Finding affordable auto insurance need not be a headache. How to make sure you are paying the lowest premium for the coverage you need…
- Shop around. Prices for the same coverage can vary by hundreds of dollars. If you’re looking for a new policy or considering switching policies, get quotes from several insurance agents and from at least one “direct writer” such as GEICO or Worldwide Insurance. This will give you a good idea of the range of costs in your area.
Caution: Don’t simply look for the best prices. The insurer you select should also offer excellent service. Ask friends and business associates whether their insurers pay claims quickly, and for the ones with which they’ve had a bad experience.
Once you’ve narrowed the list, check the financial stability of the insurers you’re considering in such as A.M. Best, Standard and Poor’s and back issues of Consumer Reports..
- Take the highest deductible you can afford. Ultimately it saves money on your premium. That’s because the higher your deductible, the lower your insurance premium. Since the odds of your having an accident are slim, your annual savings will be considerable. Prudent: Invest some of this savings in a fund for use in case you get into an accident and have to meet the high deductible.
- Buy a low profile car. Your rates will be higher if your car is flashy and therefore more likely to attract thieves. When buying a new car, find out which models are the most and least frequently stolen
- Buy a safe car. Cars that best withstand crashes and are least expensive to repair qualify for discounted rates, while cars that are costly to fix or easily damaged are charged higher premiums.
Safest: Large, four-door models, station wagons, passenger vans etc. The Highway Loss Data Institute also issues information on injury and collision rates by automobile make and model.
- Buy a good used car. New cars lose much of their value the moment they are driven off the lot, which means the amount you can recoup if the car is totaled is immediately less than the amount you paid for it. A good-quality used car may be worth less than a new one, but it costs less to insure.
- Drop collision or comprehensive coverage on older vehicles.. Collision coverage is limited to value of your car at the time of an accident. Comprehensive coverage reimburse you for the value of possessions in the car, if it is stolen or damaged by a calamity other than an accident – earthquake, flood, etc.
These two types of coverage can account for as much as 45% of your total premium..
- Eliminate duplicate medical coverage,. In some states the medical section of auto-insurance polices covering hospital and doctor expenses if you or your family is injured in an auto accident is optional. You should opt out if the insurance duplicates coverage already provided in your standard health insurance policy.
- Take advantage of special programs. If you are older than age 50. Several companies offer low-cost insurance coverage. Several states have companies that accept customers who fit low-risk profiles.
If you are considering moving. Check rates in the surrounding area. Auto-insurance rates vary not only state to state but by city – and neighborhood. If you live in a low-crime area or in an area in which few accidents have occurred, your rates will be lower than most.