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Smart Ways to Reduce Your Car Insurance Premium

Yes, it's possible to reduce your car insurance premium—regardless of whether you're a teenager, really broke, or just a bit unlucky on the road.

By Buddy BrownPublished 5 years ago 7 min read
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The United States is a place that has plenty of beautiful open roads to enjoy—but in most states, you have to have car insurance in order to drive. This is a good thing. In the event of an accident, your vehicle insurance is what will make sure that medical bills get paid, that cars get fixed, and more.

For many people, car insurance is one of the only reasons they are not bankrupt after one major crash. Moreover, almost every single state in the Union requires car insurance for drivers. (Virginia and New Hampshire are the only ones that don't.)

Buying car insurance, though, isn't fun. It's typically hair-pulling, nerve-wracking conversations, and research. It can be pretty pricey, too. Depending on the state you live in, car insurance premiums can be as high as $100 per month or more.

Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to reduce your car insurance payments. Here are some of the most surprising ways you can drop your monthly bills by a serious percentage.

The vast majority of car insurance companies offer serious discounts for people who have a good credit score. A score of 670 to 700 will typically slice off a couple of bucks a month, even if you tend to be a somewhat speedy driver.

If you're not sure how to maintain a good credit score or fix the one you have, using an app like Credit Karma can help. This app gives you the scoop on your credit score, offers suggestions on how you can improve it, and also allows you to dispute false records on your account.

Shop around for insurance, but think twice before you get a high-deductible plan.

Different insurance companies will have different insurance premiums, and it's shocking how much it can vary. One will be much more expensive than the other, and you might find some that just provide a lot more perks for the price you're paying.

Though a lot of articles will tell you that you can reduce your car insurance premium by increasing your deductible, that's not necessarily a good move. If you do choose this route, you'll be expected to pay way more cash up front while you handle a car accident and its fallout.

Seriously. Avoid super-high deductibles if you can. Getting too little insurance is one of the most common mistakes to avoid when buying car insurance. Ideally, you should look for a $500 to $1,000 deductible.

Consider buying in bulk and being a longtime customer.

Insurance companies love getting more business from the same person. If you have an insurance carrier that also takes care of your home insurance or renter's insurance, consider bundling your car insurance with them if they offer a discount.

A number of major insurers, including GEICO and Allstate, are known for offering very generous bulk-buying discounts as high as 10 to 15 percent. Some also offer discounts for people who have been with the insurance company for at least two years.

Needless to say, a little customer loyalty can seriously help reduce your car insurance premium. All you have to do in order to get those discounts is ask.

Find out if you have any discounts available to you through other associations.

The other associations and companies that you buy from could make a huge difference in the amount you pay for your car insurance. Ask your insurance provider if they accept the following discounts.

  • Union Discounts. Belong to a teachers' union? A nursing union? Many professional unions and associations have struck deals with insurers. You might be able to get a good discount.
  • Military Discounts. It's very rare to find a company that won't offer a military discount to both former and present military members. It's one of the many perks of joining the Armed Forces, so feel free to ask for it.
  • Federal Employee Discounts. If you work a government job, you're helping America stay functional—and you're probably not getting paid as well as you should be. One of the ways to reduce your car insurance premium is to ask for the Federal Employee discount.
  • Credit Union Discount. It's not unusual for credit unions to get discounts with major insurance providers as a perk to their members. Might as well give it a shot.
  • Student and Alumni Discounts. Good grades might get you a nice discount. So could being an alumnus of a top college.

Shop for insurance before you buy the car.

Everyone knows that the type of car you drive will affect how much you pay in premiums every month. This makes sense, even when it comes down to the brand you want to insure. After all, it'd take way more to fix a Maserati than it would to fix a Honda Civic.

One of the simplest ways to reduce your car insurance premium is to make an effort to buy a car that is insurance-friendly. Typically, car insurance companies will offer a quote on a car while you're shopping around. So, if you're not sure whether a car will have a good insurance rate, call them up to find out.

A good tip to follow? Look at the most reliable car brands while shopping. They tend to have the best insurance rates because they're less likely to break down and cause accidents. Also, avoid buying cars that are most likely to get pulled over, as these cars will get you a ticket, and tickets can and do affect insurance rates.

Consider using a safe driving tracker for a discount.

Some car insurance companies have specialized trackers that take note of your driving habits as a way to help them determine whether or not you are a reliable driver. In many cases, they will ask you to use the tracker in exchange for a discount on your car insurance premium.

How much you can reduce your car insurance premiums by using a tracker will depend on a number of factors, including how much you drive. Though it might make it harder to charge your phone while driving, it could pay off majorly in some circumstances.

If your car insurance company doesn't use trackers, ask for a low mileage discount. Most, if given proof, will be happy to provide it.

Don't drive drunk, speed, or get reckless behind the wheel.

If you want to reduce your car insurance premium, the best way to do it is to be a safe driver. Your track record with law enforcement, particularly when it comes to dangerous driving, will have a pretty big impact on how much you pay from month to month.

The absolute worst thing that you can do when it comes to car insurance premiums is drive drunk. A single conviction of a DUI will raise your annual insurance by thousands—and rightfully so. Drunk driving can kill a person, and that should make an insurer think twice about working with you.

Consider getting rid of extra insurance on an older car.

We've all been at that point in life where we had to drive a beat-up jalopy to work. Older cars, unless they are historic in nature, aren't exactly going to stick around for too much longer. If you're looking to replace your car in the next couple of months or years, it might make sense to just cancel extra insurance.

If you wouldn't want to fix it and would rather scrap it, it makes sense to go with the bare minimum.

Take a state-approved defensive driver course.

Defensive driving is an important skill to have when you're on the road, and has been statistically proven to help reduce accidents. Every single state has a defensive driving course that you can take.

A typical course will cost around $100 to $200, will take around three days to complete, and can carry a discount of as much as 15 percent off your premiums.

Younger individuals will notice a heftier discount than older drivers will. If you're under 25, this is one of the best ways to reduce your car insurance premiums.

Finally, ask about car safety discounts.

Driving a safe car is not just a good way to save your life in the event of an accident (who would want to drive any of the most dangerous cars ever made anyway?); it can help you reduce your car insurance premiums as well. Car features like airbags, anti-lock brake systems, anti-theft devices, and backup video sensors can all lead to discounts if you ask about them. You never know until you try, so why not give it a shot?

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About the Creator

Buddy Brown

Detroit-born Buddy Brown is a 80s hair metal fan who loves cars, games, and sports. When he’s not drinking PBR while listening to Downtown Brown, he’s playing Grand Theft Auto or working on his El Camino.

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