When you own a vehicle, paying for auto insurance is an expense you need to factor in. U.S. News & World Report says the average cost of auto insurance is $1,547 per year. But the amount your auto insurer charges will hinge on factors that include where you live, the type of car you have, and the amount of driving you typically do.
You may be eager to lower the cost of your auto insurance. Every dollar you don’t pay your insurer is a dollar you get to keep. Here are a few tactics you can use that could result in savings.
1. Increase your deductible
When your vehicle is damaged and you file a claim with your insurer to get it fixed, you pay a deductible before your insurer covers the rest of the tab. It’s usually the case that the higher your auto insurance deductible, the lower your premium will be. And so if your deductible is fairly low right now, raising it could result in cheaper premiums.
Of course, in doing so, you’re taking the risk of having to pay that higher sum of money in the event of an accident. But think about it this way. If you get lucky, you might have several years in a row where you don’t have to pay your deductible at all. On the other hand, your premium is an expense you have to pay every year no matter what.
2. Bundle with your homeowners policy
Own a home? You’ll need to keep it insured at all times. And if you’re not currently using the same company for auto and homeowners insurance, you may be missing out on a discount.
If you’re getting your auto insurance from one company and your homeowners policy from another, reach out to each to ask about bundling and see which one comes up with the better offer. If you’re not particularly impressed with the savings from either, reach out to companies you haven’t used. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with shopping around, even if you’ve used the same insurer for years.
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3. Maintain a safe driving record
If you have a safe driving record, it sends the message to your insurer that you’re not the type to take risks while out on the road. And you may be rewarded for that in the form of lower insurance premiums.
Of course, sometimes, life gets the better of us. You might end up getting pulled over for speeding or weaving in and out of traffic due to being in a hurry. To avoid that, leave yourself more time to reach your various destinations. It might help keep you in check on the road.
4. Take a defensive driving course
You can be a perfectly cautious driver and still get in an accident. And sometimes, avoiding an accident boils down to having experience on the road.
If you’re a newer driver, you may not have a whole lot of experience just yet. In that case, it could pay to take a defensive driving course. It could also pay to take one if you’ve recently gotten a black mark on your driving record due to something like a moving violation.
That said, don’t just search for a course online, pay the fee, and call it a day. Instead, reach out to your insurer to ask about approved courses. You don’t want to waste your time and money on a course that may not change your premium costs one bit.
The less you’re charged for auto insurance, the more manageable that expense might be. Take these steps to lower your car insurance costs — and bank the money you’re not spending for yourself.
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Based in New York, Stephen Freeman is a Senior Editor at Trending Insurance News. Previously he has worked for Forbes and The Huffington Post. Steven is a graduate of Risk Management at the University of New York.