If you are like most automobile owners, you have probably shopped for auto insurance at least once in your lifetime. And like most of those people, you may have wondered whether there was really anything that you can do to lower the price of your insurance. Well, the good news for you is that there are certain steps you can take to lower your auto insurance premium. Some of the information provided in this article may seem obvious or be viewed as common knowledge by some people, but we hope that you are able to take away at least a couple pieces of information that will help you lower your annual auto insurance premium. If you can, then we have accomplished our goal!
Auto insurance companies generally take into account several factors when determining your rate, such as driving record, geographical location, vehicle model, coverage limits, vehicle safety features/anti-theft devices, operator discounts, prior insurance, and age. (And in some states and with some companies–sex, marital status, where the vehicle is kept at night, and credit score are also factors) While many of these factors are difficult, if not impossible, to change, there are still some relatively simply steps you can take to save money.
The 11 steps you can take to lower your auto insurance premium are:
(Note: we have tried to list the steps from the most obvious to the least obvious)
1.) Needless to say, try to avoid being involved in accidents or receiving moving violations by driving defensively and obeying all traffic laws–This is by far the most important way to reduce your auto insurance premium (plus it is safe and smart!).
2.) If you already own a registered vehicle, make sure to keep your insurance current, without a lapse in coverage, since many insurance companies provide much better rates to individuals who already have current insurance and have an established history of insurance coverage. Note: If you have had a lapse in insurance on a registered vehicle, we recommend getting insurance coverage as soon as possible and THEN do more shopping for better rates. Since you will have re-established your insurance, you will now be (PRESTO!) an insured motorist and most likely able to secure a better insurance rate immediately with another company.
3.) If you have an anti-theft device on your vehicle, make sure to let your insurance company know about it. If you do not have an anti-theft device already installed, consider adding one if you have comprehensive coverage on your vehicle. Insurance companies generally offer discounts for anti-theft devices from 5% to 20%, or more, of your comprehensive coverage premium, depending on the type of anti-theft device. Vehicle recovery devices (e.g., Lo-Jack or On-Star) generally provide the biggest discount, with automatic anti-theft devices (i.e., those that arm themselves) probably being second on the list, and passive anti-theft devices (i.e., those that you must arm) and window glass etching or ignition shut-off mechanisms probably providing less of a discount. Of course, before installing an anti-theft device you will probably want to compare the savings you will receive by adding it to the total cost of installation. Depending on the cost of installation, it may not be cost-effective to install it.
4.) Check with your insurer to find out whether they offer discounts for attending a defensive driving course. These courses may normally be taken by drivers of all ages. Discounts vary by state and from company to company, but by paying a small fee and spending a few hours of your time for a defensive driving course, you may be able to save yourself approximately 5% to 10% or 15% of your TOTAL insurance premium. Note: If you are over age 55, ask about a special “Mature Driving Course” or “55-Alive Driving Course” discount. Also, if there are multiple drivers on your policy, ask whether you can receive a larger discount if all of you take the course–some companies will offer larger discounts, some won’t, but if you ask, you can at least decide which driver/s on your policy should take the course to maximize your discount.