Saturday, March 24
Are you throwing away money on car insurance?
We all like to save money in every way possible, right? Sometimes we tend to think of certain costs as fixed -- the mortgage, the internet fee, insurance ... But that's not usually the case. Even if you have to wait until your renewal to actually save money on car insurance, it pays to make sure you're getting the best value for your money.
The factor that usually has the biggest impact on insurance costs is the company that insures you. First, seek out an agent or online company that offers multiple car insurance quotes from a variety of insurers. Don't just choose the lowest one though; this is only the first step. But you can probably remove the companies with the highest premiums from your considerations once you are sure the quotes are for equivalent coverage. Once you have several likely possibilities, it's time to start looking into the details.
First, contact the agent with your current insurance company. Find out if there will be any renewal discount as a loyalty reward from your insurer, or if there will be any increase in premium at renewal. Don't just compare the new quotes you receive to your last year's premium, since it may go either up or down. While you're at it, it's a good idea to find out if the companies you are considering offer renewal discounts for future years, as this could factor into your decision if they turn out to be substantial.
If you have a home or other insurance policies, this is where you can start to save even more. Find out whether your current company or any of the ones you are considering offer discounts for customers holding other policies. I save several hundred dollars per year off already low premiums by carrying multiple vehicles as well as my homeowner's insurance through a single provider.
Next ask about cash discounts. These can appear in more than one form. My insurance company offers a cash discount of around $100 per year per policy, but if you don't pay cash they charge a monthly fee of a little over $3 for processing. That means my actual discount for paying cash as opposed to making monthly payments is around $130 (premiums are paid off in ten months).
Find out if there are any other discounts available, such as those offered for anti-theft or safety devices, credit for driver's courses, discounts for automatic payment drafts if you are making payments, or membership discounts (these are sometimes available for all kinds of groups, so just ask if any are offered and see if you fit the profile).
And if you put very few miles on your car, you may be able to lower your costs even more. There is a unique new program being offered for safe low-mileage drivers. In some cases, you may be able to save a significant amount using one of these pay-as-you-drive car insurance policies.
With all of those adjustments in mind, you may find that a company that appeared to be more expensive up front is actually the better value.
Finally, it's time to see if you can save money on the coverage itself. This is where you will need to decide whether you can afford to go with a higher deductible or lower limits of coverage. There is no one-size fits all answer to this part of the equation. You need to decide how much you are able to cover yourself in the event of an accident, and how much liability coverage you need. But if you've done your homework up to this point, you should be able to arrive at the best price possible to suit your needs. Once you've made these final decisions, it doesn't hurt to quickly re-check the other companies you had considered to see if they offer better value for the levels you select, if they are not the same as the initial quotes.
Good luck getting a great deal on your car insurance!
at 2:47 PM