Are you shopping for a new or different car insurance policy? If so, you probably want to know how to get the best quote around. Whether you're a new or seasoned driver, here are five quick and simple tips for saving money on your auto insurance.
Figure Out What You Need
Most companies allow you to pick and choose what to add to your coverage, which ultimately affects your annual premium. So before figuring out what you need, it would help to know how most insurance policies are broken down. Here are the five main components of a full policy:
- Liability—pays for both property damage and bodily injury if you cause the accident
- Collision—covers repairing or replacing your car after an accident
- Comprehensive—if your car is damaged from something other than an accident, like theft or a natural disaster, the comprehensive portion will cover repairs or replacement
- Medical Payments—also known as PIP coverage in some states, this portion of a policy covers injuries to you and any passengers inside the insured vehicle, no matter who's at fault. In states where PIP is required, it might also pay for lost wages, child care, and some medical bills that exceed your health insurance coverage
- Uninsured/Underinsured—covers injuries or damage to your vehicle if you're hit by someone without adequate, or any, insurance
Liability is required in almost every state, but the other parts are typically optional. For instance, if you have plenty of money to pay for repairs to your vehicle, or to buy a new car altogether, then you may want to avoid paying for comprehensive and collision. Drivers with older cars that aren't worth much also usually skip comprehensive and collision.
You may also choose to avoid paying for medical coverage, but keep in mind that if you are injured, it is much easier to get a payout from your insurance company for the injuries than having to file a lawsuit against the other party, if they are the ones at fault.
Keep a Good Credit Score
A number of car insurance companies look at your credit score to assess how "risky" it is to cover you. And, obviously, the lower the score, the higher your premium may be.
Maintain a Clean Driving Record
Speeding tickets and accidents may bump your rates up as well. Car insurance companies see traffic violations as a high-risk factor, and they can cause you to not only pay more for premiums but also to lose out on certain other benefits down the road, like cost reductions. This is a savings benefit that more experienced drivers usually get. But if your driving record isn't clean, you may have to sacrifice this bonus.
Go with a High Deductible
Deductibles are money paid out of pocket for repairs before the insurance will kick in. Generally speaking, the higher the deductible, the lower the premium. Just be sure that you can afford the deductible should something happen to your car.
The average national deductible is $500. But suppose yours is $200 and you want to save a little money. If you increase your deductible to the average $500, you can expect to save about 30% on your premiums. Bump it up from $500 to $1,000, and you're looking at a 40% savings.
Request a Discount
Maybe you've never been comfortable asking for things, but in this case, requesting a discount can pay off. Many insurance companies offer lower premiums in certain situations, and here are just a few examples:
- Buying multiple policies together (auto and homeowner's insurance, or covering two cars)
- Taking a class on defensive driving or accident prevention
- Being in school and maintaining a high GPA
- Maintaining a perfect driving record
- Driving a car with safety features (anti-lock brakes, airbags, etc.)
- Working as a teacher, first responder, doctor or nurse, or engineer
- Holding a bachelor's degree in science or math
- Being a military veteran