The most obvious way to get the lowest rate auto insurance is the tried and true “raise your deductible.” This is not, however, always the smartest and most effective way to go shopping for automotive insurance discounts. All of the following ideas can help to lower your premium, while guaranteeing that you get the most comprehensive coverage possible for your vehicle:
- Place all your insurance business (home, auto, life, and health) with one carrier. All companies offer discounts to multiple policy holders.
- Pay for your auto coverage six months at a time rather than monthly. Most consumers don’t realize that insurers tack on a charge for processing billing statements that can add up to $60 over a single coverage year.
- Go after rewards for being an environmentally conscious driver. Companies like Travelers, Farmers, and others give drivers of hybrid vehicles discounts of 7 to 10 percent.
- Consider a “pay as you drive” policy. This is especially appropriate for drivers who routinely use mass transit or alternative forms of transportation (such as a bicycle) and can lower overall premiums by 50 percent.
- A similar benefit for users of mass transit and alternative transport is a low mileage discount. The amount varies from company to company and all insurers will require some type of proof of miles driven over a period of time.
- Take into account the age of the vehicle. If it is more than ten years of age and has a value less than $10,000, consider dropping collision and comprehensive coverage.
- Don’t forget that your premiums should drop 5% to 10% for every five years over the life of the vehicle. If you haven’t seen that reduction automatically, you need to go after it.
- Weigh your realistic chances of needing towing service, which costs approximately $30 per year. If you are in an accident, towing is included in the collision coverage. Can you manage not to run out of gas or lock your keys in the car and do away with the towing benefit?
- Will you really need to rent a car? Rental coverage adds $40 a year. Most years, you won’t need the coverage and it’s possible to get a cheap rental as low as $20 a day.
- Make the most of your car’s alarm system or GPS tracking service. If you have comprehensive coverage as well as security systems onboard, you will qualify for an additional security discount.
Each of these ten strategies can go a long way toward helping you negotiate a lower rate for your automotive coverage. Frankly, one of the most important things to do is simply to keep your credit in good shape. Companies do use the score to determine your premium. If you’ve cleaned up an error or bad debt on your credit report, it’s your right to ask your insurance company to re-check your credit rating once a year.
Never be afraid to negotiate and remember, the insurance company is in the business of assessing risk profiles. Even the most seemingly irrelevant information can win a discount. For instance, customers with science, math and engineering degrees are considered low risk, as are farmers and teachers. Just by emphasizing education and occupation, your premium can drop by 10 to 30 percent. The same is true for military personnel (retired and active) and senior citizens.