Paying for car insurance is a necessary evil. It helps protect you and your property from the cost of accidents. Unfortunately, it can cost a bunch to insure yourself against the unpredictable conditions of the open road.
There are several ways to reduce the cost of your car insurance premium, letting you cruise past high payments. Here are 13 ways to reduce your car insurance premium:
1. Choose the Right Car
In part, your car insurance premiums are calculated using the risk and cost associated with your vehicle. That means the price, the potential cost of repairs, the odds of theft and the safety features of your specific car impact your cost of insurance. Insuring a sports car won’t cost the same as insuring a family sedan. When you’re car shopping, consider the cost of insurance for specific vehicles. (Taking out an auto loan? Brush up on the lingo here.)
2. Maintain Good Credit
In most states, your credit score helps determine your premium. Those with excellent credit can access the best rates, while those with poor credit see higher costs. You get a snapshot of your credit report free on Credit.com.
“The insurance company may not necessarily pull a credit score or credit report, but they will use some type of insurance score that is based on one’s credit score. This varies from one state to another, but generally speaking, the better your credit score, the better your car insurance rate,” said Joel Ohman, certified financial planner and founder of CarInsuranceComparison.com.
3. Install Anti-Theft Devices
Most insurers offer discounts for a having an anti-theft device, which can prevent theft or identify and locate stolen vehicles. You’ll have to purchase the device, but it may save you money in the long run.
“Almost any insurance company approved anti-theft device will result in a discount of anywhere from 5% to 25%,” said Ohman. “For details about whether or not a particular device will result in a discount, it’s always best to verify directly with the insurance company.”
4. Get a Good Driver Discount
Good driver discounts are available at many insurance companies. Each insurer may define good drivers differently, but if you successfully avoid causing accidents and moving violations, you may qualify. Check with your insurer to find eligibility requirements for good driver programs.
5. Choose Higher Deductibles
You can lower your premium by signing up for higher deductibles, which means you’ll pay more out of pocket for repairs before your insurer steps in to cover the rest. Of course, you’ll want to make sure you can afford to cover the deductible before you take this route.
“The fastest way to lower your monthly auto insurance premium … is to increase deductibles. Changing deductibles from $500 to $1,000 saves about $150 annually,” said Neil Richardson, licensed insurance agent at The Zebra.
6. Bundle Insurance Plans
Bundling your car insurance with other types of coverage can save money. For instance, you could bundle your car insurance with homeowners insurance from the same provider.
“Drivers who bundle homeowners insurance save about $110 annually on their auto policies, and even bundling renters coverage saves drivers about $72 each year,” said Richardson.
7. Sign Up for Group Insurance
Many employers, universities and organizations offer group insurance plans from certain providers, which may offer cheaper rates. Check with your employer, current or former educators and any other official groups you’re a part of to see if they offer group insurance.
8. Find High-Risk Auto Insurers
If you have a poor driving or financial history, you may be considered a high-risk customer. Some insurers offer better rates for high-risk drivers than others.
“Certain auto insurance companies specialize in higher-risk drivers. This means that if one has a DUI in their history, many accidents or even poor credit … it becomes all the more important to shop around and compare rates from many different car insurance companies,” said Ohman.
9. Sign Up for Automatic Payments
Like many service providers, some insurers offer discounts when payments are automatically withdrawn from your account every month. As a bonus, you’ll avoid missing payments.
10. Make Bulk Payments
Insurers may offer discounted rates for paying your premium in bulk instead of month-to-month. In this scenario, you’d have to pay your premium for a longer time frame — for instance, six months or a year — to receive a discount. This could save you anywhere from 5% to 11%, according to DMV.org.
11. Eliminate Unnecessary Features
When you first signed up for car insurance, you may have opted for features that are no longer necessary. For instance, many insurance providers offer roadside assistance, but if you’ve since become a member of AAA, which provides roadside assistance, you no longer need the service from your insurer. You can regularly review your plan to make sure you’re only paying for what you need.
12. Find Other Discounts
Car insurance providers offer various discounts, which may include usage-based driving discounts, defensive driver courses for the elderly, mileage-based discounts and student discounts. The odds are good there is a discount available if you hunt around. You can call your insurance provider to find available discounts or look for competing offers. Which brings us to our next point:
13. Shop Around
Many people may sign up for an insurance plan and never revisit their options. But shopping around with providers is the best way to ensure you’re getting a good rate, and there are many online resources available to help with your search.
“Every six months or year, consider shopping around with as many companies as possible,” said Richardson. “Since each insurance company weights rating factors differently (and these change as your coverage needs or lifestyle changes), you won’t truly know if you’re getting the best rate until you check with multiple providers.”