With car sales prices continuously increasing, recent hikes in gas prices, and ever present sales and state taxes on our cars it has become vitally important to find ways to save money and keep costs down. One way to save money is to monitor your auto insurance and make sure you are getting the best deal possible. This may sound trivial, but can easily add up to savings of hundreds and possibly even thousands of dollars over the next few years. First make sure you are taking advantage of all discounts available to you through your insurance provider.
Many insurance companies have good driver history discounts. If you haven't been in an accident or made a claim in several years make sure your agent adds this deduction - typical savings are 5-15% (easily $100-$400+ in savings per year). For an additional discount some insurance companies like Progressive and Geico offer discounts for sponsored driving classes. Make sure you check with your insurance company to see which ones it accepts. Many of these classes are free or offered at minimal cost by your local DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) or DOT (Department of Transportation).
For a listing, contact your insurance company and then your state departments (DMV and DOT). These classes also work great for reducing points on your license from minor infractions (speeding, running a red light, etc.). Definitely get as many points taken off as possible.
These points can increase your insurance rates 50-100% or more in some cases. Some insurance companies like Geico, Allstate, and Progressive have recently come out with good student discounts. The requirements can vary so be sure to check with your insurance company. This could amount to an additional savings of 5-10% on your annual premium. Keep in mind traffic offenses can and will nullify this and most other discounts, so drive safely.
Shop around for the best rate. I can't stress this enough. Every few years just check and see what other insurers are offering. You could see huge savings here and it may have nothing to do with your driving record. Some insurers just have lower claims for a particular model car and therefore will have a lower rate for that car.
Just to see the difference call several insurance companies for quotes. You will see a huge range. When I had a 2000 Ford Mustang GT convertible I was paying over $4000 per year in insurance with Allstate then I checked and found Progressive offered the same coverage for only $1400 (a 75% difference in my premium). Now, that's not to say that Allstate is a bad insurer, they just have higher claim costs associated with that vehicle and a driver of my age. So, make sure you shop around and definitely check the online insurers like Progressive and Geico as they tend to have lower premiums.
Also see what impact raising your deductible will have on lowering your premium. These items might also seem trivial, but will save you money. Pick a car with lower theft rates and lower premiums. A 4 door 4 cylinder car (Toyota Corolla) will almost always have a much lower premium than the latest 8 cylinder 2 seater sports car (Mustang GT (2+ 2 seating)). It will also get you better gas mileage which in a year could amount to a savings of hundreds of dollars in it self.
Stay away from convertibles as they always have higher insurance premiums. Drop unnecessary coverage like collision on an older car. Also stay away from cars with high theft rates (Honda Civics and Accords tend to have some of the highest theft rates and unfortunately you will pay for that with higher premiums and don't think you won't.
) One more thing, don't speed, don't drive drunk (I don't need to tell you what that will cost you (it could even cost you your life), stop for all school buses, wear your seat belt and obey the rules of the road. You will be glad you did.
David Maillie is an alumni of Cornell University and specializes in automotive safety products and information. He holds numerous patents and awards for his patented headlight cleaner and restorer. For more information please visit MDWholesale.com