It’s no secret that owning a vehicle isn’t cheap. Even if you buy your vehicle outright without any loan payments, the cost of gas and general maintenance can be quite high. Then, of course, you have to factor in car insurance, which is when many pragmatic consumers think about trading in their BMW for an economy car.
However, smart consumers know there are methods to lower car insurance premiums without resorting to drastic measures. While car insurance companies don’t typically hand out coupons for car insurance discounts, there are several ways you can save money on it. You just need to know where to look and think like a couponer.
“Saving money on auto insurance in today’s tight economy is extremely important for many families,” said Robert Houlihan, Mercury vice president and chief product officer. “We believe auto insurance should be affordable, and although we don’t pass out coupons, Mercury’s auto rates are the next best thing.”
Here are just a few ideas to help you in your quest to find elusive car insurance savings.
Start With Your Local Insurance Agent
Give your current insurance agent a call if you think you’re paying too much for car insurance. Most agents will be more than happy to take a few moments to help you figure out how to possibly lower your premiums. One tip is to be sure your information is up to date. For example, if you’ve recently gotten married or had a bump in your credit score¹, you could end up paying less.
Shopping around is a must if you’re looking to lower your car insurance. Even if you’re otherwise happy with your current company, contact at least a handful of competitors or speak to an independent insurance agent to get quotes. You may find you can get a much lower rate if you switch car insurance companies.
The Internet is a wonderful tool that lets you shop around from the comfort of your home. Nearly every insurance company provides consumers with the ability to get a quote online. And for those that don’t, let’s face it, do you really want to choose a company that isn’t advanced enough to do an online quote? If they can’t provide this basic functionality then how can they take care of you?
Be a Good Driver
Drive safely. This is a pretty basic tip for keeping your car insurance rates low, and it never hurts to be reminded about it. The worse your driving record is, the more you’ll have to pay for car insurance. That means no speeding, no reckless driving, no texting while driving and absolutely no drinking and driving. Even minor traffic infractions can drive up your car insurance rates; and a major infraction - like a DUI - can make it downright unaffordable.
Ask if Your Profession or Employer Qualifies for a Discount
One of the benefits many auto insurance shoppers often overlook are discounts provided to members of professional organizations. For example, in California Mercury Insurance offers discounts to members of CalCPA, California Medical Association and others. Teachers, scientists and other trade professionals may also qualify for car insurance discounts as well.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Discounts
Not all car insurance companies may announce discounts, so you might have to ask. When you contact your current insurance company or prospective insurance companies, make sure you ask about possible discounts for which you may qualify. Many insurance companies offer multi-car policy discounts, accident free savings, and even discounts when you choose paperless billing, set up automated payments, keep your mileage low or drive an environmentally friendly car. One of the biggest discounts you can get, however, comes when you combine your auto and homeowners insurance with the same company. For example, Mercury gives a discount up to 15% when you purchase both policies together.
Common Sense With Money is a frugal living website dedicated to helping the average consumer save money at grocery stores, online retailers, and more. The CSWM deal hunters work hard to highlight coupons, deals, and tips to help consumers live well for less and get more bang for their buck!
¹ Credit scores are used in many states to help determine premiums. The better your credit score, the lower your premium.