Shopping for a new vehicle is not the only place to experience “sticker shock” associated with higher than expected prices. Automobile insurance rates can put a strain on any budget. But, there’s no reason to fret over that big insurance bill. Here are a few ways to cut your car insurance costs.
The first is probably the most obvious – shop around. You may find automobile policy rates to vary by hundreds of dollars for identical coverage.There are numerous online brokers who will compare companies and find the best rates available. Generally, the cost savings don’t equate to lower standards in service – as the insurance industry is so highly regulated. For active duty and prior military. USAAA provides an excellent rate plan for most states.
Another obvious means of reducing your auto insurance rates is almost equally as obvious. Drive safely and obey all traffic laws. Any at fault accident or major traffic violation can cause a significant increase in your insurance premiums. Excessive violations and/or accidents can even cause loss of coverage. This can mean much higher premiums with a “standard” or “assigned” risk insurer.
The policy should be examined thoroughly for any cost savings. Companies offer many discounts for good students, insuring multiple vehicles or multi-policy discounts. Other discounts are available for safe driving courses and certain types of anti-theft devices. Ensure the policy has received all the discounts due. Next, look at the coverages. Are the liability limits higher than is necessary? While some occupations require drivers to carry more than the legal liability limits, unless there are excessive assets to protect, the state minimum requirements may be enough. Some policies also include medical coverage – which may duplicate private medical insurance and could be dropped. Banks and auto lien holders require comprehensive and collision coverage. Comprehensive coverage protects the lien holder against loss of the vehicle due to theft, weather, accidents with animals and vandalism. Collision coverage provides protection against at-fault accidents. Raising the deductible, if the coverage is required; or dropping it altogether if it is not, will typically save hundreds of dollars.
Finally, make sure the vehicles and drivers are rated correctly. If a student is away at college without a vehicle, they should not be assigned as the principle driver on a vehicle. Minor premium adjustments can also be gained by correcting commuting distances and annual mileage. And be sure to check for surcharges for risks such as 4 wheel drive or turbo charged vehicles which may have been applied incorrectly. Because the insurance policy is a legal contract, due diligence should be made not to mis-represent any facts simply to gain a lower rate.
Following these simple steps can help most drivers avoid the “sticker shock” associated with automobile insurance policies.