Tips and Ideas for Cutting Car Insurance Costs (2024)

Car insurance protects you financially when you drive. It's important to ensure that you're getting the best deal possible for your policy, whether you just have basic liability insurance or you have full auto coverage. Here are 15 strategies for saving on car insurance costs.

Key Takeaways

  • One way to lower your car insurance is through a discount bulk rate for insuring several vehicles and drivers on the same policy.
  • Lower car insurance rates may also be available if you have other insurance policies with the same company.
  • Maintaining a safe driving record is key to getting lower car insurance rates.

Tips and Ideas for Cutting Car Insurance Costs (1)

How Much Does Car Insurance Cost?

Car insurance costs are different for every driver depending on the state in which they live, the options for insurance companies, and the type of coverage they carry. A typical driver spent $1,176 on car insurance in 2020 based on the most current figures provided by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). NAIC data indicates that premiums decreased by 2.4% between 2019 and 2020.

Data from AAA put the average cost of car insurance for new vehicles slightly higher, at $1,202 annually when compared to 2020. The numbers are fairly close together, suggesting that you may have to include $100 or so per month for auto insurance as you budget for a new car purchase.

Note

Some things that affect car insurance rates, such as your driving history, are within your control, but costs can also be affected by state regulations and state accident rates.

How to Save on Car Insurance

You can use a number of strategies to save on car insurance premiums.

1. Take Advantage of Multi-car Discounts

You might end up paying more per vehicle to insure a single vehicle rather than insuring several vehicles with the same company. Insurance companies often offer what amounts to a bulk rate because they want your business.

Multiple drivers must generally live at the same residence and be related by blood or by marriage. Two unrelated people may also be able to obtain a discount, but they must usually own the vehicle jointly.

You can expect to pay more to insure them if one of your drivers is a teen, but you may get a good student discount if their grades are a B average or higher, or if they rank in the top 20% of their class. These discounts generally last until your child reaches age 25. They can range from as little as 1% to as much as 39%, so be sure to show proof to your insurance agent if your teen is a good student.

Some companies may also provide an auto insurance discount if you maintain other policies with them, such as homeowners insurance. Allstate offers up to 25% off when you bundle your homeowners and auto insurance together.

2. Pay Attention on the Road

Be a safe driver. The more mindful you are, the more accidents or moving violations you’ll be able to avoid and these are events that raise your insurance rates. Travelers insurance, for example, offers safe driver discounts that can vary depending on your driving record.

Points are typically assessed to a driver for moving violations, and more points can lead to higher insurance premiums.

3. Take a Defensive Driving Course

Insurance companies sometimes provide discounts to drivers whocomplete an approved defensive driving course. Drivers may also be able toreduce the number of points they have on their licenses by taking adefensive driving or accident prevention course.

It’s important that the effort being expended and the cost of the course translate into enough insurance savings, so make sure to ask your agent/insurance company about this discount before you sign up for a class. It’s also important that you sign up for an accredited course. Every state has its own rules about accreditation. GEICO allows you to check what they are by state on its website.

4. Shop Around for Better Car Insurance Rates

Consider shopping around and comparing quotes from several companies if your policy is about to renewand the annual premium has gone up markedly. It makes sense to obtain quotes from other companies every year or two regardless, just in case there's a lower rate out there.

But cheap doesn’t always mean good. The insurer’s creditworthiness should also be considered. What good is a policy if the company doesn’t have the financial strength to pay its insurance claims? Consider checking out a site that rates the financial strength of insurance companies.

The financial strength of your company is important, but what your contract covers is also important, so make sure you understand it. Insure.com’s site bases its insurance company ratings on data assembled by Standard and Poor’s.

The fewer miles you drive your car per year, the lower your insurance rate is generally likely to be. Always ask about a company’s mileage thresholds.

5. Use Mass Transit

A company will generally have you complete a questionnaire when you sign up for auto insurance. The number of miles you drive the insured automobile per year is one of the questions you can expect to be asked.

You'll generally pay higher premiums if you use your vehicle to commute three hours to work every day than if you drive only one mile a day, so consider using mass transit to rack up fewer miles. But keep in mind that you'll probably have to decrease your mileage significantly before receiving a discount. Ask your insurance company about their different mileage thresholds so your efforts aren't wasted.

