The Car Coach: Insurance Rates
Insurance rates seem to always climb up each year, especially if you have a newer car and teen drivers. As Lauren Fix, the Car Coach, reports, there are a ways to cut your insurance costs.
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There is nothing that makes your wallet squeal louder today than pulling into the gas station and dropping $50. Until you receive your insurance invoice.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, the national average auto insurance premium is $850 per year. Can you reduce that?
• Shop around regularly. Your insurance agent doesn’t have a lot of incentive to reduce your premiums. Some people stick with the same agent just to because it’s easier but it may be costing you more than you think. The internet makes it easy compare costs for the same coverage, or you can get an independent insurance agent to shop for you.
• Bundle your coverage. Bundling is combining different types of policies (auto, homeowners, liability, etc.) with the same company. The theory is that the company will discount the premiums if they have all of your business. The most common combination is packaging your auto insurance and homeowner’s policies together. Or, find companies that will bundle auto insurance with renter’s or tenant’s insurance. Bundled packages usually result in a 10 to 15 percent savings.
• Ask for discounts. You may qualify for discounts, but you won’t know until you ask. They’re commonly offered for good driving records, anti-theft devices, vehicle safety features (anti-lock brakes, air bags, etc.), low annual mileage and insuring more than one car, buying your policy online, paying in full up front, and being a loyal customer.
• Take a defensive driving class. Even if you’ve been driving for years, you can learn a lot from driver education and most insurance companies recognize the value of a refresher course, which can help you avoid accidents. The amount of discount varies by insurance company and from state to state, although most insurers offer a 10 percent discount on your premium for three years. AARP offers a driver safety program for those over age 50, and it’s available online.
• Increase your deductible. Do your auto and homeowners policies have low deductibles? If so, you may be able to reduce your premiums 15 to 30 percent by raising the deductible on your collision and comprehensive coverage. Make sure you have an emergency fund set aside to cover the cost of repairs before you make the change.
• Change Cars. This is probably the most difficult savings tip to implement but may have the largest impact on your premium. Used cars are cheaper to insure than new ones; sports cars are more expensive to insure than minivans. Insurance companies like cars with safety features and low repair costs.
Insure.com surveyed 900 vehicles in the 2012 model year and the cheapest were minivans.