In a weakening economic environment, we are all looking for innovative ways to save money. In recent months, a large number of not only American households, but households across the developed world have had to make changes in how they spend and how they live.
One major expense that most Americans face is costs associated with transportation, which is your car. If you own a car, you need general car insurance. Are you paying too much? You probably are. Take the following checklist to your insurance company to see what kind of savings could be coming your way for your next payment.
Take an online driving skills course
If you enroll in an online defensive driving course, you can qualify for a discount of 10% or more in most states. Some states don’t recognize these courses, so before taking one, check with your insurance company about what kind of discounts they offer on a defensive driving course. For a list of driving schools in your city or state, visit Wannadrive.
Get a low-risk job
Insurers keep more statistics than you can imagine. One of these is occupational accidents. If your chosen profession has more accidents than average, your premium reflects this. Engineers typically pay lower premiums because engineers have fewer accidents than other professionals. Just doing some research and changing your job title can be enough to lower your monthly premium.
Tell them you are retired
If you are retired, you may be eligible for an additional discount. We’ve all seen the commercials. This saving is especially true for you if you have a clean driving record. If you’re retired and your insurer doesn’t know about this, you may be missing out on significant savings.
Join a professional organization or car club
Certain organizations and car clubs receive discounts at all kinds of stores, including hotels and restaurants. Membership in some of these organizations can also help you lower your insurance costs. If you’re a member of an organization or club, it never hurts to ask your provider if members of that organization get a discount.
Combine your insurance
Some insurance companies may lower your premium if you use their company for both home and auto insurance. If you currently have two different providers of home and car insurance, ask each of them what premium discount you qualify for if you combine your home and car insurance.
Automatic safety functions
Having extra safety features on your car can also lower your insurance rates. Look for vehicles with airbags for both the driver and passenger, traction control, good head restraints, anti-lock brakes and four-wheel drive are all features that improve the safety performance of your vehicle. Bring a list of safety features your vehicle has to your insurance company and ask specifically about how additional safety features will lower your premiums.
Take more risk
By increasing your deductible from, say, $400 to $800, you’ll likely end up paying more out of pocket in the event of an accident, but you’ll save a significant amount on your monthly premium. If you’re a prudent driver, the savings you get from paying a lower premium will pay for itself over the course of the year. The amount of cover you have does not change by increasing your deductible.
Be a good citizen
Simply having a good credit score, or performing well in school, can lower your premiums. Insurance companies have found a correlation between credit score, academic performance and your chance of an accident. If you have a good credit score and are performing well academically, you may qualify for a discount.
Pay in fewer installments
Insurance companies charge fees to pay in installments. The more installments, the more costs you pay. If you are fiscally responsible enough, ask your insurer about the different payment options, such as once a year, semi-annually or quarterly. Be careful when using this strategy as it is possible to lose your insurance by missing just one payment.
Ask for better service
Believe it or not, there is still a moral fabric in the business world. If you have been with the same insurer for years, ask them for a discount as a loyal customer. If they refuse, shop around. Another provider may offer better rates or give you better information about your insurance needs.
Hopefully this article has given you a little bit of insight when it comes to getting general auto insurance. Use this information and turn it into dollars and cents.