6. Downsize Your Vehicle

A huge SUV might sound like a fun ride, but insuring a 5,000-pound, top-of-the-line vehicle can be more expensive than insuring a small but safe lower-cost commuter car. Some insurers offer discounts if you buy a hybrid or an alternative fuel vehicle. Farmers Insurance offers a 5% discount for these types of vehicles.

7. Increase Your Deductibles

You can typically choose how much of a deductible you want to pay when you select car insurance. This is the amount of money you'll have to payout of pocket before insurance picks up the tab for the balance in case of an accident or other type of claim. Depending on the policy, deductibles typically range from $250 to $1,000. The catch is that the lower the deductible, the higher the annual premium usually is. Conversely, the higher the deductible, the lower the premium.

Ask your agenthow your premium might be affected if you increase your deductible. It might reduce your annual premium better by several percentage points orthe savings might be minimal.

Raising the deductible might be a sensible move if you're reluctant to file smaller claims to avoid the risk of pushing up your premium.

8. Improve Your Credit Rating

Your driving record is a big factor in determining auto insurance costs because someone who has been in a lot of accidents could cost an insurance company a good deal of money. Some insurance companies also consider credit ratings when they're determining insurance premiums. Michael Barry, chief communications officer and head of media relations of the Insurance Information Institute, puts it this way:

“Many insurers use credit-based insurance scores. It’s a contentious issue in certain statehouses...[but] insurers will say their studies show that if you’re responsible in your personal life, you’re less likely to file claims.”

Tip

Your credit card company or bank may offer free credit score access. You can also check your credit reports for free at AnnualCreditReport.com

9. Consider Location

It’s unlikely that you'll move to a different statesimply because it has lower car insurance rates. But the potential change in your car insurance rate is something you'll want to factor into your budget if you're planning a move.

10. Review Your Coverage

Dropping certain types of coverage can be a slippery slope because you can't predict if or when an accident will occur. But it may make sense to drop collision or comprehensivecoverage if you're driving an older automobile that's on its last legs,

The insurance company would likely total the car if the vehicle was involved in an accident, in this case. It may not make sense to buy collision coverage if the car is only worth $1,000 and the coverage will cost you $500 per year.

11. Install Anti-theft Devices

You might be able to reduce your premiums if you install anti-theft devices. GEICO offers “potential savings” of 23% if you have an anti-theft system in your car. Yourinsurance company should be able to tell you specifically which devices can reduce your premiums. Car alarms and LoJacks are two types of devices that you might want to inquire about. Consider whether the cost of adding the device will result in significant enough savings to be worth the trouble and expense.

12. Speak to Your Agent

There may be other cost savings available in addition to those mentioned here. It often makes sense to ask if there are any special discounts a company offers, such as for military personnel or employees of a certain company. You never know what sort of discount pricing might be available for your circumstances.

13. Switch to Pay-As-You-Go Insurance

Black box insurance is a usage-based program that may be available if you're a safe, low-mileage driver. Allstate’s Drivewise is one such program. You receive a discount just for signing up, then every six months for safe driving.

You must let your insurer track your driving through a telemetric device installed in your car so it can gauge how much you drive, when you drive, and how well you drive. You might be able to save money with this type of program if you drive fewer than 10,000 miles a year.

14. Research Additional Discounts

You might also want to check for discounts such as offers to let you pay the entire annual or six-month premium at once. Agreements to receive e-bills and documentation can save you some money, as can memberships in particular organizations or groups that offer discounts.

But don’t be swayed by a long list of possible discounts. Compare both the discount and regular prices from multiple insurers.

15. Ditch Coverage You Might Not Need

You might not need all the bells and whistles available in a policy, such as roadside assistance and car rental coverage. Go over your insurance policy line by line and ask about removing anything you might not need.

Tip

Check with your credit card company to see if it offers roadside assistance benefits to cardholders. This might allow you to drop this feature from your auto insurance policy.

What Car Insurance Company Has a Reputation for the Lowest Rates?

CNBC reported in April 2023 that Geico offered the most affordable policies with annual premiums averaging from $373 for minimum coverage to $1,353 for maximum coverage.

What Are My Options for Coverage?

You can choose multiple types of coverage but not all of them are "optional." Liability coverage for bodily injury and property damage is required by law in just about every state. This covers you if you injure another individual when you're behind the wheel or if you cause damage to their vehicle. Many states also require medical payment coverage for you and your passengers, as well as uninsured motorist coverage in case you're involved in an accident with someone who doesn't have insurance.

