A Simple Strategy to Lower Your Car Insurance Premiums
The initial price of buying a car is often considered the hardest part of investing in personal transportation. This is understandable since it can take years to pay it all off. However, it is the cost over time of just owning a car that can also wreak havoc on your budget. The basic expenses of maintenance, gas, and insurance can quickly drain your bank account. One of the best ways of keeping this under control is by paying attention to your insurance premiums.
If you’ve been a car owner for any amount of time, then you are surely familiar with rising car insurance rates. Sometimes it’s just the company adjusting for their own losses or the frequency of claims. However, plenty of people know that if they have received a speeding ticket, moving violation, or have been in an accident, their premiums can skyrocket.
If you have found yourself in just such a situation then take comfort in knowing that there are ways to bring your rates back down. The following article outlines just one basic strategy for reducing your premiums. It’s a pragmatic path to follow and can make a serious difference.
When trying to lower your insurance premiums, you need to begin from the ground up. This means honestly assessing your ability as a good, safe driver. Demonstrating your capacity to follow the rules of the road is an essential part of getting your license. However, it takes no time at all to get too comfortable and develop the types of bad habits that cause problems. As such, any accidents or trouble with the law will have affected what you pay every month.
Insurance companies are constantly assessing and adjusting for risk. If you appear to be a low-risk driver then they are likely to reward you with better rates. If you’re on the other side of the spectrum and have a spotty record, then your provider will charge more to compensate for your risky history.
Something as innocuous as a light speeding ticket can raise your premiums by up to 13%. On the other hand, if you’ve managed to have no incidents within a typical span of 3 to 5 years, then you’re probably eligible for a price break. Therefore, it’s important to start improving your driving now and not later.
Truthfully, an insurance company wants as few claims as possible. It’s money out of their pocket and they want to make sure that they only pay out when it’s absolutely necessary. It’s with this mindset that they create incentives for good driving.
Becoming a better driver is thus killing two birds with one stone. Not only will you be safer overall, but you’ll also be spending less every month to financially protect yourself.
The next step you can take is by giving your provider tangible proof of your reliability as a safe driver. You can do this by enrolling in a defensive driving course. It might be just what you need to cut premiums. The benefits vary from state to state and insurer to insurer.
If your record is clean, then taking a class can result in discounts anywhere between 5% to 15% over the course of a few years. If you have a less than stellar record, then a defensive driving course can help reduce negative points caused by minor violations. Removing points from your record is a major step towards lowering rates. It will take some of the burdens off by showing your insurance company that you are taking driving seriously despite past issues.
Most states will either discount insurance premiums directly or eliminate points from your record. With the exception of New York, they will not do both. Furthermore, the class must also have been completed within a recent timeframe.
Courses vary in prices and times. However, they will rarely take up more than a weekend and most won’t cost an arm and a leg. Regardless, make sure the course fee is still less than what you would be saving from reduced premiums.
Take On More Responsibility
After showing your provider that you are not only a safe driver but one who is actively improving with lessons, you can take the next step. This is done by increasing your deductible.
The deductible is what you will pay out of pocket before insurance takes over. If you have $100 deductible but your claim is for $500, then a provider like Unique Insurance Company is only going to give you $400 to cover it. By increasing the amount that you are willing to pay for a claim, you can significantly lower your premiums.
The possible savings vary on a wide spectrum and are based on the policies of the insurer and the laws of your state. That said, an increase of a couple of hundred dollars in a deductible can result in a premium reduction of 15%-30%. A deductible increase of several hundred dollars can mean a possible 40% reduction depending on where you are.
It is worth noting that the savings that can be had from a higher deductible will also vary based on numerous other factors. Things like your driving record, vehicle costs, state laws, company policies, and other discounts will all effect the benefit of an increased deductible.
Lastly, since a higher deductible means you will be paying more out of pocket for every claim, make sure you can handle the exposure and that the savings are worth it. This makes improving your driving and taking classes doubly important. You will be better equipped to handle more risk.
If you have found yourself trapped by rising rates, then these are the immediate steps to take that will spare you in the long run. However, there are also several possible discounts you can take advantage of depending on your situation.
Insurance companies will often lower premiums for things like low-mileage vehicles, multi-car coverage, commuter discounts for using public transportation, and integrated safety features. Moreover, subscribing to an affiliated group like AAA can lead to better pricing, as well as just sticking with the same insurer for a certain period of time.
It may seem like a lot at first, but all these steps can lead to hundreds of dollars in savings. Taken one at a time, each will lower the monthly burden of owning a car and give you room to spend on something a little more exciting.