Car insurance is a necessary expenditure for anyone rolling on four wheels, and while the joys of new-car ownership are often undeniable, the associated premium can sometimes put a damper on a person's enthusiasm. But it doesn't always have to be that way. There are a number of actionable steps you can take to lower your car insurance premium if you're willing to put in a little legwork. We'll detail some of the most effective ones in this article.
Quote and compare
As you might expect, it pays to compare. If possible, look for a reputable website or app that will run your details by multiple insurance companies at once, before you take out your policy. This can lead to a much lower premium as you are likely to be given a multitude of quotes, allowing you to select the most affordable plan.
If you are feeling extra ambitious, you can then speak to additional insurance companies, armed with the most affordable quote you dug up in your efforts to compare - and ask them if they can do any better. You may be able to get them to go a little lower than even the best quote you found.
Trim unnecessary extras
Superfluous extras, or riders, are those tidbits of additional coverage that may be padding your insurance premium. Take some time to go through the specifics and fine-print of your (prospective) insurance policy, to make sure you are only paying for what you need.
That is not to say the extras are of no use, of course. There are many instances where, in the event of an accident, they can mean the difference between full coverage and none whatsoever. To that end, we recommend treading carefully, and only removing those riders you deem to be unnecessary in your particular situation.
Comprehensive coverage, for instance, may not make much sense in your situation, especially if your car is older.
Ask for higher deductibles
If you are willing to take a chance, you can see if your insurance company is willing to opt for higher deductibles in the face of an accident, meaning you will pay more out of pocket should you find yourself in that situation. You may lower your premium in this way, but you may find yourself with some very hefty bills if you are involved in an at-fault accident. Overall, this is a risky strategy, and may not even be an option depending on your insurer.
Bundle your insurance
Quite often, you will be able to save money if you are using the same insurance company for existing policies. So if you already have homeowner's insurance with a company, sticking with them when you add your car insurance will likely yield a discount.
Look for further discounts
Sometimes, insurers are willing to cut you some slack on your premium if you meet certain criteria. These could be, in no particular order:
- You have anti-theft devices installed in your vehicle.
- You drive a low number of miles on an annual basis.
- You have taken a defensive driving class.
- You have been with the insurance company a long time.
- You have had no accidents or moving violations in the last 3 years.
You may not be able to qualify for any discounts depending on your insurance company, but all of the above are worth mentioning to your insurer nonetheless.
Add yourself to an existing policy or plan
Adding yourself to a family plan, or seeing if there is any type of group discount available to you is another good strategy for lowering your costs. Quite often, if you are able to piggyback on a family member who has a better driving record or credit score than yourself, you can save big. This is especially true for younger drivers, who can sometimes obtain a great deal by adding themselves to their parents' policy.
Park in a garage
Having a car sitting out on the street at night is a risk, and insurers know this. You may be able to qualify for a discount if you can demonstrate that your vehicle is parked in a garage each night.
A student? Your grades might make a difference
A younger driver can sometimes save money on car insurance by maintaining good grades. In order to qualify for this, a younger driver will typically have to be a full-time student, under 25, and unmarried.
Pick a car insurance companies love
Cars that are renowned for safety will, on the whole, cost a little less to insure. Vehicles with advanced airbag systems, anti-lock brakes, and engine cut-off systems will all score highly in this respect.
Work on your credit score
Improving your credit score over time can yield positive results when it comes to taking out a car insurance policy. Although the two may seem unrelated, there is often a correlation between lower premiums and a person with a better-than-average credit score. Similarly, if you have had an existing car policy for some time but find your premiums unchanged, you may be able to score a better deal elsewhere, with a different company.
Understanding other factors
When it comes to car insurance, there are other factors that come into play, that may be beyond your control. It's important to understand these, so that if you are not able to cut your premium, you can at least know why you're being charged what you are. These include:
- Your zip code. A notoriously rough neighborhood can increase premiums.
- Your car. How fast it is, how large it is, and how likely it is to be broken into, statistically speaking, are three important factors.
- Your age. Sometimes, younger drivers are penalized for not having built up enough of a safe driving history.
To sum up, it's worth doing a little digging to see if you can save money. Many drivers simply add a car insurance policy to their lives without giving it much thought, but there are savings to be had if you are prepared to invest the extra effort.