Paying Too Much in Car Insurance? 7 Expert Tips to Help You Save
I recently paid my family’s full annual car insurance premium up front. It was painful to see it all go at once but worth it knowing I would have paid more if I stretched out the monthly payments.
Shopping around for the best price on auto insurance is one of life’s many mundane but necessary tasks.
Lucky for you, I recently switched providers and did a whole lot of research beforehand to figure out where I could save the most money.
Here are seven tips to save you money on your car insurance. Not every tip will work with every provider, but you should be able to save a few hundred dollars every year following these tips.
Tip 1: Consider The Cost of Insurance Before You Buy a Car
The best time to consider the cost of insurance is before you buy a new or used car. As I’ve said before, the true cost to owning a car goes beyond just the sticker price.
Insurance is a big factor in the total cost of owning a car, so it’s best to choose a car that doesn’t jack up your premiums.
For example, the most expensive car to insure is a Mercedes-Benz E Class CLS-Class at an average annual premium of $3,541 per year.
The least expensive vehicle to insure is a Honda CR-V, at an average premium of $1,317 per year. That’s more than a $2,000 difference in premiums. Choose your car make, model, and year carefully and make sure you compare the insurance costs before you buy.
Tip 2: Consider Dropping Collision Coverage on a Junker
If you’re holding on to a junker with plans of running it into the ground, all the power to you. But it’s not worth the cost of premiums to keep it insured.
Of course, you still need to keep your liability coverage. But if your car’s cash and/or trade-in value is under $4,000, don’t bother paying for collision coverage.
The cost to insure the car is probably higher than what you would get from your insurance company if the car were totaled. Instead, use the money you’re saving to keep the car running longer.
Tip 3: Combine Your Home and Auto Insurance Policies
This will depend on your providers but a lot of times you can save big bucks by simply combining your auto and home insurance.
If your insurance is split between two companies, ask your agents for quotes on combination packages to see how much you can save.
Tip 4: Pay Your Annual Premium All at Once
When you pay semiannually, quarterly, or monthly, your insurance provider will charge a fee for this convenience. Rather than overpay your insurer, save up the premium in a high-interest savings or money market account and pay it all at once annually.
For instance, if your annual premium is $1,000 per year, and each monthly payment charge is a fee of $9.
If you pay monthly, that’s a bill of $92.33 every month. Instead, you could put $83.33 in a 3.5% APY savings account and pay the full amount once per year without fees. Doing it this way, you’ll see savings close to $10 per month.
Tip 5: Not All Safety Features are Created Equal
Backup cameras, blind-spot warning systems and lane-departure warnings won’t necessarily get you a discount on your car insurance.
According to the FBI, car theft has declined in recent years, largely due to anti-theft technology. Anti-theft is really the only security feature on cars that has any impact on rates as of now.
Check with your insurance provider to find out what security systems yield the biggest savings. In some cases, you can lower your insurance premiums by as much as 5% depending on the insurer.
Tip 6: Increase Your Deductibles
First, you need to be in good shape financially before even considering taking this step. If your financial house is in order and you have a well-funded emergency savings account, then look at increasing your deductibles. This will directly lower your premiums, and you’ll still be covered in case of a major accident.
If your deductible is $500, consider bumping it up to $1,000. That $500 difference can be covered in just over a year by growing the savings in an emergency fund. And after one year, you’ll be reaping monthly savings.
Tip 7: Watch Your Credit Score
Surprisingly, or not, credit plays a big factor in what you pay for car insurance. That’s because people who are responsible with their money are viewed as more likely to be careful behind the wheel.
For this reason, it’s important you maintain a good credit score if you want to score the best deal on car insurance. Improving your credit from “poor” to “excellent” could lower your premium by as much as 44%.
If you try these tips and your premiums still stay the same, then it might be time to shop around.
You can always try negotiating a lower rate at a new provider or take advantage of some new customer incentives.
To a richer life,
— Nilus Mattive
Editor, The Rich Life Roadmap