If you’re trying to reduce expenses and save money, take a second look at your car insurance. Chances are, you’re paying more than you need to for certain coverages on your insurance policy. You may also be unaware of discounts that could lower your premium.
Are you a good student or a safe driver? Auto insurance companies love that and will often reward you. Maybe you ran into some trouble and received minor traffic violations that caused your insurance to go up. That’s OK; accidents happen. There are still ways you can reduce your premium, despite your driving history.
Insuring a car doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s important to have coverage in case of an accident, but you don’t have to pay extra if you don’t need to. Follow this guide for helpful tips and tricks to get cheaper car insurance.
How to Get Cheaper Car Insurance in 8 Easy Ways
Your monthly bills are due, and your auto insurance premium is stretching your budget thin. You can find some financial relief with more affordable rates. Check out the following ways to get cheaper car insurance and save money today.
1. Activate a Safe-Driver Discount
Paying attention while you drive can save your life, and it can also save you money. A clean driving record helps to set you up with optimal premiums, as insurance providers won’t view you as a liability. However, you may pay a higher premium if you have a few marks on your driving record.
Noteworthy incidents that hurt your chances of buying cheap insurance include traffic violations, at-fault accidents, and driving under the influence (DUI). If your driving record is free of any incidents for the past three to five years, you may be eligible for a safe-driving discount.
2. Enroll in a Defensive Driving Course
Your insurer may offer a policy discount if you complete an approved defensive driving course. Depending on the regulations in your state, you may be eligible to take an accredited training course in person. These courses vary in length and typically cost less than $100. Consider the National Safety Council’s online defensive driving course if you need a convenient at-home option.
This money-saving strategy is ideal for young drivers under 25 as they are commonly eligible for this course and discount. People over 60 are also eligible because they have a higher risk of car accidents. Double-check available discounts with your auto insurance company before paying for the course.
3. Reduce Your Annual Mileage
If your insurance provider factors mileage into your premium price, consider lowering the number of miles you drive each year. Confirm the mileage thresholds your insurer has in place to know how much you need to reduce your driving.
Consider commuting by public transit, such as a bus or trolley, or by bicycle. Biking to work is a win-win scenario; you increase your physical health and your monthly savings. You can activate an auto insurance discount by reducing the miles you drive daily or weekly.
4. Install Anti-Theft Devices in Your Car
Your carrier may offer you a car insurance discount for an anti-theft device. If your car does not have any, you may consider installing one. Check with your agent to see which measures can help you get a lower car insurance rate. Examples of anti-theft devices include:
- A hidden kill switch that deters thieves from stealing your car by cutting off the vehicle’s electricity.
- An audible car alarm that alerts everyone in the area and attracts attention to your vehicle.
- A brake lock that immobilizes your car’s brakes, making it difficult for thieves to drive your vehicle.
- A remote lock you can activate through a mobile app on your smartphone.
- A lock that clamps onto your car’s steering wheel, preventing thieves from driving your vehicle.
5. Get Rid of Unnecessary Insurance Coverage
Adjusting your insurance coverage level is an easy way to make it cheaper. If you don’t need roadside assistance or car rental coverage, you could avoid paying extra by removing them. Consider switching from a full-coverage auto insurance policy to a personalized protection plan that fits your needs.
Let’s say you have an older car that you don’t mind replacing but are waiting for it to give out. Based on its condition, you won’t need collision insurance to cover the costs of restoring it. You could lower your premium by removing this coverage and replacing the car yourself.
While removing unnecessary coverage can reduce your premium costs, accidents are unpredictable and costly. Review your auto policy with your insurance agent to ensure you have adequate coverage in case of an accident. Your agent can also help you determine which plans to keep or remove.
6. Switch to a Pay-Per-Mile Insurance Plan
Are you contemplating switching insurance providers and open to something different? You should try a usage-based insurance program, or black box insurance. This program involves using technology to track and record the number of miles you drive. The pay-as-you-drive policy only bills you for the miles you drive instead of an estimated amount.
Black box insurance may be available through a device you install in your car. You can also download it through an app on your smartphone. This insurance type may be a good way to get cheaper car insurance if you have low annual mileage.
7. Improve Your Credit Score
Be disciplined when paying off your credit card debt and insurance premiums. Don’t risk hurting your credit score by missing your monthly payment. Paying your car insurance on time can help build your credit , increasing your chances of getting a better deal in the future.
As a rule, having a good credit rating is beneficial. Learn how to access your free credit report to monitor your credit health. Knowing your score can help direct you in making responsible financial decisions. Additionally, you can catch any errors on your credit report and resolve them before they impact your score.
