Car insurance is important—so much so that it's pretty much required! But that doesn't mean you should have to pay an arm and a leg to have it!
If you have a car, you need car insurance. In fact, the vast majority of states straight up require you, by law, to have car insurance if you want to drive. But if even you weren’t required to have car insurance, it would still be wise to have it.
After all, you never know when your car might run into a mechanical issue. And if your car is involved in a collision and you’re determined to be at fault, being without insurance will mean being on the hook for potentially thousands and thousands of dollars.
However, as with nearly every aspect of owning a car, it can be expensive. Plus, there’s a lot of variance in car insurance pricing due to a wide range of factors both in and out of your control. With all that in mind, here are some things you can do to try and lower your insurance costs.
Take some time to shop around.
You wouldn’t just wander onto a car lot, point to the first automobile you see and purchase it, right? You’d want to shop around first and compare your options. Well, the same concept applies when you’re buying insurance for that car.
“Insurance is nice because there is always a good amount of competition going after your money,” advised Kelan Kline of The Savvy Couple. “Use the competition to shop around and find the best rates for what you need. You can even get a quote from a different company and call your current insurance company to see if they will price match.”
Generally, the cost of insurance is tied to how risky a driver you’re perceived to be. However, all hope is not necessarily lost, even if you have a spotty driving past.
“Certain auto insurance companies specialize in higher risk drivers,” explained Joel Ohman, Certified Financial Planner™ and the founder of CarInsuranceComparison.com. “This means that if one has a DUI in their history, many accidents, or even poor credit, then it becomes all the more important to shop around and compare rates from many different car insurance companies.
“Working with an independent insurance agent who can help you compare options from many companies is a great way to find an affordable car insurance rate, but be sure to do your research online and compare rates!”
Create some new data.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could show your insurance provider, objectively, that you’re a good and safe driver? Then you’d have some real evidence that could convince your provider to lower your rates.
Well, good news! You can!
“Many of my clients ask me how they can lower their auto insurance rates,” recounted personal injury attorney Brad Biren. “Over the years, I have surrounded myself with insurance professionals and have advised clients to do the following: provide objective data of your improved driving record and ability.
“Objective data is a tangible form of evidence, such as a black box in a car, a certificate of completion from a driving course, and/or driving record that may not be considered in a typical driving history. The most effective form of evidence is a six-month driving snapshot using a black box that can be installed under the driving column of your car. Insurance companies provide these for free and give the insurer a six-month view of your driving distances, speeds, and other valuable data.
“Although your rate may start out high, after the data is measured, the information will indicate whether or not you are indeed a good driver. That six-month record is objective data on your abilities and capacity to drive safely. It is important to not let anyone else drive your car during that six-month window. That one thing could reduce one’s rate by half.”
Consider switching cars.
We understand that if you’re desperate to cut down your car insurance costs, you’re probably not looking to buy a new car right now. But it’s still worth being aware of how a different car could lower your insurance rates in case you need a new car at some point in the future.
“Buy a safer car or alternative fuel/hybrid car,” suggested Jacob Dayan, CEO of Community Tax. “Many insurance companies offer discounts on clean air vehicles.”
Check in with your employer.
Do you currently have an employer? Well, that might be a path to cheaper car insurance.
“One type of insurance discount that many people never even think about can come from an employer,” explained Ohman. “Many large Fortune 500 companies offer various discounts to their employees if they purchase a policy through a preferred insurance provider that the employer may have some type of special arrangement with. Often employees don’t even think to check with their employer or they forget to bring it up to the insurer.”
Dayan suggested a similar approach: “Look for group insurance rates through employers, alumni associations, and other professional networks/organizations.”
Are you driving for a rideshare app?
If you drive for one of the “apps,” your insurance is going to want to know that. And there may even be insurance programs you can access that are specifically tailored for rideshare drivers.
“It’s quite common for Uber drivers to think that they can just hide their status as an Uber driver from their auto insurance carrier,” warned Ohman. “This certainly might work for a while, but should they ever find themselves needing to file a claim, then their insurance carrier may very well choose to deny their claim and even rescind their policy because of their lack of forthrightness.
“Some auto insurance carriers are beginning to offer a ‘Ridesharing Endorsement’ to their personal auto insurance policies, designed specifically for Uber and Lyft drivers. This is in a very limited rollout with State Farm, Farmers, and USAA.
“What’s certain is that ridesharing companies like Lyft and Uber are here to stay. It will take some time for legislators as well as insurance carriers to catch up. Until then, Lyft and Uber drivers should do all they can to get and keep adequate coverage so that they will not find themselves without protection should they ever need to file a claim.”
Hey, it doesn’t hurt to ask, right?
“Simply ask,” suggested Kline. “It’s a good habit of calling all of your billing companies a couple times a year. Sometimes they offer seasonal discounts, loyalty programs, or even bundles to help you save money.”
As long as you have to have car insurance anyway, you might as well save some money. Drive safely, friends!
Going without car insurance could leave you stuck when you have an automotive emergency.
Brad Biren is the newest addition to Johnston Martineau, joining as a senior associate in the fall of 2017. He holds an undergraduate degree from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and his law degree from the University of Iowa. His broad and varied experience with the law and work in the public sector includes assisting with prosecutions at the US Attorney’s Office in Davenport, project management at the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, and nonprofit management throughout the United States.
Kelan and Brittany Kline aka The Savvy Couple are two thriving millennials that are daring to live differently. They started their personal finance blog in September 2016 to help others get money $avvy so they can live a frugal and free lifestyle. Brittany is a full-time 4th-grade teacher and Kelan runs The Savvy Couple full-time and works as a digital marketer. You can follow them here: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Joel Ohman (@JoelOhman) is a Certified Financial Planner™ and the founder of CarInsuranceComparison.com and has been mentioned in many different publications including AllBusiness.com, AOL.com, Banks.com, BusinessInsider.com, ChicagoTribune.com, Forbes.com, Inc.com, Newsweek.com, Reader’s Digest, USA Today, WashingtonPost.com, WiseBread.com, Yahoo Finance, etc.
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