You could lower your car insurance payment each month by following just one of these seven money-saving tips.
The New Year is a great time to consider ways to save money and evaluate where your money actually goes. Car insurance is required in almost every state, and even New Hampshire, which doesn't require insurance, notes that while laws do not require you to have it, you must have what it requires to be "sufficient funds," in the event you are at fault in accident. So in the case of largely everyone, car insurance is a necessary expense that we all must have.
1. Compare rates and policies between providers
Spend a little effort looking around for the best price. Every insurance company promises to save you hundreds, 15%, or something else, so commit an hour or two to see what your options actually are.
At times, banks like BB&T (NYSE:BBT), through their insurance operations, will do all the leg work for you, and their insurance agents will spend time searching through the companies they work with to find you the best policy. Companies like Progressive (NYSE:PGR) may do the comparisons for you online, but that's actually done on a state-by-state basis as a result of different laws and regulations.
2. Lower your coverage on older cars
The average car in the U.S. is now 11.4 years old, the oldest average age on record according to research firm Polk. With so many older cars on the road, it can make sense to drop, or lower the collision insurance on your car if it is worth less than 10 times the premium amount. This is all contingent on personal financial situations, but it can be a possible consideration.
3. Consolidate policies
Consider combining other insurance policies -- home, renters, or others -- with your auto insurance to one company to see if it's more cost-effective. Providers like Allstate (NYSE:ALL) will offer discounts to individuals with multiple policies with them. This is not only good for your wallet, but can also be good for your sanity, as it will eliminate paperwork, logins, and headaches associated with trying to keep up multiple policies with multiple providers.
4. Consider a higher deductible
Like seeking less coverage on older cars, the prospect of a higher deductible should be considered on a case by case basis. However, the Insurance Information Institute notes that increasing a deductible from $200 to $500 could result in the collision and comprehensive coverage cost falling by between 15%-30%, and pushing that to a $1,000 deductible could mean a savings of 40% or more. But always remember that means the out-of-pocket expenses would be higher in the event of an accident.
5. See what group insurance options exist
Depending on work or personal connections, whether though clubs, societies, alumni associations, or anything of that sort, some companies allow group insurance policies at a discounted rate. A phone call to HR or to club chairs may be all it takes to see if you're able to take advantage of one of those options.
6. Understand the cost of your car
Insurance policies are priced off of both the driver and car being insured. If you're considering a few options for a new car, call your insurance provider to see what the difference in insuring each would be, as it might help guide your decision. If you're curious how your current car compares to its insurance losses relative to other vehicles, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety breaks down the results for hundreds of vehicles.
7. Call your current company
At times, insurance companies will provide low mileage discounts, safe driving discounts, discounts for taking a defensive driving course, student discounts, or all sorts of other things. Considering insurance companies are businesses, after all, they may not ask you whether or not you qualify for any of those, but a simple phone call asking what options exist could result in all sorts of discounts on your current policy.
Insurance is a big and necessary expense, but a little effort could go a long way in reducing how much you pay out each month.
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Fool contributor Patrick Morris has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Progressive. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.