Would you like an extra $100 in your wallet every month? You bet! Everyone likes to save money, so if you haven’t gotten quotes from car insurance agencies in a year or two, you might be overdue for a checkup.
Even if you’re happy with your current insurance company, there’s every reason for you to call and make sure that you’re getting the best rate. But getting a proper quote involves more than an automated website; your insurance company has an 800 number for a reason, and you’re free to use it any time to check up on your current rate and ask about potential discounts you may be eligible for.
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The thing is, you’ll want to do plenty of homework before you pick up the phone. Below are some common (and some not-so-common) discounts you may be eligible for. Take a look; you could end up paying hundreds less per year.
1. Combine Your Coverage
Odds are good that you have either homeowner’s or renter’s insurance. If this coverage isn’t through the same company as your auto insurance, call both companies and get a quote based on moving these coverages together. You could save up to 15% when you combine auto and homeowner’s insurance.
2. Higher Deductibles
How much are you willing to pay in the event of an accident? If it’s easy for you to come up with $500, raise your deductible. By raising your deductible from $200 to $500 you’re likely to save 30%. But think this one over and review your budget before you decide that this option is right for you.
3. Automatic Payments
Signing up for auto pay is another way to save a few dollars. On average you’ll save around $60 a year—or 4%–if you set up automatic payment deductions from your bank account.
4. Take a Driving Course
This is different from the standard driver’s education course. If you’re willing to sit through a few classes, you can take a defensive driving course and save approximately 10% on your bill. This amount may vary by state.
5. Check for Government Discounts
Are you military or former military? Are you a civilian contractor or federal employee? People tied in some way to the government should check with their insurance company for discounts. On average, military personnel can save 15%.
6. Minimize New-Driver Risk
New drivers are a higher risk for insurance companies, which means that adding them to your policy will drastically increase your rate. To save a few dollars, make sure your teens all drive the same vehicle and only list them on the vehicle that they will be driving. That also means that under no circumstance is your son allowed to drive your Corvette if he’s only insured on the minivan. Definitely pick your least valuable car for your kids to drive—your wallet will appreciate it.
7. Out-of-Pocket Repairs
Yes: you have insurance so that you don’t have to pay for accidents, but you should still balance your budget based on the effects of using your insurance. If the grocery cart slipped away from you and scratched up your car, make sure your car insurance bill won’t increase when you file a claim. It might only cost $100 to fix the scratch, but it might raise your insurance rates by quite a bit more. It might be financially worthwhile to pay out-of-pocket for repairs that cost you less than $1,000.
8. Buying a New Car
You know better than to buy a car without checking the vehicle history. What you might not know is that checking the National Insurance Crime Bureau—to make sure you aren’t buying a commonly stolen car—could save you lots of money in the long run. Certain vehicles will cost a great deal more to ensure just because of the make and model of the car.
9. Lump Payments
Most insurance companies offer several payment methods. Monthly plans often have a few dollars added in as an installment fee. If you can afford to pay the entire six-month or full-year payment at once, you’ll save a few dollars. Just double check to make sure that you can save money this way. Remember, that at the very least you’ll avoid late payment penalties.
10. Low Annual Mileage
When it comes time to take a vacation, you might not always save money by driving instead of renting or flying. Keeping your mileage low can result in an average of 11% savings. Just make sure you’re clear with your insurance company about how many miles you drive in a year. They’ll ask you again when you call for your next checkup, too.
11. Car Features
An anti-theft system does more than protect your car; it can also protect your bank account. There are certain car features that can help lower your insurance bill.
An anti-theft system has the potential to lower your comprehensive coverage by 25%.
Full-front seat air bags can reduce personal injury insurance by 40%.
Driver-side air bags can reduce personal injury insurance by 25%.
So remember that when you’re shopping for car insurance, or even just renewing your policy, make sure you know your car’s features inside and out. Daytime running lights might even knock off 3% depending on the insurance company.
The average American pays roughly $1,500 a year for car insurance, but not everyone takes the time to make sure they’re getting all of their qualified discounts. Also, remember that all insurance rates and discounts vary based on your auto insurance provider. That’s why it’s so important to shop agencies and make sure that you’re really getting the best deal.
For a closer look at some of the above tips and tricks, check out this infographic video from CJ Pony Parts.