With inflation on the rise and the cost of living being higher than ever — with no sign of coming down anytime soon — saving money has become a vital concern for many Americans.
While some costs are unavoidable and can’t really be cut, there are some areas where you could reduce your monthly expenditures. Auto insurance is one such area. Here are a few ways to trim a few extra dollars from your monthly insurance bill.
Choose Your Next Vehicle Carefully
In the market for a new car or looking to trade one in? Think carefully about what kind of vehicle you want to purchase. While newer, more expensive cars with lots of advanced features are great, they also cost more to insure, as do sportier models.
If you want to save some serious money on car insurance, get something durable, practical, and with a solid safety record. Consider buying used, too — older cars also cost less to insure overall.
Don’t Accept Your Renewal Increase
When it’s time for your car insurance to be renewed for the year, your rates will probably increase. In fact, it’s likely, as premiums are going up everywhere. But you don’t have to take that sitting down.
Kristine Lee at The Zebra recommends you compare car insurance quotes every six months to make sure you’re not paying too much. You can use that information to either switch insurance companies or use another company’s lower rate as a bargaining chip for your existing carrier.
Pay up Front for the Year
While it does lock you in for a certain period of time, paying by the year can save you some money in a couple of ways. First, there are interest payments that come with monthly billing that you can avoid if you pay upfront for the whole year. Second, there are some carriers who will offer you a discount for paying up front. Ask your carrier and see if they’ll take a little off your premium for committing to an entire year.
Don’t Assume One Insurer Is Always Cheaper Than Another
Not every auto insurance company is created equal, and that includes pricing. While State Farm might be a cheaper choice in Florida, it might be more expensive in California. This is especially important if you move between states and plan to keep the same insurance carrier, and another great reason to shop around and compare rates!
Don’t Ignore Smaller Insurance Companies
Big-name insurance companies often have a solid reputation and more resources to draw on, but that doesn’t mean they universally have an advantage.
Don’t be afraid to check out some of the smaller insurance companies — they might have better rates and higher quality service in the state where you live.
Drop Collision and Comprehensive Coverage on an Older Vehicle
Cars lose their value the older they get. If the market value of your car is low, run some numbers and find out if you’re paying more for your collision and comprehensive coverage than the car is worth. If you are, it may be time to drop that coverage.
Opt For Paperless Billings
Many insurance companies provide a small discount if you choose electronic billing. It helps the environment, reduces clutter, and saves you money — win-win all around.
Update Your Insurer on Significant Changes in Your Life
There are a lot of life changes that can change your insurance premiums for the better. If you get married, buy a home, switch to a work-at-home routine, move, or change professions, any of these could qualify you for a discount.
Certain professions, such as teachers, police, firemen, and healthcare workers, can earn discounts from their insurance carriers. Buying a home means you can bundle your car and home insurance together for a discount. The average insurance carrier has dozens of discounts available on average, so talk with them and see what’s out there.
Avoid Unnecessary Claims
While it may be convenient to have your insurance company pay for small claims such as windshield replacement or minor body damage, it might be better to just pay those costs out of pocket. Multiple insurance claims may start driving your premiums up, and if your insurer offers a no-claims bonus, you could lose it.
Don’t Modify Your Vehicle
While they may look good, things like custom paint jobs, alloy wheels, and performance upgrades will hike your insurance premium.
Why? Because those sorts of modifications not only increase repair and replacement costs but they also make the car a more likely target for thieves.
Unless you want to pay more for the privilege, skip the modifications — unless you’re installing new anti-theft technology or safety gear, in which case your premiums will almost certainly come down instead.