Save Cash By Switching Auto Insurance Companies and Other Tips

Car insurance is one of those things everyone hates until they need it. Getting into a car accident, even if you are not at fault, without insurance can lead to all types of nightmares, including hefty fines and lawsuits. That said, as important as car insurance is, you also don't want to be signing away a big chunk of your paycheck just to pay for car insurance coverage. The trick is to balance the two: To get comprehensive car insurance that will protect you in the event of an accident and to get it at affordable rates. The following is a look at some of the smartest tips we know to keep your rates low:

How to Save On Your Auto Insurance Rates

First Off: Always Shop Around and Switch it Up 

It is always a good idea to shop around as you get closer to the end of your existing insurance term. Insurance companies love customers who prefer to keep things easy and not question why their rates rise every new policy period. Don't be that customer! The same level of coverage you have with one insurance company could be hundreds of dollars cheaper with another. Why? Much of the rest of our advice is going to show why and how switching your automotive insurance company can save you money. 

Different Insurers Have Different Discounts to Take Advantage Of

Every insurance company is looking to attract more customers every day. They get your attention with marketing and they sweeten their offers with special discounts and promises. By taking the time to shop around every new insurance period, you can take advantage of different discounts and continually enjoy lower insurance rates while simultaneously enjoying coverage you can trust. Just check out the type of discounts offered by the four largest insurance companies:

  • Allstate. You probably have seen the recent Allstate commercials promoting their new Drivewise and Milewise discount programs. These programs uniquely award drivers with discounts of up to 30% for simply practicing safe driving techniques. But this isn't the only discount they offer! Allstate also allows customers to build up their discounts by offering other things like a 5% discount on automatic payments. 
  • Geico. Geico has a good reputation for giving discounts based on customer affiliations. For example, military members are often eligible for up to a 15% rate discount while federal government employees may receive up to an 8% discount.
  • State Farm. State Farm offers their own usage-based program that offers discounts to customers based on their tracked driving behavior. Additionally, State Farm offers special discounts for safe drivers who keep their mileage low and for those who enroll in special programs.
  • Progressive. Simply starting an application online can earn you a discount with Progressive. Progressive also offers discounts for homeowners and has their own usage-based program. 

Note that while drivers can save a ton of money through usage-based and tracking programs, it is important to be extra cautious while driving with these programs activated. That's because just as they monitor safe driving behavior, they also monitor risky driving behavior and an insurance company may raise a customer's rates if they are logged as frequently speeding just as they would for a customer who received frequent speeding tickets. 

Improve Your Credit

While some people may dismiss this as a risk, the truth is an insurance adjuster will frequently look at your credit score when determining your insurance rates (with the exception being if you live in California, Hawaii, or Massachusetts where new laws prevent insurance companies from doing this). The reason they do this is because a number of studies, including one done by the Federal Trade Commission, have shown that credit-based insurance scores are effective predictors of risky drivers.

Some insurers will be open about using this as an insurance rate factor while others will not. In either case, all drivers should look at improving their credit score in order to enjoy lower insurance rates in the future. A few key steps for doing this include:

  • Making timely payments on all loan and credit cards
  • Keeping credit card balances well below their limits
  • Keep old accounts open and limit future applications for new accounts

Furthermore, while it may seem counter intuitive, you do need to apply for credit in order to have a credit score. A person who never borrows money may be seen as at risk as someone who borrows too frequently. The key here is balance and to only borrow what you can pay off and to do so with timely payments that prevent you from incurring too much interest amounts. Not even sure what you might need credit for? Check out this article about how a personal loan can be a fun and smart choice

Don't Be Shy! Ask Your Insurance Company for Updated Rates

Now that you know the importance of shopping around, are you ready? Don't let your insurance company keep raising your rates! Ask them for new discounts and if they don't provide, it's time to go elsewhere!