Motorists are often not aware of new car insurance discounts they can qualify for because a lot changed since they last updated their details. As you get older, you become a low risk driver, your credit score improves, you get married, buy a home, a safer car, can pay the premium in full, bundle policies and all these improvements often mean you can get cheaper auto insurance rates.
By simply calling your agent, going over your details again and discussing possible discounts available to you at this moment, you can save money on vehicle insurance. Companies and agents don’t necessarily update your details and check to see if they can reduce your rates. First time you got the quote from them, they probably have done their best to match your details with the best rates and never touched it again. It is up to you to make the most of improvements in your life and your reducing risk profile.
Here are some of the points you can go over with your agent or insurer to see if you have new reasons for receiving car insurance discounts;
- Can you get low mileage discounts?
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 not be taking as many road trips as you used to. 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 a low mileage discount.
- Are you a safer driver now?
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.
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.
You should also get multiple vehicle insurance quotes to compare with your renewal premium at least once a year.
- Can you bundle policies and save?
You may have several policies in place either with the same or different carriers. You should explore which company will offer you the maximum overall multi-policy savings. 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 separate policies for everyone in the family.
- Can you save if you take 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 qualify when it is taken after 55. Some states like New York are very generous and allow it after 25.
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 you save money by installing anti-theft devices?
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. For example, if you have an expensive car that is an auto thieves’ favorite you can probably get enough car insurance savings when you install a tracking device or remote immobiliser. Since costs are involved, you’d better check the possible savings you could get and consider if it makes sense to spend the money.
- Has your credit score improved?
Credit scores affect premiums and this question may be worth hundreds of dollars of savings. Paying off a car or personal loan and credit card balance can push credit score from “poor” to “good” that consequently will reduce automobile insurance costs. If your score has been improving recently you should point this out to your agent. Car insurers don’t necessarily pull credit and driving records at every renewal for their existing customers and adjust rates accordingly.
- Are you comfortable with higher 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. You need to check how much the premium will come down and decide if it is worth doing it.
- Is it time to drop coverage for an older vehicle?
If you have an older car that is worth less than $5,000, you may consider dropping Collision and Comprehensive covers, which can reduce your premium as much as 60%. You may want to use the insurance savings to buy a new car if it breaks down for mechanical reasons.
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.
- Has your child moved out?
Adding teenage drivers onto a policy can easily double costs even with good records. It should be the opposite when they leave home. 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.
- Are you a year wiser now?
Every birthday is a milestone when you are a teenager until you reach 25. Since just turning a year older may lower your car insurance rates, you may want to get a few quotes just after your birthday and see if you get cheap enough rates that makes it worthwhile to switch.
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.
- Can you pay the premium in full or set up EFT
At your next renewal, ask if you would get discounts for paying the premium in full or setting up electronic payment. Many companies reduce your vehicle insurance premium for paying in full for about 9% and for an ETF about 3%.
- Can you shop around early and buy in advance
Simply completing your shopping around 14 days in advance of the renewal date may give you the option of checking with the most competitive companies in your list if they have advance purchase discounts. This could be as much as 10% and is easy to get once you know how.
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 your carrier of these changes. It is one of the common policy conditions.
As you can see, there are reasons why you may receive new car insurance discounts that make it worthwhile to shop around or ask your current provider for. If they have informative agents, they may actually suggest a few solutions that can qualify you for cheap auto insurance as well. So, don’t hesitate to talk to them.