You may not realize it, but the insurance rates you pay for your car can vary dramatically depending on the insurance company, agent or broker you choose, the coverage you request and the kind of car you drive. Listed below are a number of things you can do right now to lower your insurance costs.
1. Comparison Shop
Prices for the same coverage can vary by hundreds of dollars, so it pays to shop around. Ask your friends, check the yellow pages or call your state insurance department (phone numbers are listed). You can also check consumer guides, insurance agents or companies. This will give you an idea of price ranges and tell you which companies or agents have the lowest prices. But don't shop price alone.
The insurer you select should offer both fair prices and excellent service. Quality personal service may cost a bit more, but provides added conveniences, so talk to a number of insurers to get a feeling for the quality of their service. Ask them what they would do to lower your costs. Check the financial ratings of the companies, too. Then, when you've narrowed the field to three insurers, get price quotes.
2. Ask for Higher Deductibles.
Deductibles represent the amount of money you pay before you make a claim. By requesting higher deductibles on collision and comprehensive (fire and theft) coverage, you can lower your costs substantially. For example, increasing your deductible from $200 to $500 could reduce your collision and comprehensive cost by 15% to 30%.
3. Drop Collision and/or Comprehensive Coverages on Older Cars.
It may not be cost effective to have collision or comprehensive coverage on cars worth less than $1,000 because any claim you make would not substantially exceed annual cost and deductible amounts. Auto dealers and banks can tell you the worth of cars.
4. Buy a "Low Profile" Car.
Before you buy new or used car, check into insurance costs. Cars that are expensive to repair, or that are a favorite target for thieves, have much higher insurance costs. Write to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 1005 North Glebe Road, Arlington, VA 22201 and ask for the Highway Loss Data Chart.
5. Take Advantage of Low Mileage Discounts.
Some companies offer discounts to motorists who drive fewer than a predetermined number of miles a year.
6. Consider Insurance Cost When Making a Move.
Costs tend to be lowest in rural communities and highest in center cities where there is more traffic congestion.
7. Find out about Automatic Seat Belt or Air Bag Discounts.
You may be able to take advantage of discounts on some coverage if you have automatic seat belts and/or air bags.
8. Ask about Anti-lock Brakes.
Anti-lock brakes improve steering control and stability when a car is brought to a stop, thus reducing accidents. Some states, including Florida, New Jersey and New York, require insurers to give discounts for cars equipped with the brakes and some insurers have a nationwide discount in place.
9. Inquire about Other Discounts.
Some insurers offer discounts for more than one car, no accidents in three years, drivers over 50 years of age, driver training courses, anti-theft devices, and good grades for students. See the following page for a guide to these and other discounts. You Can Reach Your State Insurance Department at:
For more information, call the National Insurance Consumer Helpline (NICH) at 1-800-942-4242.