Urban Cowboys and Car Insurance

We could all use a break on our car insurance costs. But are you willing to leave your desk job and go work on a farm?

Apparently many inner-city dwellers are. From Brooklyn to downtown Portland, Ore., drivers fraudulently claim that their cars are used exclusively in the pursuit of agricultural excellence. The reason? The farming discount gives car owners a sweet break on their insurance premiums if their vehicle is used on a farm. The price break for rural autos makes sense -- cornfield fender benders and theft are rare.

Industry experts say that ratings abuses like the fake-farming discount cost insurers more than $13 billion in lost revenue. While you might not be shedding a tear for State Farm's lost sales, you should be a bit miffed that the actions of dishonest drivers end up padding your car insurance tab.

If you're looking for a legitimate price break on your car insurance, consider the following:

  • Buy insurance from the same company that handles your homeowner's or renter's insurance.
  • Take a defensive-driving course.
  • Use an approved (by your insurer) antitheft device.
  • House your car in a garage vs. the street.
  • Mention membership in some professional association, and see if it provides bulk business to the insurer.
  • If a teen is on your policy, encourage her to have a high grade-point average.
  • And, if your Lexus really is only used on a farm, let your agent know.

For more ideas, check out our Insurance Center.

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