7 ways you can save money

There are two things most of us have in common. We have to buy auto insurance … and we all want to find the best deal on auto insurance. According to Value Penguin, “The average annual cost of car insurance paid in the United States was $907.38 in 2014 according to a study commissioned by Quadrant Information Services.”

Of course, the price in each state and city can vary widely. Many factors can affect the rate you pay, including your age, gender, the miles you drive, and more. It can be a pretty major expense, especially if you have several drivers in the house, including teenage children.

Here are 7 tips on ways you can get the best deal, no matter where you live.

1. Don’t be afraid to look around

You are not “married” to one insurance company for life. In fact, it may be to your benefit to leave. A NerdWallet analysis found that, “Good drivers could be missing out on $416 a year on average by not comparing insurance prices … 38% of Americans who have car insurance haven’t compared insurance costs in at least three years, if ever.” Shop around every few years to make sure you’re really getting the best value. Look at several different companies and compare prices. The premium amount isn’t the only factor to consider, either. Some policies come with extra benefits that may help you save money in other ways. Insurance carriers often adjust their underwriting and ratings, so look into that as well.

2. Don’t limit your search to the “Big 4”

The “big 4” refers to Allstate, Geico, Progressive, and State Farm. Together, they control almost half all auto insurance policies in the entire country. However, they are not the only companies out there, and they don’t always offer the best deals. Check out local or regional companies, which may offer lower rates … and more personalized service.

3. Ask about low-mileage discounts

Many insurance companies offer policies geared toward those whose annual mileage is lower than the norm. Perhaps you’ve retired or you switched jobs and have shorter commute? Maybe you’re part of a carpool so you don’t drive to work every day? Ask and see if there is a way to lower your premium or switch policies.

4. Look at collision and comprehensive deductibles.

You might consider raising your collision and comprehensive deductibles. Collision insurance covers damage to your vehicle as a result of a collision with another car or object, no matter who is at fault. Comprehensive insurance covers theft or damage from fire, flood, or falling tree limb. According to Consumer Reports, “The average driver files a comprehensive or collision claim only once every 5 to 10 years…” Considering this – and considering your own experience with making claims – it might make sense to raise these deductibles, which will lower your monthly premium. It’s especially something to consider if you have an older vehicle.

5. Ask about eligible discounts.

Insurance companies often provide discounts and price breaks in certain circumstances, if you:

  • Bundle your auto insurance with other policies, such as homeowners or life insurance
  • Insure multiple vehicles under one policy
  • Have a clean driving record
  • Pay your premium annually or every six months rather than every month
  • Agree to receive documents online
  • Own a car that has anti-theft or safety features
  • Are a member of certain professional organizations or affiliate groups

If you fit any of these scenarios, ask to see if you can take advantage of any discounts.

6. Always pay your bills on time

Do you have a habit of paying credit card bills late? Have you forgotten a couple payments or gotten behind? This can lower your credit score, which in turn can mean higher insurance rates. If you thought credit scores only affected your ability to get a loan … think again. A NerdWallet analysis found that poor credit can boost car insurance rates by hundreds of dollars a year.

7. Understand that certain cars come with higher insurance rates

According to Edmunds.com “The year, make and model of your vehicle can have a profound impact on your insurance rate. All else being equal, new, expensive or sporty cars will cost more to insure than older, cheaper and more utilitarian vehicles.” If you are looking to buy a new car and have a few options on your list, check with your carrier to see which models come with lower insurance rates.

Use these tips to help lower your car insurance premiums. If you need a consultation about your insurance needs or you have questions about reducing your rate, contact Avante Insurance today.