When it comes to insuring your car, there are the premiums you pay and then there are the costs you don’t see coming. There are also costs that just creep up on you unawares. Even if you’re diligent and careful about where, when and how you drive, there will be a bill waiting for you at the end of the year. Unless, that is, you take action and find ways to reduce your insurance costs. If your budget is tight or you simply want to save money where possible, check out these tips for reducing your car insurance costs.
Stay on top of your insurance costs
It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your insurance costs every year. Car insurance premiums are not set in stone, and many insurers will be willing to negotiate if you ask them to reduce your rates. People who keep their driving record clean and who drive a safe car can qualify for their premiums to go down. Those who have been involved in accidents, who drive frequently (or at night) or who have a high-risk car model may see their premiums increase. When you renew your policy each year, you can check to see if the rates have changed and get an idea of what factors might have influenced the change.
Drive smart and stay safe
The biggest factor that impacts your car insurance rates is how safe you are on the roads. Driving safely is the best way to reduce your risk of being involved in an accident and getting charged higher premiums. You can also reduce your risk of getting into an accident by driving carefully, obeying traffic laws and avoiding risks such as driving while tired or distracted. You can even affect your rates positively by taking a defensive driving course. If you keep a clean record and drive safely, you can expect lower rates than drivers who are cited for infractions and accidents.
Shop around and compare rates
The price of car insurance can vary dramatically depending on your location, your driving record, the car you drive and the insurer you choose. You can save a lot of money by simply shopping around and comparing rates. As with any shopping trip, it’s wise to shop around and get a few quotes. You might be surprised to find that you can lower your rates simply by changing companies.
Be aware of your deductible
Your car insurance deductible is the amount you pay for a claim before your insurer starts to cover the costs. If you have an accident, you’ll be billed for your medical costs and for any damage to your car up to your deductible. You can reduce your insurance costs by increasing your deductible. This will reduce your monthly premiums since your insurer won’t have to pay out as much. If you have an accident, you can use your high deductible to avoid paying thousands of dollars out of your own pocket.
Lock in your rate when you can
Some people are lucky enough to qualify for a discounted rate when they first get their insurance. But that special deal is only guaranteed as long as you stay with that insurer. If you know that you have a lower rate and you’re happy with your current insurer, lock in that lower rate for as long as possible. You may have an accident or be cited for a driving infraction, and then you’ll have to start all over again with new rates. If you can, try to keep your driving record clean and your current insurer happy.
Don’t own a car? Don’t pay for car insurance!
If you don’t own or drive a car, you don’t have to pay for car insurance. In many states, the law requires car owners to carry insurance, but it doesn’t apply to non-owners. If you don’t drive and don’t own a car, you’ll never need car insurance. You can save thousands of dollars simply by not paying for something you don’t need. If you are offered car insurance as part of an employment package, it might be a good idea to decline it. It’s a simple way to save money without effort.
The cost of car insurance is one expense that you can’t control. It’s illegal not to have insurance, and you can be fined or have your license revoked if you don’t have insurance and get pulled over. But there are ways to reduce your costs. If you drive carefully, obey traffic laws and avoid high-risk behaviors, you can expect lower rates than drivers who are cited for infractions or accidents. If you shop around and compare rates, you can easily save money on your insurance by simply changing companies.