Car insurance is one of those expenses that can sneak up on you if you’re not careful. You might be paying too much because you don’t know the easiest ways to save money on your car insurance costs. With any luck, this list of 10 ways to save money on your car insurance will help you get some savings without sacrificing any coverage that you need.
1) Take Advantage of Discounts
The best way to save money on car insurance is to take advantage of all available discounts. You may not be aware of all of them, but they’re likely available if you ask. Discounts can be automatically applied as part of a bundle (for example, when you have home and auto insurance with State Farm), or you may qualify for one because of your age, your credit score, or even where you live. To learn more about available discounts and how much money they could save you per year, check out our guide to auto insurance discounts.
2) Compare Quotes
It's a no-brainer that you should shop around when looking for car insurance, but many people don't. According to a study by J.D. Power, four out of five people who bought or renewed car insurance in 2014 didn't comparison shop before making their purchase! In fact, less than half actually looked at more than two carriers before making their decision. There are tons of sites that allow you to compare quotes; NerdWallet tracks rates across a wide range of companies (both online and offline) so it's worth taking a look at how they stack up against each other.
3) Consider an Existing Rental Policy
You may be able to lower your car insurance premiums by taking out a separate, dedicated policy for any vehicle you rent or borrow. Most auto insurance providers offer non-owner policies that are generally cheaper than standard coverage, especially if you only plan on driving cars for short periods. However, depending on your personal situation and driving history, certain vehicles will carry higher rates—so it’s smart to compare quotes before choosing which auto insurance company to work with. Additionally, collision and comprehensive coverage aren’t usually available through non-owner policies—so you may want to check with your insurance provider first to make sure you can still receive adequate protection in case of an accident.
4) Increase Deductibles
If you are concerned about car insurance costs, one thing you can do is raise your deductible. Increasing your deductible will reduce your premiums (the amount you pay every month to keep insurance coverage) but also mean that when a claim occurs, you'll have to pay more out of pocket. The question then becomes: How much can you afford? Also, keep in mind that if an uninsured driver hits your car and causes damage worth more than $1,000 and their case goes to court, courts can force them to cover the amount above $1,000. So raising your deductible means that any damage from uninsured drivers up to $1,000 could be coming out of your pocket.
5) Add Riders
Adding riders to your car insurance policy can protect you and your loved ones in many different ways. From umbrella coverage to medical payments, here are 10 types of riders that will help save you money. We'll also give you tips on how to add them to your current policy. Are you protected? If not, maybe it's time for a change...
6) Raise Age Limits
If you’re in your twenties, expect to pay more for auto insurance than you would if you were 40. When it comes to car insurance, age and experience can save you money. Raise your yearly mileage limits: Why should insurers get a free ride when it comes to highway usage? You could save thousands of dollars over time by raising your mileage cap to 20,000 miles per year (from 10,000). Set lower deductibles: You may be willing to forgo a little coverage for higher savings on car insurance premiums. Change from an excess liability policy—in which you agree to bear some or all of any costs associated with an accident before insurance kicks in—to one that offers more protection.
7) Pay Yearly Instead of Monthly
Most car insurance companies have a 5-day grace period where they won’t cancel your policy if you haven’t paid on time. It’s best to pay monthly, but if that’s not possible, make sure you’re paying at least once a year. (The same goes for home insurance.) Some insurance companies also offer two discounts: paying annually instead of monthly and choosing to pay your bill electronically. If your payment is late, notify your provider immediately so they can keep an eye out for activity related to identity theft. Here are some resources to help you get started
8) Shop Around Every Few Years
If you’re shopping for car insurance, talk to at least five different insurance companies. Rates can vary significantly, so it’s worth it to shop around and see what rates you can get by transferring your policy or buying a new one. And remember: It only takes five minutes (which is probably less time than you spend watching commercials on TV!)
9) Get a Quote in Person
If you’re only going to take one step in saving money on your auto insurance, make it by putting down your computer and getting a quote in person. Don’t just get a quote over email or on a website — make sure to see what coverage you actually qualify for by speaking with an agent. That way, you can avoid thinking you have full coverage when in reality you might not be protected as much as you thought. And before signing any documents, read over all of them carefully — policies are complicated things that can sometimes surprise people.
10) Avoid Public Adjusters
Public adjusters represent clients who have claims against their insurance policies, but you need to understand that public adjusters aren’t doing it for free. Not only do they get a flat fee or percentage of what your claim is worth, but they will generally bill you up to several hundred dollars simply for submitting your case to your insurance company. If you are having trouble making ends meet in these tough economic times, don’t waste hundreds of dollars on someone who isn’t even representing you and could actually be hurting your chances at a full settlement. It is not uncommon for public adjusters to take less than 10% when taking on a claim and then send it off to an attorney anyway – sometimes even signing them up as well!