It is no secret that the United States, following on the heals of the “Popping of the Housing bubble,” many find themselves facing challenging financial times. As a result we are going through a time when we are all paying closer attention to our expenses. Owning and maintaining a car has never been cheap, but with unemployment at 10% and gas at all time highs; more people are taking a careful look at the cost of their Car Insurance. Below are ten suggestions to save money on your car insurance.
1. Shop Insurance rates Before You Buy That New Car
We have all seen the TV. Commercials filled with “Driving-Footage” of company X’s new sporty car. Trying to make you believe that somehow the “Super-Model” in the spot, while not a feature of the car, might at least give you “The time of day” if you buy their shiny new car. Manufactures and Dealers with a surplus of inventory might put some attractive lease incentives allowing you to bring the auto home for less than expected. I have had the unpleasant task of telling people that their “Hot-New-Toy” is heavily surcharged by Insurance companies. That means that even though two car have around the same value, they might have dramatically different insurance rates. After the papers are signed and the car is yours, it’s a bad time to find that the monthly insurance payment is more than your monthly note.
2. Shop Several Companies
Remember that prices can vary widely from company to the next. The carrier that offers the lowest rate on a middle-aged married couple might be one the highest on a 20-year-old male single. Get quotes from different types of insurance companies. Some companies sell direct through a captive agent force. Independent agents, like Urban Insurance Agency offer policies from several different insurance companies. It is for this reason that Urban Insurance will shop out a variety of companies looking for the best rate and coverage to meet your needs. We represent more than thirty companies in order to get the best coverage and most competitive rates.
3. Decrease Coverage on Lower Value Cars
If your car is new, or is being financed, of course it makes sense to purchase “Full Coverage” to protect your investment. However if your Auto is no longer a “late model” or does not have a value over $3,000.00, consider dropping collision and comprehensive coverage. Ask your agent to provide you with a quote both with and without these coverages.
4. Move to a Higher Deductible
The deductible is the amount you pay on a claim before the insurance company pays. By requesting higher deductibles, you can lower your insurance costs significantly. This is particularly true for car insurance. For example, increasing your deductible from $250 to $500 could decrease your comprehensive and collision coverage cost by as much as 30 percent. Switching to a $1,000 deductible can reduce your expense by 40 percent or more. Just remain cognizant that if there is a claim you are going to need to come up with those funds in order to get your car repaired.
5. Exclude a driver
Not all drivers are created equal when it comes to insurance. The rates on teen drivers are much higher than drivers in their 30s or 40s. If you have young drivers in the household that do not drive your bike, you can save a considerable sum by taking them off your policy. A word of caution: If you exclude a driver from your policy and they do take your car out for a whirl and have an accident; you will not be covered for that accident.
6. Part-Time Drivers
Most companies give a discounted rate for a part-time or occasional driver. This is of no use if the part time driver is an older driver, but can make a dramatic difference when the part time driver is a young driver. But remember to ask your agent, and not assume they gave you the discount.
7. Check Your Driving Record
This might be hard to believe but people down at the Illinois Secretary of State’s office sometimes make mistakes. The same thing holds true for our customers in Indiana, and Michigan — I have had clients whose driving record show accidents and tickets that were inaccurate. Such mistakes happen more frequently than many agents or representatives at the DMV are willing to admit. These mistakes can significantly affect the cost of your insurance. Verify your credit record on a from time to time to check for any errors. At Urban Insurance we work with our customers to remove errors from your MVR reports.
8. Maintain a Good Credit Record
It might seem that is no connection between “Good Credit” and low insurance costs, but many insurance companies will now run credit reports each time you apply for a quote on any insurance. Many people would be surprised to learn that a “Bad Credit Score” can raise your insurance rate more than having speeding tickets. Not all companies credit score; always ask the agent if they are going to run your credit. If a representative asks you for your social security number, presume they are planning on running a credit report. Confirm your credit record periodically to check for any errors.
9. Alarm your vehicle
Having an approved alarm system professionally installed, could save you on average 10 per cent on your premium cost. Anything you do to deter thefts or any type of claim, will help hold down your insurance costs.
10. Don’t Put In The Small Claims
The fact is, insurance works best when it is used for which it was designed – to protect you against significant financial losses. Insurance companies today share loss data through a central network. As a result these losses follow you from one insurer to the next. Companies count “Frequency” as well as total payout; so if you have $610 in damages and a $500 deductible It might be make sense to reach a bit deeper into your pocket to avoid having evidence of a the claim on your record.
For 49 years, URBAN has been providing car insurance from a selection of more than twenty companies; while maintaining our commitment to personal service.
If you have questions or need additional assistance,
Please contact us at 1-800-680-0707
Urban Insurance Agency © 2009
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Author Larry Lubell
I have been working as an insurance agent Urban Insurance since 1984.