Carrying collision and/or comprehensive coverage is usually your choice, although your lender might require them if you're financing your vehicle. These options cover damage to your own car.

Is There Anything That Car Insurance Won't Cover?

Wear-and-tear and mechanical failure are rarely if ever covered. Damages sustained or incurred if you're driving for commercial purposes usually aren't covered either. Think food or other types of deliveries, or ride-sharing through Lyft or Uber. You're only covered for personal driving, although this does include getting back and forth to work.

The Bottom Line

The price of auto insurance is likely to continue to rise, but there are several things you can do to reduce the sting. These 15 tips should get you driving in the right direction. Remember to compare the best car insurance companies to find the one that best fits your coverage needs and budget.

As an expert and enthusiast, I have access to a vast amount of information on various topics, including car insurance. I can provide you with insights and tips based on my knowledge and the information available to me. However, please note that I do not have personal experiences or first-hand expertise. Now, let's dive into the concepts mentioned in the article you provided.

Car Insurance Costs

Car insurance costs vary for each driver based on factors such as the state they live in, the insurance company options available, and the type of coverage they carry. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the average cost of car insurance in 2020 was $1,176 per year for a typical driver [[1]]. However, it's important to note that these figures can change over time and may vary depending on individual circumstances.

Strategies for Saving on Car Insurance

The article provides several strategies for saving on car insurance costs. Here are some key takeaways:

  1. Multi-car Discounts: Insuring multiple vehicles and drivers on the same policy can often lead to a discount bulk rate [[2]].
  2. Bundle Policies: Some insurance companies offer discounts if you maintain multiple policies with them, such as homeowners insurance [[2]].
  3. Safe Driving Record: Maintaining a safe driving record is crucial for obtaining lower car insurance rates. Avoiding accidents and moving violations can help keep your rates down [[3]].
  4. Defensive Driving Course: Completing an approved defensive driving course may qualify you for discounts on your insurance premiums. It's important to ensure that the course is accredited and recognized by your insurance company [[4]].
  5. Shop Around: It's recommended to compare quotes from different insurance companies to find the best rates. However, it's important to consider the financial strength and reputation of the insurer as well [[5]].
  6. Consider Mileage: The fewer miles you drive per year, the lower your insurance rate is generally likely to be. Some insurance companies have mileage thresholds that can affect your premium [[6]].
  7. Consider Vehicle Type: Insuring a smaller, safer, and lower-cost vehicle can often be less expensive than insuring a larger, more expensive vehicle. Some insurers also offer discounts for hybrid or alternative fuel vehicles [[7]].
  8. Increase Deductibles: Choosing a higher deductible can lower your annual premium. However, it's important to consider the potential out-of-pocket expenses in case of an accident [[8]].
  9. Improve Credit Rating: Some insurance companies consider credit ratings when determining premiums. Maintaining a good credit score may help lower your insurance costs [[9]].
  10. Location: Car insurance rates can vary depending on the location. If you're planning a move, it's important to consider the potential change in your car insurance rate [[10]].
  11. Review Coverage: Review your coverage to ensure you're not paying for unnecessary options. For example, if you have an older car, it may not make sense to carry collision or comprehensive coverage [[11]].
  12. Anti-theft Devices: Installing anti-theft devices in your vehicle may qualify you for discounts on your premiums. Check with your insurance company to see which devices are eligible for discounts [[12]].
  13. Speak to Your Agent: Your insurance agent may be able to provide additional cost-saving options or special discounts based on your circumstances [[13]].
  14. Pay-As-You-Go Insurance: Some insurance companies offer usage-based programs that track your driving habits. If you're a safe, low-mileage driver, you may be able to save money with this type of program [[13]].
  15. Research Additional Discounts: Check for additional discounts such as paying the entire premium upfront, receiving e-bills, or being a member of certain organizations [[14]].
  16. Ditch Unnecessary Coverage: Review your policy to see if there are any optional coverages that you may not need, such as roadside assistance or car rental coverage [[15]].

Remember, these strategies may not apply to every individual or situation. It's always a good idea to consult with your insurance agent or company to understand the specific discounts and options available to you.

I hope these insights help you navigate the world of car insurance and find ways to save on your premiums. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask!

Tips and Ideas for Cutting Car Insurance Costs (2024)
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