If saving money is at the top of your list of New Year's resolutions for 2007, then you'll want to get on the phone with your auto insurance company. You may be in for a treat in the form of a discount, whether it's because of your age, your exemplary behavior, or the type of car you drive.
Here's a peek at discounts sometimes offered by major carriers such as Geico, Allstate, State Farm, and Progressive. Grab a magnifying glass to check the specifics of your policy, or just give your insurance carrier a call to determine your eligibility.
Rewards for your wheels
Your insurer may offer a host of discounts, simply based on the type of car you drive or its features. For example, you may be eligible for savings if you have:
- A new car, economy car, utility vehicle, or farm vehicle
- Daytime running lights
- ABS brakes
- A passive restraint system (seat belts or air bags)
- An anti-theft device
- Multiple car policies with the same insurer
Your maturity quotient
According to your insurance company, you're not just getting older, you're getting better. You'll save with many insurance companies if you're:
- Over 65
- 55 and retired
It's not just a job; it's a discount
Who knew your career wasn't just good for a paycheck? You may get a discount, if you're:
- On emergency deployment
- A member of a partnering organization
- A member of a professional group
- A senior-level federal employee
On your best behavior
Insurance companies reward good behavior; consider it a behavior modification system for grownups. You may save if you:
- Have good credit
- Are a low-mileage driver
- Have been accident-free for five years
- Have taken a defensive driving course (typically only elective courses, not mandated ones)
- Are a good student (with restrictions)
- Are a resident student
- Regularly use your seat belt
- Take a driver's ed course (for young drivers)
- Carry multiple types of insurance (home and auto) from the same carrier
- Renew your policy (or in some cases, if you're bringing "new business")
It's all up to the states
You'll also want to grill your insurance carrier about state-specific benefits. For example, Geico offers qualifying college graduates in Arkansas a discount, while in Delaware, Geico will offer you a break if you use Travelink, a traffic reduction driving program.
To obtain a discount from your insurance carrier, you'll want to:
- Research the types of discounts they offer. Often this information is available online.
- Determine if any supporting documentation is needed to qualify (e.g., report cards for young drivers).
- Carefully comb through your existing policy to determine what discounts are offered.
- Check and see if life changes will positively affect your rates. For example, if you've left work to stay at home with the kids, you may qualify for a lower rate since you won't be commuting in peak traffic hours.
- Shop around, since insurance rates and discounts may vary widely from company to company.
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Fool contributor Elizabeth Brokamp is a licensed professional counselor who regularly talks money with her honey, Robert Brokamp, editor of The Motley Fool's Rule Your Retirement newsletter.