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Auto Insurance Checklist

insurance

What you pay for your car insurance may vary greatly, depending on several factors including:

  • your driving record
  • the make and model of your car
  • the insurance company from which you buy your policy

Here is a list of tips to consider when researching auto insurance that can help you save money on your car insurance costs.

Before you buy a car, compare insurance costs

Don't be surprised. Know what a car costs to insure before you buy it. In part, insurance premiums are based on:

  • the car's sticker price
  • the cost to repair it
  • its overall safety record
  • the likelihood of theft.

Many insurers offer discounts for features that reduce the risk of injuries or theft, such as air bags, anti-lock brakes, daytime running lights and anti-theft devices. For more information on car safety, check the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Needless to say, cars that are favorite targets for thieves cost more to insure. For information on car theft, check the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) 

Request a higher deductible
The deductible is the amount you pay out-of-pocket before your insurance policy kicks in. Increasing your deductible from $200 to $500 can reduce your collision and comprehensive premium by as much as 15 to 30%, depending on your plan. Typicaly, the greater your deductible the more you save on premium. However, if something happens to your car you will need to have access to money to pay the amount of the deductible.

Re-evaluate coverage for older cars
If you have an older car, think about dropping the collision and/or comprehensive coverage. It may not be cost-effective to insure cars worth less than 10 times the amount you would pay for the coverage. Ask an auto dealer or bank about the value of your car or look it up online at Kelley Blue Book.

Consider buying your homeowners and car insurance from the same company
Many insurers give discounts if you buy two or more types of insurance policies from them, such as auto and home. Also, you may receive a discount if you have more than one vehicle insured with the same company. Some insurers reduce premiums for long-time customers. It’s also worth asking if the insurance company is offering new policy programs.
Most important, shop around; you may still save more money by buying your insurance from a different insurance company even with the multi-policy discount.

Ask for a low-mileage discount
If you drive less than the average number of miles per year, ask if your insurance company will offer you a discount. Low mileage discounts can also apply to drivers who carpool to work. If your insurance company doesn’t offer this discount it might be worthwhile to shop around.

Maintain a good credit rating
Your credit rating can affect your insurance premium, so monitor it carefully. You can check your credit rating with the three major credit-rating agencies EquifaxExperian, Trans Union.

Ask for a safe driver discounts
Many insurance companies offer discounts to policyholders who have not had any accidents or moving violations for several years. You may also qualify for a rate cut if

  • you have recently taken a defensive driving course, or
  • if you are more than 50 and retired.

The addition of a young driver to the policy may increases the premium, but may be eligible for a discount if he or she is a good student, has taken a driver’s education course or is away at a college that is at least 100 miles away from home.

Most importantly, work with a knowledgeable agent to make sure you get the right coverage at the right price.