Last month we talked about five factors you might not realize impact your car insurance rates. For most of those factors, there’s nothing you can change to lower your rates.
But there are other steps you can take to lower your insurance premiums–even if you have a less-than-stellar driving record. Keep reading to find out how!
1. Rebuild Your Record
Don’t have a great driving record? Many of us don’t. But you can come back from a less-than-illustrious driving career; you just have to start rewriting your history now. Driving more defensively, slowing down, and taking an abundance of care when hitting the road isn’t exactly exciting, but give it time and it’ll make a big impact on your auto insurance rates.
2. Ask About Discounts
You might be eligible for discounts you aren’t getting. Many insurance companies offer specific discounts for a variety of drivers–but they don’t necessarily advertise them all. These are a few of the most common auto insurance discounts available:
- Safe Driver Discount: For drivers who don’t have many accidents on their record, or who haven’t filed any claims in a specified period of time
- Good Student Discount: For high school or college students with strong grades
- Military Discount: For veterans and/or active duty service members
- Paid in Full Discount: For drivers who pay their policies in full at the beginning of the year or season
These are just a few of the most common discounts; you might qualify for others. It can’t hurt to ask, whether you’re collecting quotes as you switch to a new insurer or looking for ways to lower your existing insurance rates.
3. Maintain Constant Coverage
Gaps in coverage–even if you have good reasons for them–can affect your insurance rates. Even if you’re traveling, parking a car for a while, or not driving for some other reason, maintaining a minimum of car insurance during those times can help keep your rates from going up in the future.
4. Lower Your Annual Mileage
Insurance companies often factor in miles driven each year when they price their insurance policies; the more miles you drive, the riskier you look to an insurance company.
You can mitigate that by opting to take public transportation to work, ride-sharing with coworkers, or taking a train or plane to your annual vacation spot rather than going for long road trips. Lowering your mileage is also a great way to save on fuel and to do the earth a favor, so it’s a win-win if it’s a viable option for you.
5. Adjust Your Coverage Limits
If you can afford a higher deductible/the risk of lower insurance coverage, you can opt to adjust your coverage limits a bit and lower your premiums in that way. In general, the higher your deductible, the less you’ll pay in premiums, but we say that with a caveat: be realistic about your ability to pay a deductible if an accident occurs, and be sure to maintain adequate insurance to keep you covered.
If you recently downgraded to a less expensive vehicle or don’t drive much anymore, lowering your coverage limits might be a safe choice, or even dropping your comprehensive coverage altogether; but we’d recommend choosing wisely and talking to an expert before you make that decision.