As a recovering car fanatic who has literally bought and sold 8 different cars in the past 10 years I’ve come to appreciate the intricacies of getting a good deal. One of the most important things people don’t think about when they are about to buy that fancy European automobile is how much car insurance will cost.
On an absolute dollar level, driving a $50,000 car could cost anywhere between $2,000-$3,000 a year, depending on your record. At 4-6% of the annual cost of your car, car insurance is a big deal! The irony is, the cheaper the car you buy, generally the higher car insurance is as a percentage of your total cost.
Take my dear Moose, for example. He’s worth maybe $5,000 on a good day if the electrical gremlins aren’t flashing on the dashboard. Without going into details of what my car insurance plan entails, I pay roughly $80 a month or $960 a year. $960 is much cheaper than $2-3,000 in the $50,000 example above, but $960 is a whopping 19.3% of the total value of my car every year! In just 5.5 years, I’ll have paid more insurance than the value of the car itself!
Hence, the great irony is that driving an expensive car is better value for your insurance dollar money. What my point also illustrates to you is that driving a car has many more expenses than just gas and maintenance. Car insurance is a big one, which is why it’s important to try and save as much money as possible.
Here are 12 tips on how to find auto insurance discounts and make the most of them:
1.Be a good driver.
A clean driving record is the best way to keep your insurance premiums low.
2. Choose a safe vehicle.
Many insurance companies offer discounts to policyholders who drive cars with good safety records.
3. Drive less.
Joining a car pool or taking public transportation can reduce the number of miles you drive each year and reduce your rate significantly.
4. Study hard.
A Good Student Discount reduces rates for full-time students with a “B” average or better. There are also discounts for continuing education or defensive driving classes.
5. Insure all your cars on the same policy.
Most companies will apply a multi-car discount to each and every car you insure.
6. Equip your vehicle with safety features.
When you choose optional safety features on a new car – or add them to a used vehicle — you can reduce your premium. Discounts are offered for anti-theft devices, anti-lock brakes, automatic seat belts, air bags and car alarms.
7. Use your garage.
Clean out your garage and move your car in. Or, if you live in the city, rent a garage. You rates will be lower because your vehicle will have less exposure to both the elements and crime.
8. Insure your home and your car with the same company.
You can get a discount on both your car and your home insurance by insuring them with the same company.
9. Check with your employer.
Some employers offer group auto insurance to workers. These often come with a lower group rates. Talk to your benefits coordinator.
10. Look for professional discounts.
The work you do may entitle you to a discount car insurance rate. Many companies offer discounts to those drivers who tend to have fewer accidents. Engineers, scientists, teachers and doctors are among them. If your insurance company doesn’t offer this discount, look at professional associations. Many sponsor auto insurance
programs for members.
10. See if your company offers a renewal discount.
Many car insurance companies offer a discount to drivers who stay with them for an extended period of time. See if yours is one of them.
11. Check your payment plan.
Some companies offer a discount for paying in a lump sum … or by automatic deductions from your checking account.
12. Don’t forget to ask.
Don’t assume your insurance company will automatically apply all the discounts which you are entitled. Sometimes you need to ask. Take a look at the Declarations Page that came with your insurance policy to see which discounts have been applied to your policy. Call your company or go online to see if others are available.
So there you have it, 12 tips for saving you money on auto insurance. Like buying a car, it’s always worth shopping around and comparing quotes. At the end of the day, you want to at least protect yourself from disaster scenarios and have liability. Safe driving!
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Updated for 2016 and beyond