It’s no secret, but it can’t hurt to say it again: you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for reliable car insurance coverage. By mitigating the level of liability you pose to your insurance company — whether that means keeping a clean driving record or installing an anti-theft system — you can get quality protection without breaking the bank. Here are 8 tips for doing just that.
1. Remember that the car you drive impacts your premium
It’s a common myth that red cars cost more to insure. The truth is your auto insurer cares about the make and model of your vehicle and really doesn’t pay any mind to the color you choose. Newer models with a lot of standard safety features (like side airbags and antilock brakes) often have lower insurance premiums than older cars lacking in safety features.
Crash safety ratings for your car’s make and model are also often taken into consideration when determining your insurance rates. So if you’re in the market for a new vehicle, it’s wise to purchase one with good crash ratings and as many standard safety features as possible. That way, you stay safe and score some savings on your auto insurance — a win-win!
2. Maintain a clean driving record
Most of us know that accidents, tickets, and other traffic violations can negatively impact our car insurance premiums (not to mention the increased safety risk these incidents pose). So, in order to maximize your auto coverage while minimizing costs, remember that safe drivers always get the best rates. If you already have an incident or 2 working against you, check with your insurer to see if you can take a driver safety course to qualify for a discount.
3. Arm your auto with anti-theft devices
Are you starting to sense a theme yet? Insurance companies love it when both you and your car are safe. Even if you live and work in areas with low auto-theft rates, installing an active or passive alarm, or a tracking system like Lojack®, Teletrac®, or OnStar, could help you save on your insurance (in addition to protecting your vehicle). Often, the more anti-theft and other safety devices your car has, the more you stand to save.
4. Bundle your insurance policies with the same insurer
Did you know that the vast majority of insurance companies offer significant savings for maintaining more than one type of policy with them? For instance, insuring your car and your motorcycle or home with the same company will often score you a multiple-policy discount, helping to keep your premiums on both policies low. Be sure to ask about savings opportunities if you plan on insuring multiple investments with the same company.
5. Keep your credit score up
While your credit score isn’t used by your car insurance company, in some states your credit-based insurance score is used to help determine your rates. Your insurance score is calculated by assigning positive and negative values to certain specific information from your credit report, and then running those values through a complex algorithm that computes a single score.
The factors that go into your insurance score — as well as how the score is used — makes it significantly different from a credit score. But by keeping your credit score up, that means you’re maintaining a great credit report, and therefore a great insurance score too. The better your insurance score, the better your auto insurance premium.
6. Consider a higher deductible (if your budget is flexible)
If you can stand to squeeze a few more bucks into your savings account, you may want to consider a higher car insurance deductible. Your deductible is the upper limit of the amount you’re required to pay out of pocket in the event of a covered loss.
So, for example, if you currently have a $500 deductible on comprehensive and collision coverages, increasing it to $750 or $1,000 will help you save on your insurance without sacrificing reliable coverage. But just note: this move is only wise if you can afford to pay a higher deductible at any given time.
7. See different coverage options
If you don’t mind paying a little bit more for auto insurance, there are a handful of inexpensive, optional coverages available that’ll help you optimize your policy without costing you a lot. Roadside assistance, for example, is often just a few dollars a month and can help you out in several inconvenient situations (like mechanical breakdowns, flat tires, lockouts, and more).
Likewise, rental car coverage is typically inexpensive, and can really save the day if you get into an accident and need a vehicle to get from A to B while your ride is in the repair shop.
8. Shop around from time to time
Maintaining continuous auto insurance is key to securing the lowest possible rates, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay with the same company. In fact, comparing quotes from other trustworthy insurers can help you find a lower premium than what you’re paying now (or confirm that you currently have the best rate for your situation).
Just make sure you’re comparing apples to apples so the coverages, limits, and deductibles you’re quoting with match up to those on your current insurance policy. That way, you can easily see which company is offering you the best bang for your buck.
And why not start shopping with Esurance? Get a quick, free quote online to see how much you could save.*
*Not available in all states. Esurance Insurance Company and its affiliates: San Francisco, CA.