8. Downsize Your Daily Driver
If you fall on hard times, downsizing your vehicle might be a good idea. Driving a luxury SUV or a car that has low fuel efficiency could hurt you financially. It’s also more expensive to insure a luxury car versus something more practical, such as a minivan. Try living within your means until you build up your financial strength to an optimal level.
Consider buying a used car. An older car is often cheaper to insure, making it a solid temporary solution for you. Consult with your insurance company to ensure you’ll still get quality coverage for now.
Contact Your Car Insurance Provider
Speaking with your insurance agent is a good starting point for getting cheaper car insurance. Ask them about any discounts they might offer. There’s a chance you missed out on getting a good deal when you originally signed up.
For example, if you’re on active duty or a veteran, your provider may offer cheaper insurance for military members. Another money-saving strategy you could try is increasing the price of your deductible. The lower your car insurance deductible, the more you will pay for your premium. On the other hand, if you have a higher deductible, your premium will cost less.
Some of the most popular car insurance companies like to reward members for their loyalty. Your agent might suggest that you bundle insurance policies, such as auto and home insurance. Alternatively, you could activate a multi-car discount if your family has another car besides your main vehicle.
Shop Around for Cheaper Car Insurance Rates
Is your current insurance policy too expensive and up for renewal? Your insurer may no longer be a good match, so it’s time to comparison shop to find the lowest rates. You can get free car insurance quotes and discover the cheapest companies through comparison shopping.
Cheap insurance doesn’t guarantee good quality. When you file a claim, the insurance company should have the financial strength to pay for it. Be mindful of the company’s creditworthiness when you search for the cheapest car insurance quote.
Which Factors Raise Your Insurance Premium?
There are several ways to get cheaper car insurance, but do you know what can make it more expensive? Drivers with numerous traffic violations or car accidents on their driving record have lower chances of getting cheap insurance. If your driving record isn’t good, insurance companies may see you as a high-risk customer. They can upcharge you because you’re a liability to insure.
The state where you reside may have binding laws about minimum insurance coverage requirements. If that’s the case, you must have these coverages as part of your insurance policy. If you don’t, you risk facing fines, receiving a driver’s license suspension, or getting your car impounded.
Keep an eye on these factors to avoid raising your insurance premium unintentionally. Take a defensive driving course to reduce points on your driver’s license. Check your car insurance policy to see if your insurer offers an accident forgiveness program. They may be willing to work with you to prevent your rate from increasing. Affordable insurance is possible; you just have to change your driving habits.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you still have questions about car insurance? Review the following questions and responses to understand how it works:
Which Details Are Needed to Get an Insurance Quote?
Getting a new auto policy quote is easy, especially if you have all the necessary information. A car insurance company will need your personal information and driving history. They will also require information about the vehicle, including the vehicle identification number (VIN), mileage, purchase date, and the address where you plan to store the car. Keep this information handy to save money and time while you shop for cheaper car insurance.
Why Is Car Insurance So Expensive?
Car insurance companies base the price of your premium on your specific situation. If you have a bad credit score or driving history, these companies may view you as a liability and charge you more. Additionally, you may have a high premium if your car is expensive to insure.
Sometimes they base the cost of car insurance on the state where you reside. For example, Delaware, New Louisiana, and Florida have the most expensive car insurance. Maine, Idaho, and Ohio have some of the lowest average car insurance rates. Living in one of these locations could help you secure a lower premium.
Even the cheapest car insurance can be pricey if your coverage’ for damages or accidents is insufficient. That’s why it’s important to shop around for the policy that offers the best value and suits your needs.
How Do First-Time Drivers Get Cheap Car Insurance?
Finding good insurance when you’re a first-time driver can be intimidating because insurance companies view you as high risk. You may feel discouraged about finding the cheapest car insurance, especially if you’re a young driver. Luckily, there is hopeful news if you have good grades, as some insurance companies offer a good student discount. They reward you with less expensive car insurance for staying enrolled in school and maintaining good grades.
Alternatively, you could aim for custom coverage options, such as black box insurance. Instead of paying a high premium for comprehensive coverage, opt for pay-as-you-drive insurance. This choice may be the most convenient and affordable if you only use your car to travel to school or work a few times a week.
Secure long-term savings with affordable car insurance that fits your driving needs. Safe-driver, good-student, or multi-policy discounts are worth looking into to get the cheapest rate. These are not one-size-fits-all strategies, but they can at least help you reduce insurance costs.
Steve Glass is a retired insurance professional with over 34 years of experience in the Property & Casualty insurance industry. Over the course of his career he led teams that handled Homeowners and Commercial property and casualty claims, Auto Medical claims, Auto Bodily Injury Claims, Catastrophe claims and Insurance Subrogation recovery efforts. He also has experience as an Insurance Subrogation Arbitrator.