Car insurance (Auto insurance) is not just an option, it is required by law. Before beginning your search for the best car insurance rates, it is important to know what is mandatory in your state of residence. Each state has a specific amount of car insurance that its occupants are required to maintain. Once you have determined the amount of auto insurance that you need, you can begin shopping around. Here are some tips to help you get the best deal on car insurance.
Maintain A Good Driving Record
There are many factors that can influence your car insurance rates. One of the most prominent factors is your driving record. If you maintain a good driving record, your rates will likely be lower. Before you go shopping for insurance rates, obtain a copy of your driving record and make sure the record is accurate and up to date. Maintaining a good driving record includes:
- Having had no insurance claims made.
- Having had no accidents.
- Having received no traffic tickets in the last 3 years.
Get Car-Specific Quotes Before You Buy
If you're in the market to buy a car, be it new or used, call your insurance company and ask for quotes for the specific type of car you are considering before your purchase it. Insurance rates vary greatly for new or used cars and between various makes and models. Discovering your projected insurance premium may sway your ultimate car buying decision. Also, keep in mind that a car with certain safety features may lower your insurance premiums. Safety items that may influence insurance premiums include:
- Anti-theft devices
- Anti-lock brakes
- Tracking devices
- Air bags
Take A Defensive Driving Course
In some states, insurance companies offer discounts for drivers who have completed a certified defensive driving course. Spending a few hours learning safety tips and rules of the road may lower your insurance premium. Check your local library, department of motor vehicles or search the Internet for places that offer defensive driving courses.
Ask For Discounts
Many insurance companies give discounts for various reasons. Many people are not aware of this fact or don't inquire about discounts that are available to them. Don't be afraid to speak up and ask about discounts you may qualify for. Insurance companies offer discounts for several reasons including:
- Good driving record
- Customer loyalty
- Good student, maintaining a B average or better
- Driver's education
- Multiple policies with the same company, such as home and car
- Safety equipment
- Higher deductibles, the higher the deductible the lower the premium
- Group discounts through your employer or alumni association
Inquire About Top Tier Pricing
Insurance companies place customers into tiers based upon the probability that they will follow-up with a claim. Price wise, it is best to be placed in the top tier. Drivers placed into the top tier may save up to 15 percent on their car insurance premiums. Insurance companies base top tier pricing upon factors including:
- Having had no claims or few claims in the last several years.
- Living in an area that has a relatively low car theft rate.
Check Insurance Company Websites
When searching for the best car insurance rates, don’t leave out the Internet. You may be surprised to find that your least expensive rates come from Internet websites. Insurers estimate a savings of approximately 5 percent on car insurance rates when getting quotes from insurance websites. Many companies offer web only discounts, the reason being that companies have decreased transaction costs when operating online. This savings can be passed on to the consumer in the form of lower rates.
Consider A Higher Deductible
Aside from basic liability coverage, insurance companies offer comprehensive and collision coverage. Both services come with higher insurance premiums and your choice of deductible. Deductibles usually range from $250 to $1,000. A deductible is the amount of money you will pay out of pocket before your insurance company picks up the remainder of the repair bill. Typically, the higher the deductible, the lower your insurance premium will be. If your car is damaged in an car accident, collision coverage will pay for repairs once you have met your deductible. Comprehensive insurance benefits pay for the loss of your vehicle due to factors other than a car accident including:
Many people don't shop around for car insurance. They continue to stick with the company they've been with year after year. While this may be a good thing in terms of loyalty, you may be missing out on much cheaper premiums elsewhere. Do some research and you may be pleasantly surprised at what you find.