Have you ever noticed how ubiquitous Top 10 Lists have become in our culture? How, in our secular, post-industrial times, surrounded as we often are by fast-food options and electronic media of various descriptions, heartfelt advice from, say, grandpa down on the farm or a favourite aunt who has come to teach you how to bake just isn’t available anymore? Instead, we city-dwelling go-getters often rely on Top Ten Lists to help us make our decisions on where to go, what to eat, how to live, and when to leave your lover. I’m not saying this is a bad thing; oftentimes the advice is pretty good, saving us time and treasure. So, in that spirit, here comes another Top Ten List, this time about how to save money on car insurance.
Tip #1: Ask for a discount
This one is a simple way to save money on car insurance, but you’d be amazed by how many people wind up paying more than they otherwise would have simply because they were too passive to speak up and ask for a discount, assuming that the insurance company would automatically give them all available discounts. They won’t. Not unless you speak up and demand it.
Tip #2: Safe driver
Your caution is worth money. If you have no moving violations or accidents, then you have leverage for extra discounts. Use them. Remember, you’re the kind of customer your insurance company WANTS to keep. Make it pay for you by slicing a percentage off your rate.
Tip #3: Driver Training
Check if your province mandates that car insurance companies reduce premiums for drivers who take driver training courses. If so, then a course quickly pays for itself and then some.
Tip #4: Multiple Safety Features
Safety devices such as airbags, automatic seat belts, anti-lock brakes and car alarms not only make you and your vehicle more secure, but also lower your rates. It may be cost effective to trade in an older vehicle without such devices for a newer model that will be cheaper to operate in the long run.
Tip #5: Deductible
Raise your deductible, particularly if you’re a safe, conscientious driver. The higher your deductible, the lower your premiums. Yes, you incur some risk here, liable out-of-pocket for, say, any damage below a $1,000, but remember that the money you save on those premiums remains working for you, earning interest in your bank account rather than the account of your insurance company.
Tip #6: Low-Mileage
If you can, take advantage of low-mileage discounts. Most companies will actually offer lower rates for drivers who keep their vehicles restricted to a certain number of miles per year. (This makes sense as the fewer miles on the road the fewer chances for an accident.) People who lease vehicles are excellent candidates for this option as the lease agreement often stipulates a maximum number of miles per year. Still, even if you own your own vehicle, this option is still good if you live in a city and have access to public transportation. Or even if you live in the suburbs and can organize a carpool with other drivers who wish to lower their rates and gas expenses as well. Not only will this strategy save you money, but you’ll help the environment as well.
Tip #7: Got a clunker?
Well, in that case, make sure you don’t have collision coverage. Insurance companies use their own criteria to determine fair market value in case a car is totalled. In the case of a clunker, the money you receive may be far below what you were paying in just a couple of years of premiums on the vehicle.
Tip #8: Tell Companies About Better Deals
Comparison shop AND let the insurance companies know that you’re doing it. As you discuss various options with an agent, don’t be shy about letting that agent know a better deal that another company has offered you. Auto insurance is a competitive market and, if you have a good driving record, the companies will bid against each other for your business.
Tip #9: Bundle Your Policy
If possible, considering bundling your insurance needs with one company. If you own your home, then ask whether you can get a discount for insuring both your house and your car with the company.
Tip #10: Location. Location. Location.
Where you live greatly influences the amount of money you will pay for car insurance. Remember, it is all about actuarial tables for the insurance companies and those tables clearly show costs skyrocket in densely packed urban areas due to accidents, theft and vandalism. So, if money is tight, the boring neighbourhood in the suburbs might be a better bet than that funky, gentrifying neighbourhood on the bohemian side of town.
And now, as a special salute to benefits and discounts everywhere, here is your unexpected bonus: This Top Ten List goes to eleven!
Tip #11: Emergency Road Service
Sign up for a membership in an emergency road service. Not only will a membership often earn you yet more discounts from your insurance company, but a little piece of mind in case that moose steps out of nowhere and into your oncoming headlights is nice to have. You should also keep an emergency kit in the car to keep you safe until help arrives.
Finally, not a tip, but an exhortation. All this advice on how to save money on car insurance will do you no good unless you pick up that phone and put it into practice. So come on, what are you waiting for? Your grandpa and your favourite aunt would want you to, you know.
Author Bio: Andrew is a professional writer and webmaster, with interests ranging from business to sports. He is also an avid NBA fan and an amateur photographer.