I’m often asked the same questions each day:
“Why did my rates go up this term?“
“I thought my rates were supposed to be going down instead of up?”
“Can you check on another policy or company for us?”
Let’s face it, everything in life is increasing in cost. We all have a need for auto insurance and unfortunately, with distracted driving at an all-time high, rates will continue to increase. There are some things you can do to keep the increases to a minimum or even lower your costs. In this first blog post, I want to give some helpful tips on ways that you can possibly lower your premiums. Here are 8 ways you may be able to reduce your auto insurance premiums in the next year:
1.) Shop around. Rates change year to year, even from company to company. Working with an independent insurance agent has its advantages so take advantage of them! While some might think that it is a lot of work to switch from company to company, it is really pretty easy to do. We at Rightmyer Insurance Agency work with over 15 well-known companies just on personal auto alone. We are able to go shop your policy through those 15+ companies to find you the best deal and it only takes us a few minutes to do so.
2.) Combine your policies. Have you combined your auto insurance policy with your home insurance or renter’s insurance policy? How about with a toy policy such as boat insurance, motorcycle insurance, motor home insurance or RV insurance? By combining and packaging your insurance with the same company, you can get a discount, sometimes as high as 30% on each policy! There are also many claims benefits to having all of your insurance with the same company such as only having only one deductible if you have a loss on both your auto and home.
3.) Set up auto withdrawal. Move your payments to automatic withdrawal or pay in full for 6 months to a year. If you cannot afford to pay your entire premium in one lump sum for 6 months to a year, have your payments deducted from your checking account or credit card each month automatically. You will not only save on billing charges for not having a bill mailed to you, you won’t have to remember to send that payment off, buy a stamp to mail it off, or drive to pay it in person. More often than not, the premium is less expensive going this route. If you can afford to budget and pay the entire premium in full for 6 months, this is the best way to do it as the discounts can be substantial
4.) Improve your credit score. Your credit score is actually a huge factor in how much you pay each month in insurance premiums. Insurance companies have found that there is a direct correlation between individuals with bad credit scores and their frequency for having claims or non-pay cancellations. Increase your score and your rates should improve accordingly.
5.) Have teenage drivers? Push for good grades. We all dread the day that our young daughter or son get their license and see the increase in insurance costs that comes with it. There are two discounts that most every company offers:
- good student discount for students in high school and college that maintain a “B” average and above
- discount for those that take drivers education
These vary from company to company but we have seen it as high as 25% with some companies. There are even programs offered for parents to take with their children through an online course that, once passed, will give you a 25% discount for that student for the remainder of their time on your policy until age 25. There is usually a small cost to sign up for these but the savings over time are well worth the investment
6.) Raise your limits of liability. While this may seem counter intuitive to decreasing your premiums, it is always a good idea to carry high limits of liability coverage. Besides the obvious reason of having more coverage in case of a loss, some companies will actually give you better rates for carrying higher limits as opposed to state minimum limits. In addition, when you go to re-shop your coverage with a new carrier, you will always get a better rate when are currently carrying higher limits of coverage.
7.) Take advantage of discounts. Most companies offer many of the same discounts (some that have been previously mentioned), but there are new ones coming out each month/year as companies try to stay ahead of the curve to gain and maintain new clients. One of the newest is telematics. Progressive has their “Snap Shop” program; Safeco has their “Right Track” program. More and more companies are looking to find ways to charge appropriate premiums based on your actual driving behavior as opposed to how people in your area of the state or country drive as a group. Take advantage of these as most companies give you a discount just for signing up, plus the option to earn up to 20-30% additional discount based on your driving behavior.
8.) Carry comprehensive and collision on at least one vehicle. More and more of your preferred companies are shying away from insuring individuals that carry liability only on all of their vehicles. Even if you have older vehicles, add comprehensive and collision to at least one of them. More often than not, your rates will be better than if you simply carry liability on all.
Have questions? Call or email me today!