To get low rates you don’t only answer but ask questions too. Companies don’t always offer the best rates to existing policyholders and that is why you need to make sure that they consider every possible discount and apply. There are many reasons why you should get lower auto insurance premiums. We have counted 10 of those below to get you started.
Pick up the phone and start asking open-ended questions to determine that they have taken everything into account and given you the best rates. Make them work for you. Otherwise, they will probably let their computers spat out a renewal figure for you based on the details they have and the rates they set for you previously. But those can change if you can qualify for a safer category and further discounts or avoid surcharges.
Many policyholders don’t like the idea of appearing to be complaining and do nothing even if their premiums increased for no reason. That is why automobile insurance price optimization can be a very profitable undertaking. You shouldn’t complain either if you aren’t prepared to ask questions like why did my car insurance go up?
Here are some of those points you can go over with either the current or new provider. If they have informative agents they may actually suggest a few solutions that can qualify you for cheap auto insurance as well.
- Can I Get Low Mileage Discounts?
They don’t have crystal balls to tell what you do. If they did they would never offer coverage for the drivers that will submit a claim. Many policyholders don’t share enough information with their insurers, good or bad. Some are actually scared to call them because they worry about premium increases. If you notice that you have not been driving much you should find out how many miles a year you travel and let them know. Otherwise, they will calculate it based on national averages or use their own formulas to guess it.
You may have given up on taking the car to your regular holiday destination a thousand miles away. You may not be taking as many road trips as you used to. In addition, changing jobs can substantially reduce mileage. You may have switched from being a regional sales supervisor with many hours of traveling to an office job near home. Talk to them and ask if these changes qualify you for discounts. You can get big savings based on a lower mileage bracket. Also, the size of premium reductions will depend on the firm insuring you.
- How Safe a Driver You Think I Am?
Every year you become more experienced and accomplished. This is especially true if you haven’t had any traffic violation ticket or made any claim for some time. There are milestones along the way. For example reaching the first five years of driving is one of them that should reduce costs.
Clean claim and driving records can save you up to 50% with some insurers. You should also get multiple vehicle insurance quotes to see how others view you and if they would offer better prices for the same coverage. You should definitely do it if you think you are safe enough and still not getting good offers.
Also, traffic violation records get removed from DMV files every 3-5 years depending on where you live and severity of the violation. You should watch out for those periods and alert them when the record is cleared of certain violations. Companies don’t regularly check for DMV records.
- Can I Qualify for Further Discounts by Bundling Policies?
You may have several policies in place either with the same or different ones. You should explore which company will offer you the maximum overall rate reduction if you move them to one. For example, your auto insurance company may not know that your home is insured with them as well. This knowledge alone can allow them to offer you up to 10% discounts.
Another option is to buy multi-car insurance policies, which are cheaper than buying separately. Actually, you can arrange different protection for each automobile under a multi-car policy. For example, a new car can have full coverage while the older one has liability only.
- Can I Get Discounts for Taking a Defensive Driving Course?
If you have taken any course recently let them know anyway. If you are considering taking a course to get cheap car insurance you should find out what courses will give you the maximum savings, if any. Generally, states determine which defensive driving courses qualify for discounts and majority of them allow it when it is taken after 55. Some states like New York are very generous and allow it after 25.
Defensive courses are not the only ones that can qualify you for savings. Advance courses can help you get better rates as well. Some companies run their own online tests that qualify you for discounts upon completing successfully, too. There is no harm in asking this question. It may be that taking a one day course can save you up to 10%. This would be even more valuable if the auto insurance premium shot up following a recent claim or speeding ticket.
- Can I Get Discounts If I Install the Latest Safety Device?
Technology moves fast and new devices come to market every day. Some of the tracking devices can work over a GPS or on-board computer. Others may be fitted discretely within a vehicle. As they become more commonplace their price drops dramatically as well that you can afford to fit them for peace of mind.
If you are considering such an addition it is best to ask them which devices and brands they approve before going ahead and getting the work done. Little insider knowledge can help you increase benefits. You can get up to 5% savings depending on the type of car and number of security measures. For example, if you have an expensive car that is an auto thieves’ favorite you can probably get large savings when you install a tracking device or remote immobiliser.
- How My Credit Score Affects My Auto Insurance?
