Get Low car insurance rates
If you're shopping for car insurance, you know there are certain crucial factors influencing your rate that are out of your hands. Such factors include your age, gender and record of prior claims.
Despite this, there's a lot you can do to score a lower rate, and your choices bear more power than you might think. Here are 10 tips guaranteed to help you get the best rate possible on your auto insurance.
1. Get more than one rate quote before you commit.
"Company prices are very different, and it pays to shop around. You can easily wind up paying double from one company to the next, " says J. Robert Hunter, director of insurance with the Consumer Federation of America, a national watchdog group.
Want to get a sense of who the low-priced carriers are? The National Association of Insurance Commissioners offers a map on its Web site that lists each state's regulators. Click on your state and you're taken to the state's Department of Insurance Web site. Its consumer buying guide compares insurance premiums across a range of companies. You'll also learn how many complaints each company has logged. Surprisingly, you don't have to sacrifice service quality to score a low premium. "A lot of the lower-priced companies have the best service rates, " says Hunter.
There are a host of independent Web sites, like CarInsurance.com, that allow you to comparison-shop by offering online price quotes. These sites can be incredibly useful. However, Hunter warns that these services — which earn their keep by charging carriers a commission on each sale — occasionally fail to include the insurance companies with the lowest rates, since these low-cost carriers are unwilling to pay commissions.
2. Evaluate insurance costs before you buy your vehicle.
The year, make and model of your vehicle can have a profound impact on your insurance rate. All else being equal, new, expensive or sporty cars will cost more to insure than older, cheaper and more utilitarian vehicles. But you could find a substantial discrepancy even when comparing the cost to insure similar cars. So if you've got a few models on your shortlist, contact your carrier to see what rate each vehicle commands. Doing so could ultimately net you a windfall in savings when the time comes to pay your premium.
3. Go high on deductibles.
If you're willing to give a little with your deductible, you can wind up saving big on your rates. "If you go from a $250 to a $1, 000 deductible, you can save between 25 and 40 percent on your policy, " says Hunter. You can then set aside a portion of these funds to cover your costs in the event of a claim.
4. Nix collision and/or comprehensive coverage on older cars.
If your older car has comp and collision coverage, you might find yourself paying more in insurance than the car is worth. "Take your comp and collision premium and add it up, then multiply it by 10. If your car is worth less than that, don't buy the coverage, " says Hunter. If you're worried about being left overexposed, consider this: The typical policyholder makes a claim only once every 11 years, and reports a total loss only once every 50 years.
5. Mind your credit score.
An increasing number of carriers are considering credit scores when making rate calculations. "Your credit score can be very important in determining your rate, " says Hunter. "You can wind up paying up to 50 percent more if you have a bad credit score." Keep your credit score in tip-top shape by paying bills in a timely manner and by regularly checking that there are no items on your history that do not belong to you.