Getting Car Insurance Discounts
Qualifying for car insurance discounts is likely easier than you think. Just asking about discounts available to you can make the difference between one insurance quote and another by hundreds of dollars! Many companies offer a variety of discounts, but you do have to remember to ask for them or select your coverage carefully to get them.
As always, remember to shop around. Keep in mind the ways in which you can actually get a discount. In addition, understanding the factors that impact auto insurance premiums can help savvy shoppers make a better decision about coverage and save money in the process.
In general, there are discounts that are related to your insurer, including discounts for the type of coverage selected and multi-policy discounts. There are discounts that are related to you as a driver, which normally will relate to your driving record or the type of driving that you do. For more information see reducing insurance costs. There are also discounts related to your vehicle and how that vehicle is rated for collision and theft.
- Discounts offered based on your policy
The first place to look to reduce insurance costs is to decide if you need certain types of coverage. If you own an older car, it may not be necessary or cost-effective to protect it with collision and comprehensive coverage. In general, if your car is over 10 years old (and it's neither a high-end nor a “collector” vehicle), it may make sense to drop collision or comprehensive or both. Another way to lower a premium is to select a higher deductible. If you've never had a claim with the vehicle, a higher deductible can save you a lot and it will always reduce your premium to some extent.
You should also keep in mind that most providers offer multi-policy and “multi-vehicle” discounts. If you consolidate your coverage for both home and vehicle for instance under one insurer, you can usually expect to save about 10% on each policy. You may also qualify for additional discounts if you have more than one vehicle insured with the same insurance company. It's worth the time to investigate, especially if you have multiple cars and a homeowners policy that you can get through a single insurer.
Discounts offered based on your vehicle
Here's where the model of vehicle that you want to insure can make a big difference. If you are looking to save money, it's best to choose a highly rated model of car. How do you know which ones are highly rated? Industry agencies assign a rating to every car model based on historical collision, injury and theft claims, among other factors. The higher the rating, the lower your insurance is likely to be. You can find the ratings for vehicles in car magazines or the annual books written about car makes and models. Large market newspapers may even have a weekly section on cars and their rankings. Now, if you want to pay a lot for insurance, choosing a flashy red sports car with a lower rating can significantly raise a premium. Why? Most insurance providers associate sports cars and other similar flashy vehicles with more risk, due to the increased probability of theft as well as fast drivers. Not only that, but you are more visible on the road, and more likely to be watched by police. So, if you have a bit of a ‘lead foot’, you might want to avoid the flashier, faster models.
Another trick of the trade to save is upgrading your anti-theft measures. Many providers award discounts to customers who take steps to protect their cars from both physical damage and theft. Think anti-lock brakes, airbags, alarm systems and other manual security devices. If you are willing to spend a bit more to get these items, you could save in the long run.
- Driver-Related Discounts:
Nothing is better than a clean driving record. If you have a clean record, you will have the greatest choice of insurance companies to pick from and the best chance of good driving discounts. The more careful and experienced the driver, the less risk insurance providers take. That saves you money.
Perhaps you've had an accident or ticket, but want to improve your driving record. Some insurance companies also offer discounts to policyholders who complete a defensive driving class.
You may never have thought of this, but sometimes you can save money on insurance by driving a friend to work! Discounts can apply to carpool participants, for example, because each individual's car is at less risk than if they commuted separately. Everyone in the car pool will benefit the most if you rotate the driver and vehicle used each workday.
Take public transit? You could qualify for a discount because you aren't putting in as many miles! You'll pay less if your vehicle will have lower annual mileage than if you drove to work each day.
These aren't the only kinds of discounts. Do you have a AAA membership? You may also qualify for discounts. Be sure to ask about discounts for seniors or for members of clubs or other organizations.