15 Things to Watch With Car Insurance
Cut down on expenses by finding ways to save on your car insurance. Saving on insurance can be pretty simple, if you know what to do. Check out these tips.
Consider Reducing Auto Coverage
Kid at College?
Change Jobs or Retire?
Track Your Tickets
Avoid Small Claims
If you get a small dent or other minor damage on an older car, think twice about filing a claim and getting it fixed. To avoid rate hikes, it might be worth your while to just live with it if there are no safety issues. And if you have towing coverage on your policy and use it to get your jalopy towed every six months, be ready for a 10 percent rate increase on your next renewal. Buy a roadside assistance plan (available from AAA, AARP and other vendors) instead. It’s cheaper.
Pay in Advance
You pay lots extra if you’re paying your car insurance monthly. Find out the least expensive pay-period, usually six months. If you have the cash, you could save even more money by paying the full year’s premium in advance (check with your agent).
Complete a “Senior Driver” Training (and Refresher) Course
Most insurance companies offer a discount for each driver 55 and older who takes an authorized driver safety education program (some states mandate this discount). The initial course is eight hours, and some companies (and states) allow you to take a four-hour online version. Classroom rates vary. You’ll be a safer driver and can pocket the savings every year. For more information, contact your insurance agent, AARP, AAA or your local adult education center, or search the internet for “senior driver.”
Everyone should shop around for new insurance rates every three years. Insurance companies reward early shopping (30 days before renewal is perfect) by giving better rates. Last-minute shopping (less than 10 days before the policy expires) makes insurance companies think you’re irresponsible, and that will be reflected in a higher quote.
Install an Alarm
The discount varies by location, the make and model of the alarm, and the theft likelihood of your particular vehicle model. But insurance companies give the largest discounts for installing a “stolen vehicle recovery” system like MobileGuardian, LoJack, VehicleRECOVER or GM’s OnStar. These systems can locate a stolen vehicle within minutes and prevent a total loss. The discount alone may pay for one of these systems in just a few years.
Raise Your Deductible
As your car ages, the need for a low deductible decreases. As you increase your deductible, your rates will go down, somewhere in the neighborhood of up to 9 percent. The rate of savings all depends on where you live, too.
Save some bucks by doing body work at home as well.
Bundling car, home and life insurance together is no joke when it comes to saving money. Many insurers will offer discounts on each if you keep all your insurance coverages in one place.
Report Reduced Mileage
By taking public transit, carpooling, riding a bike or walking you can reduce the mileage you use your vehicle for, which means less risk for the insurance company. Some carriers offer pay-as-you-drive insurance and it might make sense if you drive fewer than 12,000 miles a year.
Drive a Car That’s Cheap to Insure
There’s the old legend that driving a red car will cost you more to insure so there’s also some truth driving a car that is cheap to insure as a way to save money.
Mention Your Low-Risk Occupation
Don’t rush out the switch careers to save on car insurance but low-risk occupations like scientist, nurse, pilot, accountant, teacher and artist have statistically shown to have a low risk of crashes. So be nice to a teacher and especially an accountant.