Most insurance customers think of only one way to lower their auto insurance premiums: lower the deductible. This is far from the most effective way to save on coverage costs and carries a high personal risk in the event of a collision. Here are a dozen strategies to pursue singly or in combination to save money while maintaining an appropriate level of vehicle protection.
- 1. Volume policies: All insurers offer discount rates for customers who have multiple policies with the company.
- Military service rewards: Active duty and retired military personnel qualify for discounts ranging from 2 to 15 percent.
- Retirement: Senior citizens with good driving records can often qualify for discounts of up to 45 percent via their membership in the AARP.
- Education: Degree holders in the fields of science, math, and engineering rate lower in insurance risk profiles and may be able to get discounts of 10 to 30 percent.
- Occupation: Farmers and teachers are among the lowest of all insurance risk categories by occupation. Educators routinely qualify for discounts of 10 to 30 percent. Farmers, if armed with good documentation and a willingness to negotiate, should be able to get the same price breaks.
- Innovative programs for teen drivers: Although a relatively new insurance product, more companies are starting to offer lower rates for teen drivers who will use cars equipped with GPS tracking or other devices to allow remote parental supervision.
- Driver’s education: Policy holders who will take a defensive driving class — even those offered online or via DVD — will receive a discount.
- Capitalize on safety features: With comprehensive coverage, drivers qualify for discounts for onboard security systems including alarms and GPS tracking services.
- Bulk payments: Paying premiums in six-month intervals can save consumers $60 or more a year on their policy.
- Pay as you drive: For drivers who routinely use mass transit or other alternate forms of transportation, pay as you drive policies will lower their premium levels as much as 50 percent.
- Age of the vehicle: Premiums should fall 5-10% every five years over the life of the car. Policy holders who are not seeing that price break should go after it.
- Eliminate unneeded coverage amenities: Provisions for towing add $30 or more to a policy yet in the event of a collision, towing is included. Rental coverage adds $40 a year, but is rarely used. (Plus, rental cars are available for $20 a day in the event of an emergency.)
As is the case with most price breaks, finding the cheapest auto insurance involves a willingness to do your research and negotiate. Most consumers fail to get discounts because they don’t know their options and/or they don’t ask. By being informed and aggressive, affordable automotive coverage is well within the grasp of every driver.