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Five Tips for Getting the Best Auto Insurance

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Approximately 27,000 accidents occur every day. This number includes all kinds of accidents, from minor scrapes to deadly crashes”.  Car accidents are too frequent to take chances.  Auto insurance coverage isn’t just a good idea, in most states its legally required.  There are several things you can do to make sure you are getting the best auto insurance and pricing possible.

  1. Shop around

There are many different insurance types and companies, all vying for your business.  Each company evaluates your driving record and history differently and offers varying discounts and rates.  Each insurer may have a specific niche that enables them to offer terrific rates to those drivers that fit their particular niche.  Small insurers may be the most affordable for local, small town consumers while larger companies may be able to best serve those in more populated cities.  Work with an independent insurance agent that has relationships with multiple companies to get the best rates available.  An agent is going to know from experience which company will best be able to meet your needs.  When you are looking for the best auto insurance, be sure to shop around.

  1. Carefully assess your coverage needs

The less an insurance company has to pay out, the less they will charge you.  This means the lower your coverage amounts and higher your deductibles, the less you’ll pay in premiums. You should carefully assess your needs.  Review any existing coverage that you may already have.  If you belong to AAA and your membership includes towing and emergency repairs, you will not need this as part of your auto insurance policy.

While you don’t want to pay for duplicate coverage it is important that you don’t underestimate your insurance needs.  While you don’t need to pay for overlapping coverage you also don’t want to risk being underinsured.  If you have medical insurance that covers your needs in the event of an accident you should still consider medical coverage as part of your auto policy.  In the event of a car accident where you are at fault, other people may suffer injuries and need expensive medical attention.  Your auto policy should cover the cost to replace or repair your vehicle, damage to another person’s vehicle and potential medical expenses.  Without proper coverage, one car accident could financially ruin you.

  1. Lower your risk

The insurance companies look at your driving record and statistical probability to estimate the likelihood that you’ll be in an accident.  The lower your risk, the less expensive your insurance will be.  There are several things you can do to make yourself a safer bet.

You can try to improve your credit score.  Insurance companies prefer to work with customers that are financially responsible.  If you have a low credit score, you may be perceived as a higher risk client.  The first thing you can do to improve your credit score is to pay your bills on time every time for an extended period.  If needed, make a budget and stick to it.  If you consistently make on time payments, you can improve your creditworthiness and potentially lower your premiums.

Insurance companies also rely heavily on statistics to determine your rates.  If you are statistically less likely to be in an accident you can get a lower rate.  You can make choices that make you statistically more appealing.  For instance, if you drive a safe family car instead of a sports car you can receive a better rate.  If you choose to work from home instead of commuting you’re much less likely to be in an accident.  Another straightforward way to lower your auto insurance rates is to be a safe driver.  Avoiding tickets and accidents over time gives you a safe driving track record.

  1. Think outside the box

There are strategies to get better rates that are outside the norm.  If you are not opposed to disclosing a lot of real time information to your auto insurance carrier you may consider usage based insurance.  This insurance offers you a much lower rate provided you are a safe driver with safe habits.  Usage based services are also known as pay as you drive (PAYD) and is based on the vehicle, distance and behaviors you practice while driving.  There are different variations of this insurance.  Some companies charge based on the odometer readings while others use GPS technology to track the distance driven.  Other factors such as the riskiness of the roads you travel and your driving behaviors can be factored in as well.  This type of insurance calculates your risk in real-time instead of based on your past history like traditional insurers (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage-based_insurance).

  1. Take Advantage of Discounts

Do not leave discounts on the table.  One of the best ways to lower your premiums is to take advantage of all available discounts.  Don’t hesitate to ask your independent agent or insurer about any and all available discounts.

  • Bundle your coverage.  Insurers don’t want just part of your business.  They want all of your business, and they are willing to lower the price to get it.  Bundling your auto and home or renter’s insurance may save you money on all of your policies.
  • Lower your mileage.  If you don’t drive a lot, make sure you tell prospective insurance companies.  The less you are on the road, the less likely you will be in an accident.  Many auto insurers offer a low mileage discount.
  • Get rewarded for being a good student.  Many students have high auto premiums due to their young age and inexperience behind the wheel.  You may be able to offset some of this cost by taking advantage of a good student discount.  Good grades and responsible driving may help bring down those high premiums.
  • Military service is often acknowledged with specific discounts.  Men and women that serve our country’s armed forces are often given preferential rates.  If you have served our country in any military capacity be sure to ask a prospective insurer if they offer military rates.
  • Life changes can qualify for new discounts.  Believe it or not, life changes can improve your auto insurance rates.  If you get married, have a birthday, or children talk to your insurance agent and see if you may qualify for a better rate.

These five steps can help you get the best auto insurance possible.  Put your needs in the hands of a professional and independent insurance agent.  With years of experience and firsthand knowledge of multiple insurance carriers, our agents can get you the coverage and pricing you need.

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