Lower Auto Insurance Rates With Deep Premium Discounts
Recent losses due to storms in the Southeast added to the floundering economy have resulted in auto insurance rates increasing from between 5 and 11 percent so far this year. This includes companies such as State Farm and Nationwide, who in addition to natural and economic upheavals have also had to pay out on an escalating amount of auto insurance fraud, which is estimated to add an extra $300 to each premium.
The good news is that with a little research you can reap surprising savings on auto insurance by taking a long hard look at your current policy and jumping on the opportunities that exist.
Auto Insurance Discounts Everyone Should Have
Anyone who tunes in a radio or flips on the TV knows about a bevy of auto insurance discounts offered to those who stick to the speed limit, stay with an insurer, and thwart would-be thieves.
- Safe Driver
- Low Mileage
- Loyalty Discount
- High Deductible
- Piggybacked Policies
- Anti-theft Device Discounts
The Mother Lode
Some of the most expensive vehicles to insure run $3500 or more per year while some perfectly safe and serviceable sedans cost one quarter as much to insure.
- Low Risk Vehicles – Low risk vehicles translate into low premium auto insurance. The Chevrolet Impala, Lincoln Town Car and Dodge Grand Caravan have the distinction of being vehicles which are the least expensive to insure, while the GM Hummer sits at the opposite end of the continuum. According to Money magazine, Hummer is the most highly ticketed vehicle for speeding.
- Car Safety Features – Antilock brakes, airbags, pretensioning seat belts, and stability and traction control, although expensive, place your vehicle in a more favorable risk category in the eyes of your insurer, qualifying you for lower auto insurance rates.
- Low Risk Neighborhoods – Auto insurance underwriters profile neighborhoods in terms of the likelihood your vehicle will be vandalized or stolen if you live there. Knowing the differences between auto insurance rates in different ZIP codes can be a money-saving piece of information when you move.
- Defensive Driving Classes – Older driver’s insurance will continue to drop until they reach a certain age after which they will notice their rates increasing. As we age, our visual acuity, reaction time, and judgment diminishes. By taking a defensive driving course, older drivers can qualify for a 10 percent premium discount for the following three-year period.
Like the "hypermiler" who manages to stretch 75 miles per gallon from his 1985 Honda Accord, exploring these opportunities can add unexpected savings to your already impressive resume of money-saving accomplishments.
- Group Auto Insurance Plans – Your membership in your old alumni group can pay some surprising dividends, if they participate in a group auto insurance agreement. This can also be the case for a professional association or even your employer.
- Green Auto Insurance – Some insurers are "going green" by going paperless in terms of their customer’s policies and other notifications. Accordingly, they pass some of those savings on the their policyholders.
- Save Money Insuring a Hybrid – While many of the tax credits and dealer incentives are disappearing, you can still receive a discount from your insurer for driving a hybrid. Insurance underwriters recognize that hybrid owners are more responsible, safer drivers and set a lower rate for them.
- Keep Your Older Car to Sidestep the Need for Comprehensive and GAP Coverage – When you drive a new car off the lot, the vehicle immediately depreciates by 10 percent. Whoever finances your auto loan will require that you purchase a more expensive comprehensive policy plus another policy called GAP insurance to make up the difference between what the car was worth before it was totaled or stolen and the amount of the loan. Keeping your car an extra three or four years can net you thousands in savings.
- Remain Claim-free by Driving Defensively – The best way to save money on auto insurance is to never have an accident, or never file a claim. Driving safely pays the largest possible dividend by keeping you and others safe and injury-free.