Tips and Tricks to Getting Auto Insurance Discounts

Badly Damaged CarAs 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.

CONCLUSION

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!

Recommendation For Protecting Your Assets

Check for lower insurance rates. Auto insurance is the second biggest expense to owning your car. Esurance is the leading online market place to help you find the most affordable and reliable auto insurance. They get you comparison quotes to make sure you’re getting the best deal. You can easily purchase auto insurance straight from their website if you like what you see. It is very important that everyone gets at least basic liability car insurance. You can total your car and be fine. But if you total someone else’s car and injure them, they can go after you for ALL your assets and wipe you out! Check for a better auto insurance quote via Esurance today

Updated: 5/2014

Regards,

Sam

Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship.

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Comments

  1. David M says

    13. Increase the deductable – I once lived in a location were it was very expensive to insure a car. I increased my deductable from $500 to $1,000 and the insurance decreased by $250. Thus the cost of $500 insurance was $250 a year!

    14. Drop collision when the value of the car decreases. Thus you self insure the collision.

    One of the reasons for the cost being higher as value decreases is that you are insuring a lot more than the value of the car. For example, you are insuring the cost of hitting a person or a house – the person and house do not car how much the car is worth and thus these costs stay the same no matter the value of the car.

      • says

        The strategy I use to lower my auto insurance: Lower or eliminate coverage.

        Eliminate or reduce collision/comprehensive coverage. I eliminated mine after the car was only two years old! 6 years later the car is still going (crossing fingers).

        Also, on the liability portion of the coverage I get max limits and a very high deductible. If you have a collision that involves $500K of damage, the least of your worries will be a $2,000 deductible. So, I am fully protected but my rate is very low due to the high deductible. You can save a lot.

        Other coverages (rental coverage, income replacement) I simply decline.

        In order to make the above work, you need to have good finances (to eliminate collision, your car needs to be paid off and you need money around to buy another car if necessary; a high deductible liability policy necessarily means that you have money sitting around to pay the deductibles if necessary).

        Mike

  2. says

    16. Certain degrees give you additional discounts… I know being an engineer will get me a discount with a few insurance companies (I think math and science counts too). I guess engineers are safer drivers than other professions.

    How foolish they are ;)

  3. Greg McFarlane says

    17. Check your limits. You can probably get by with $100,000/$300,000 liability coverage. Don’t get more property damage coverage than the price of any vehicle you might crash into. Forgo the uninsured property damage, which is usually a waste. If you plan on dying in an accident, get medical payments coverage.

    • says

      $300,000 liability sounds low…. If you crush a rich rich person, they could sue you for millions. And if you have millions… 300K ain’t gonna do jack.. which is why you need an umbrella policy.

  4. says

    Ahh – one thing I definitely loved about my very first car (’83 Buick Riviera) was the low car insurance costs even for a young driver. My wife hated that car but I used to love that thing haha – definitely not as fast as my car now but it just rode so smooth :) Also, here is a car insurance guide that I posted up a while ago on another site of mine with 25 money saving tips: http://www.carinsurancecomparison.com/car-insurance-guide

  5. Charlie says

    Very good tips. Will save this list for when/if I buy a car down the road – I’m still a public transit regular

  6. says

    We look for a new insurance company every 2 or 3 years (it’s a pain, but can save you a few hundred in the process).

    I’ll have to look into #8. Insure your home and your car with the same company. on your list! The auto insurance company that I’m currently with didn’t offer home insurance when we went with them a few years back, but perhaps that has changed.

  7. says

    Good Stuff!

    Save money on car insurance? Don’t get into accidents. That would take care of high costs in premiums. Don’t speed, don’t text or hold a phone while driving (I’m still sceptical of hands-free). But, as with anything in life, somethings can’t be avoided. Accidents happen.

    Another way to save money … take a drivers safety course, and not because you are trying to get out of a ticket. Ins. Co’s (I hear) drop rates for taking such courses (I always seem to use it once a year for a speeding ticket). I know they do for motorcyclists even tho’ I pay only $100 year for that coverage (Liability w/extra coverage). Having an execellent driving record pays.

    My primary vehicle may not be a high cost luxury car, but I’ll take the cheaper insurance premiums anyway. It still costs less (despite the higher %’s in cost per car value).

