PRESS RELEASE: August 23, 2011 - Owning a vehicle can be enjoyable, but it also comes with a cost. On top of the purchase price, gas, maintenance, repairs, and insurance costs can quickly add up. While insurance is mandatory for most people, overpaying for coverage can be avoided. InsuranceHotline.com presents seven tips that may lead to lower auto insurance costs. All it takes is a little time, and big savings could just be around the corner.
1. Shop Around!
Deal hunting online is widely used for electronics, vacations, and more, why shouldn’t insurance be included? With so many insurance companies on the market, it can be overwhelming to collect all the required information and make a decision. Often times, brokers only represent a handful of companies, limiting the pool of options. Online comparison sites like InsuranceHotline.com can do the analysis based on the information entered to present quotes for over 30 companies and provide the lowest rate available through its network. There’s also no need to wait for renewal papers to arrive, sometimes the available savings may well off-set the potential penalty.
2. Review current coverage.
Most drivers are required to have liability coverage and many people choose to add comprehensive coverage. However, collision coverage may not be necessary for everyone. Collision coverage handles costs associated with damage sustained to the policy holder’s car. If the vehicle is very old, has high mileage, or is in poor condition, then it may not be worth the extra premium costs to receive this coverage.
3. Consider increasing the deductible.
The deductible is the amount car owners are responsible for paying when a claim is made. A higher deductible would mean the insurance company pays less in the event of a claim. This decrease in risk is then transferred to the consumer in reduced premiums. There isn’t one ideal number for this as it all depends on each consumer’s comfort zone. There may be a preference to save more now with a higher deductible, or to have increased financial security in the event of a claim with a lower deductible.
4. Research discounts.
There is power in numbers. The following are discounts that some insurance companies might consider when pricing a policy.
Profession – By working in certain fields or holding a professional designation, there may be discounts available depending on the insurance company. The quickest way to find out is by contacting the association or a broker.
Group Affiliation – Associations like alumni groups or trade unions may provide discounts on insurance to its members. They may be working with a specific provider in which case the association would be a key source of information.
Auto clubs – CAA or other specialty vehicle clubs may have specially negotiated rates with certain insurers, thus offering lower premiums. Begin by checking the membership package, or contacting the current broker directly.
5. Combining insurance.
Purchasing home insurance from the same company that provides the auto coverage may result in a savings of 5-10% off both premiums. Furthermore, adding another vehicle in the household to the same policy could lead to further discounts. It’s definitely worth talking to an agent or broker to investigate the potential savings that can be offered by grouping policies together.
6. Installing winter tires.
For those living in harsh winter conditions, this is more a matter of safety. Taking precautions to decrease the likelihood of accidents during dangerous conditions should always be considered. In fact, some insurance companies will take this into account, and may offer a discount. However, keep in mind that living up to the promise is equally important. If winter tires were not in place when they should have been, it could be considered a fraudulent claim with potential consequences.
7. Accident forgiveness or similar benefits.
Even the safest driver is susceptible to threats on the road, from uncontrollable factors like other drivers. Accident forgiveness will eliminate the effects that the first accident-related claim would have on premiums. Unlike the other tips that result in immediate savings, this will probably cost extra in the beginning. However, it may be well worth the additional cost so that effects on insurance rates are minimized in the event that you have an at fault accident.
For the most part, insurance remains to be an uncontrollable cost. However, drivers do have the power to prevent unnecessary increases in premiums. For example, always drive defensively to keep a record free of tickets and accidents. If insurance premiums have become a significant financial burden, then changes in habits may be a viable option. These include carpooling, taking public transportation, or even living closer to the workplace.