Auto insurance is something we’re all required to buy. But it doesn’t have to be expensive, and you don’t need to face ever-rising premiums. Here’s how to get the lowest possible rates. It might be hard work, but it will be worth the cheaper insurance.
1. Start with yourself. Take a defensive driving course and work on being the best driver you can be. The safer you are, the less of a risk you are and the lower your premiums will be.
2. Find out how much a car will cost to insure before you buy it. Run it through a few website calculators or call directly for quotes. Get several quotes: Each insurer calculates each risk differently, and you’ll likely find different results.
3. Buy a car that’s not popular with thieves, noted for its safety ratings, and cheap to repair. All of these are factors that can raise or lower your insurance. The safer a car is, the cheaper it is to fix; and the less likely it is to be stolen, the lower your premium will be.
4. Go for the safety options. Cars with better airbags, crumple zones, restraints and so on are cars that have lower premiums, since they’re less likely to injure the driver or passengers.
5. Also spring for the anti-theft options. A GPS tracer or more complicated lock system will lower the odds of your car being stolen and save you serious money on premiums.
6. Drive as little as possible. The less time you’re on the road, the less likely you are to get in a wreck; and if you limit your driving enough, you may qualify for a discount. If you don’t need to drive somewhere, don’t: Walk or bike there instead. You also save money on gas and improve your health.
7. Look carefully at what insurance you already have before signing off on personal injury coverage. For example, if you already have life insurance, health insurance, and disability insurance, it’s likely that you won’t need anything more than the minimum for personal injury. But be sure to speak with your insurer — all your insurers — before blithely signing up for the minimum; there may be factors you’re not aware of.
8. Similarly, look carefully at other extras before buying any policy. For example, roadside assistance may make sense for you if you don’t already have it… but it might be a perk you find on your credit cards or you may already have AAA. Getting a tow under your insurance may raise your premiums, so look elsewhere.
9. Remember this formula if you drive an older car: add together the cost of comprehensive and collision insurance for it. Multiply that by 10. If that comes out to more than the car is worth, you need to reduce your insurance.
10. Ask about discounts. There are dozens of discounts out there, ranging from discounts for drivers over 50 to safe driver discounts to discounts for limiting your mileage.
11. Adjust your deductible. A high deductible means you’ll pay less up front in premiums. Just be careful: Nobody plans to get into an accident. Make sure you can afford any deductible you sign up for.
12. Look at fees before going with installments. It may save you some money in administrative fees to simply pay your entire bill up front.