If you’re a savvy consumer, you already know a few steps you can take to decrease your auto insurance payments. You can avoid accidents and traffic tickets, combine all of your insurance policies under one carrier, or purchase anti-theft devices for your cars. But if you still want to lower your rate after doing all that, are you simply out of luck?
Not in the least. There are plenty of ways to cut your auto insurance premiums – some of which may surprise you. Here are seven of them which you might not be aware of:
Ask! This is good advice for many types of personal expenses (credit cards, utility bills, etc.) because the worst that can happen is you get a “no” for an answer. But for costs like auto insurance, there may very well be an opportunity to get a premium discount — especially if you haven’t examined your policy in some time. The sad truth is that insurers are not required to inform you that you are eligible for lower premiums. So give your auto insurer (not your agent, if you can help it – agents get commissions on what you pay) a call and ask if you can get your premiums reduced.
Pay up front. If you have the financial flexibility to pay 12 months’ worth of auto insurance up front, consider doing so. Many companies offer discounts if you don’t pay monthly premiums.
Quit smoking. Believe it or not, auto insurance companies charge more to smoking drivers. Eliminate that habit and your premiums go down.
Drive fewer miles. This may not be as impossible as you think. Insurance rates drop for people who drive less than about 7,500 miles per year (check with your insurer for a specific figure). So if you currently drive 9,000 miles annually but decide to carpool or take public transportation once or twice a week, you can drop your yearly mileage under that threshold and pay less as a result.
Swap cars with your spouse. Similarly, if you drive a lot but your spouse doesn’t, then switch vehicles periodically so that the annual mileage on your car falls below the designated level at which your premiums go up.
Change your vehicle — slightly. Obviously, this works best when you are planning on purchasing a different car or truck. But doing your homework can save you a few dollars on auto insurance. Some vehicles carry higher policy premiums because they are stolen more often. For example, since the Nissan Sentra is a favorite among auto thieves, opting for a comparable model like the Kia Forte might save you money on auto insurance. When shopping for used cars, even picking a 1996 Honda Civic over the ’95 model may be more cost-effective in that regard.
Altering your occupation. We’re not talking about getting a different job. But people in some occupations pay less for auto insurance than those in others — and you might be able to take advantage of it simply by tweaking your job description. For instance, if you work as a low-level laboratory tester but you utilize the scientific method to perform your duties, then you probably qualify as a “scientist” — and scientists tend to pay less for auto insurance (ostensibly because they are more detail-oriented and meticulous). Check out this list to see if you can take advantage of this quirk.