    Another option? Hmmm, what if one owned a classic vehicle. Lets take the 1967 Corvette. There is a type of insurance one can buy that is comparely dirt cheap. It’s full coverage (and collision, if I’m correct), but the catch is that – because it’s a classic or antique – you can only drive it X amount of miles per year. A friend who owns the above ride one time told me they pay only $700/year. Of course, he’s married w/children and above 40 yrs. old. He would drive the car across country a few times a year (I’m calc’ing mileage) and on weekends around town. Devide that up into 52 weeks/year and (for some) that might be an option. Go back in time to get cheaper rates. This might ot be the “green” way to do it and gas isn’t cheap, but there are still plenty of semi-efficient cars/trucks (ex: Convertibles?)out there that might fit the bill for such.

  8. says

    Awesome tips Sam! I think one often-overlooked one is in choosing a safe car. Often people don’t think about insurance until AFTER they bought the car, but obviously the car itself can have a huge effet.

  9. says

    Thanks for sharing these great tips to save on auto insurance!

    Another one, I’d add is to look into any special discount offers you may receive with organizations you are a part of like credit unions or college alumni associations. Sometimes you can receive a group discount on top of every other discount, which is nice. I received an additional $50 off of my policy just for being a member of my credit union.

  10. says

    Very good points. Our car insurance just renewed (today actually) and the original bill was $685 (for six months). They had incorrectly put an accident on my wife’s record (it wasn’t her fault..she got hit from behind). Our broker (with AAA) switched us to the same company as our home policy and that lowered it by about $40. On top of that we raised the deductible to $1,000. That brought it all the way down to $360! Plus, our home insurance went down by about 10% as well.

  11. says

    Having auto insurance discounts is one of the special privileges that guaranties financial reward. The tips you have provided are just perfect at ensuring a better savings. Research on various quotations will be a lot of help that will definitely brings positive financial gains for you.

  12. says

    First things first; no insurance companies can “magically” make your rate cheaper. If they run you through a “new” system, and suddenly come back and your rate is cut in half – they’ve cut your coverages in half, or removed comprehensive or collision, or even screwed with your PIP (personal injury protection) in applicable states. The thing that most people don’t realize is that state-by-state, the rates are governed by a State Insurance Commission, and if they mandate certain things – then in order for the company to survive, they have to reflect the rates to do so. One of the major reasons I feel sorry for people who live in Michigan.

    Second of all, I can’t stress this enough – the longer that you’re with a company, the more savings you’re going to get. Underwriting loves people who stay with the company, even if their driving record is less than desirable. Same goes with multiple policies. I’ve seen them bend certain rating rules just to write a guy who had several different policies. Switching from company to company is sketchy in the insurance industry. A majority of drivers out there will pay to get legal, and get that card for one month – and then cancel the policies. I know, it’s retarded, but that’s an unfortunate reality.

    Third of all, this has already been brought up in a different discussion, but this is a huge one as well: Just because you save a few bucks using a non-big name company, does not mean that you’re saving in the long run. It’s important to have good coverages (I usually recommend 100/300/100 with a PLUP), because if you don’t – guess who’s paying for the rest out of pocket in case of an at-fault accident? And if you don’t have the money, I’ve seen wage garnishments, property levies, etc. Plus those “small, local companies” are going to minimize their expenses by fighting claims. The big-companies are going to be more apt to pay a claim, as not only is it good publicity, but it retains you as a customer.

    Fourth; get an agent! Plain and simple. If the company you have for insurance doesn’t have local agents that only represent that company, you’re doing yourself a real disservice. I know they’re there to make a buck, and hound you about life polices, but when it comes down to the nitty-gritty; they are your advocate. They will go to bat for you. Especially when the common every-day person doesn’t speak insurance. They go through rigorous state-mandated training every couple of years in order to hold onto their licenses, and most of them wouldn’t risk their livelihood just to make a quick buck.

    I know that I’m biased as I do sell insurance for a living, but one of the major advantageous of choosing this career is that I get to help people on a daily basis. It’s been an eye-opening experience going through the testing that I had to go through – because simply put; not everyone knows how helpful insurance and a good insurance company can by. I’ll be more than happy to answer any questions

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