to this question is known as your deductible. For instance, if you determine that you’ll pay $500 for any accident-related damages, and your insurance company will cover the rest, that $500 bill is your deductible.
Naturally, if you have a higher deductible, your insurance premiums will be lower—and vice versa. If you’re someone who has saved quite a bit in case of an emergency, you might want to purchase an insurance policy with a high deductible. That means lower monthly payments, but more coming out of your pocket if you end up filing a claim. As always, know your needs and your financial status then pick a deductible that works for you.
7. Always pay your premium on time…or even early.
This one’s a no-brainer. You always want to make sure you’re paying for your auto insurance policy promptly. You might even unlock discounts if you pay early.
For instance, some brands will give you small discounts if you set up online auto-pay or pay in advance. Sure, these aren’t huge discounts, but they add up over the course of a year. And they let your car insurance provider know loud and clear that you’re a responsible customer.
8. Don’t be afraid to try out a newer car insurance company.
New insurance companies pop up every year. And contrary to what your TV sets might tell you, you can choose from more than just Allstate, GEICO, and State Farm.
So if you regularly search for car insurance and compare rates, you’re always in the know about the latest options available to you. Typically these new providers are eager to impress—and might offer lower premiums to earn your business. And don’t worry: you don’t have to make a major commitment to a new brand. Getting a six-month car insurance policy is a great way to try out a new company. Who knows? You might end up loving your new insurance provider and end up renewing for a year-long policy.