There are several non-negotiable items in our monthly budgets — things like housing, car payments, student loans and insurance. And let’s face it, most of us aren’t exactly thrilled to shell out a portion of our hard-earned money for insurance — especially car insurance.
The fact of the matter is, many of us pay our car insurance diligently (and automatically) every month — and never actually have to use it. We don’t get into any major accidents — and small scuffs from taking a curb too close simply aren’t worth filing a claim for.
The good news is, there are probably a few things you can do to save yourself some money — without sacrificing anything! Here are five tips to help you win big when it comes to car insurance.
1. Bundle, Bundle, Bundle
As you may know, you save money when you buy multiple policies with one agency (known as “bundling” in the insurance world). Bundling is good for insurance companies because it means more business for them — so they typically offer discounts as incentives for customers to purchase multiple policies from them.
2. Raise Your Deductible
- The specified amount of money that the policy holder, or “insured,” must pay before an insurance company will pay a claim. The higher the deductible, the lower the premium.
With insurance, you typically want a lower deductible, which means you’ll pay higher premiums for the policy, but less in the event of an accident. However, if you have a clean driving record and haven’t gotten into many accidents, it might be worth considering raising your deductible.
For example, did you know that increasing your deductible from $500 to $1000 could save you as much as 20%? That’s $200 off a $1,000/year policy! Usually, it’s better for your wallet to pocket the savings from a higher deductible and just pay a little more out of pocket in the event of an accident.
3. Ask for Discounts
As the saying goes, “You’ll never know until you ask.” Did you know many insurance companies offer discounts for:
- Good grades?
- Being a teacher, active/retired military or medical personnel?
- Going a certain amount of time without any tickets?
You’d be amazed by the different discounts insurance companies offer — but they aren’t going to just give them away! Ask your agent what kind of deals they offer — you may be surprised by what you qualify for!
4. Drive Less
It’s basic statistics here, but obviously, the less time you spend on the road, the less likely you are to get into an accident. Plus, less driving means less wear and tear on your car, which saves you money in the long run. Insurance companies recognize this, and some even give low mileage discounts! If you log less than 10,000 miles annually, you may qualify for this kind of discount.
Bonus: It’s healthier for you and the environment. So put the kids in the carrier or stroller next time you want to go to the neighborhood park or post office! #dmgetsfit
5. Be a Good Driver
Remember how you drove for your driving test? Let’s go back to that cautious, undistracted driving, shall we? Let’s stop at stop signs, not run “rello” lights, go the speed limit and, most importantly, never text while driving.
If you think you’re a good driver, prove it! Ask your insurance company about a plug-in diagnostic for your car. This device fits below the dashboard and analyzes your driving habits, looking for things such as making complete stops and driving the speed limit. If you “pass” the test, you’ll get a discount on your policy.
So remember: drive less, drive smart and save money! And the bonus: you’ll keep your precious cargo safe and sound.
Sources: 1. Consumer Reports | 2. The New York Times.
Photo credits: Calculate Car Costs by Full Coverage Insurance | 2. IMG_9402 by Jeff Rose | 3. 20100321 Car Accident 004 by John | 4. Parking Lot Accident by State Farm | 5. Group of teenagers and a teacher using a laptop together by Maria Belhassan |6. Sarah M.