The dawning of a new year prompts many people to take a fresh look at their annual budget, and what they’ll find is that auto insurance costs are substantial. Even after that revelation many people just grin and bear it, but a larger number of people are now spending more time searching for better insurance rates — with good results. One very useful tool is the Internet, which makes discovering better rates much easier.
Yet even with a computer at their fingertips, most people don’t spend half as much time researching auto insurance companies as they do researching the cars they will purchase. This means a lot of us are paying far too much for our auto insurance.
“People tend to stay with the same company for years without researching what other deals are out there,” said Ken Hanson of Insurance Quotes. “Sometimes changing a company every couple of years could result in better savings. If you’re sick of paying too much for your current insurance company, why not spend an hour or so finding something better?”
If you spend that time it might pay big dividends. You might find that you can save hundreds of dollars per year with no reduction in coverage or service. The people at InsuranceQuotes offer the following advice to save money on your auto insurance going into the new year:
1. Revisit your driving record.
You should make sure your driving record is clean and up to date. Become familiar with what’s on your record and be able to explain certain situations if need be. An ounce of explanation might save you a pound of money.
2. Get discounts.
Some occupations (hearse driver, for example) are low-risk and some professional organizations might qualify you for discounts. If you have a family, look at the availability of combined coverage for multiple drivers in the household. Auto clubs such as AAA and other affinity groups and organizations can help get you discounts as well. You should check with each insurance company to see what it offers for belonging to groups and organizations.
3. Know your options.
The Internet is a great way to research different companies to compare rates and see your options easily and quickly. Remember annual and monthly rates will vary, and as you are doing your comparisons make sure to keep coverage limits the same so that you can make the proper judgments.
4. Count complaints.
As you narrow your choices, you should check each insurance company’s consumer complaint ratio by logging onto your state’s department of insurance Web site. This information is public information, and it can be invaluable in making a decision of an insurance carrier.
5. Choose wisely.
Choosing a higher deductible is another great way to save money in the long run. A high deductible means that additional money will come from your pocket with each claim, but it often is more than worth it based on the savings you will realize in the annual rate. You’ll pay all the minor bumps and dings, but the insurance company will cover the big stuff that could have a more catastrophic effect on your finances.
6. Weigh your wheels … and your wallet.
Lastly, think about the car you drive. More expensive high-performance cars generally command the highest premiums, so decide if you need the supposed prestige such a car will bring you. Owning a lower-profile car will keep money in your bank account, and that’s the kind of high performance many of us seek these days.
Based in Cleveland, Driving Today Contributing Editor Luigi Fraschini writes frequently about auto- and finance-related issues.
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