This may not be a million dollar question but it may still be worth hundreds of dollars. Credit scores can affect premiums as much as 20% up or down. Some carriers use them as their crystal balls to tell if someone is going to make a claim. Many studies have shown that people with lower credit scores are more likely to make a claim.
Paying off a car or personal loan and credit card balance can push credit score from “poor” to “good” that consequently will reduce costs. You can easily check your credit score and see where you are and where you have been. If you see that the score has been improving recently you should point this out to your automobile insurer. As mentioned above, they don’t necessarily check these things often and adjust renewal accordingly.
- Can I Get Lower Premium by Increasing Deductibles?
Increasing Collision and Comprehensive Deductibles can be a good way of reducing vehicle insurance costs, especially if you haven’t had a claim for some time. This suggests that you are a safe motorist and unlikely to have a series of claims suddenly (though it is possible). You may think that it is worth taking the risk if you have sufficient savings to cover for the increased deductibles.
Most of them will offer automobile insurance savings up to 10% when you double deductibles. You need to check how much the costs will come down and decide if it is worth doing it. The amount differs and some companies may not actually offer any meaningful benefits. That is why getting alternative quotes and comparing can help you save (again).
- Does It Pay to Drop Coverage for Older Vehicles?
If you have an older car that is worth less than $5,000 you may consider dropping Collision and Comprehensive covers. You may take a chance to get a new car if something happens to it. In such cases you may be able to avoid making a claim as well. If the accident was an isolated incident you may just send it to a crash yard and get a new car.
When you are making notable changes to coverage, address or automobile you should always get alternative car insurance quotes in order to avoid missing out on larger savings somewhere else (again). For example, there may not be much of a price difference between liability only and full coverage. You need to find out if you will get a discount by dropping any and decide if it is worth doing. You can usually get about 40% savings with many companies if you strip the collision and comprehensive coverage.
- How Does My College Based Child Affect My Rates?
Adding teenage drivers onto a policy can easily double costs even with good records. It should be the opposite when they leave home. However, there may be cases where they are mostly away but not left home yet (you may think). Large numbers of youngsters go to far away colleges to study and they don’t take their cars with them. They may have left them behind with their parents and they will drive them (or parents’ cars) when they are on a break from school.
Quite a few parents don’t share this information with vehicle insurers and leave a policy as it is. As a result they may be missing out on large savings. Technically, a child may be classed as resident in the college (instead of home). This would affect rates drastically in a positive way. If the current carrier doesn’t seem to care either way and still wants the same money, you should talk to others as the savings would be large (again).
10. How Does My Age Affect My Premium?
You don’t need to be shy talking about your age. They already know even though they don’t send a card or flowers. But do they check the milestone points and make sure you benefit from them? Everybody starts with high premiums when they are teenagers. Now that you are over young years there will be many of them willing to offer you cheap vehicle insurance. Once you are over 25, you reach a big milestone in terms of rates. They should come down noticeably at that point.
Furthermore, studies show that people between the age of 55 and 65 get the lowest premiums. This is considered the most mature driving years. So, 55 is another age that can affect rates and you should do the same as you would at 25 and search for the best deals. The way each assess different age groups differ considerably.
And you should talk to them again when you retire. Then you would probably be traveling less because you wouldn’t commute anymore. Depending on circumstances this could turn you into an occasional auto user from a regular commuter.
Another point to discuss is how to insure family cars. With a little planning you can get the lowest possible rates. For example, your wife may be slightly older than you, so having the family cars under her name might be more economical. Being older, female and the policyholder can allow her to get lower rates than you (younger male). The rest of the drivers in the family would be listed anyway. This is one option worth discussing. Most of them wouldn’t have a problem with such an arrangement.
Always keep in mind that material changes in policyholders’ and listed drivers’ particulars, cars, jobs, addresses can affect auto insurance premiums considerably. Not only should you talk about them but also you are required to notify them of these changes. It is one of the common conditions.
As mentioned several times above, you should also get a few quotes and compare coverage and prices. These changes or life stages have the effect of making an automobile insurance company less competitive when compared with others. For example, switching to a sports car, adding a teenager to a policy and moving to a city center are some of the things that have the potential of doubling premiums.
In such cases you cannot just accept whatever the new price and carry on. You have got to check alternative providers. Don’t be generous and look after your own interest, especially when it is very easy to do so.