Car insurance premiums can be expensive. But since you’re required to carry insurance in most states, it’s not a bill you can get rid of. The good news is that your car insurance cost isn’t set in stone, and several ways to lower your bill are within your control.
To help you save money, here are some ways to reduce your car insurance premiums. Try one, two, or the whole list to see how much you could save.
Consider Seasonal Driving Habits
Are your insurance needs the same year-round, or do you drive less in certain seasons? Do you have a vehicle you only drive in the summer, like a convertible or a motorcycle?
Use these questions as a starting point to think about how your driving changes during the course of a year. Then, ask your insurance agent about any seasonal changes you can make to your policy to save money.
For instance, if you put a vehicle in storage all winter, you might be able to drop its liability and collision coverage to save money. As long as you leave comprehensive coverage on the vehicle, it’ll still be covered if it’s stolen or damaged in a fire.
You cannot legally drive a vehicle with comprehensive-only coverage. Your policy wouldn’t meet the state-required minimums for auto coverage, nor would it pay for damages after an accident. Always reinstate your liability insurance (and any other coverage required in your state) before taking your car back on the road.
Bundle Multiple Insurance Products
Many insurance companies offer a discount if you purchase multiple products, such as home and auto insurance; this process is known as “bundling.” For example, you can save 10% when bundling auto and home insurance with USAA and up to 25% with Allstate.
You may also be eligible for a multi-car discount if you insure multiple vehicles on the same policy. GEICO advertises multi-vehicle savings of up to 25%.
If you have multiple policies with an insurer, ask your agent what would happen to your rate if you combined them.
Tell Your Insurer If You Started Working From Home
When stay-at-home orders began popping up around the country in early 2020, many people started driving less—and some insurance companies offered car insurance discounts.
If you’ve been working from home or traveling less over the past year, you’re probably putting fewer miles on your car. Since your annual mileage is used to determine your car insurance premiums, you may be able to save money by letting your insurance company know you’re driving less than you anticipated.
Raise Your Deductible
Your deductible is the amount of money you’re responsible for paying on a covered claim. It’s often referred to as the amount you’ll pay out of pocket, although your insurer will usually just deduct it from your payout. For example, if you have a $500 deductible and an approved claim for $1,500 worth of damage, your insurer will send you a check for $1,000. Typically, the higher your deductible, the lower your premium.
For instance, Nationwide estimates that if you raise your deductible from $200 to $1,000, you may save about 40% on your insurance premiums.
If you raise your deductible, make sure you have enough money set aside to pay it if you need to. If you’re not prepared, paying those out-of-pocket costs could hurt your progress toward financial goals or put you in debt.
Make Fewer (and Larger) Payments
It might sound intimidating to pay such a large amount at once, but many insurance companies offer a discount for paying your premium in full. You may also be eligible for discounts if you sign up for autopayments instead of manually paying your bill each month.
Keep Rates in Mind While Car Shopping
Premiums vary drastically based on the age and type of vehicle you drive. The make and model of your car play a role in pricing, with more expensive and larger vehicles often resulting in higher premiums.
If you’re in the market for a new (or new to you) vehicle, keep these factors in mind while you shop. It’s worth requesting a few quotes for the type of vehicle you’re considering before you make the purchase so you have an idea of what you’ll pay to insure your new wheels.
It’s also a good idea to consider features that might qualify you for additional discounts:
- New car discount
- Hybrid/electric vehicle discount
- Safety features discount, such as for an anti-theft device or anti-lock brakes
You might see offers of cars that come with free insurance, but make sure to read the fine print—they may be too good to be true.
Use Your Good Driving Record, Military Status, and More
Your lifestyle and driving record can also affect your car insurance. Talk to your insurance agent to see if you qualify for car insurance discounts, such as:
- Good driver discount: A great way to save on your premium is to be a good driver. If you didn’t have a moving violation in the past three or five years, you may be eligible for a good driver discount.
- Military discount: If you’ve served or are currently serving in the military, you might pay a little less for car insurance. Ask about a military discount, even if you don’t see one advertised.
- Good student discount: Teens can be expensive to insure, but full-time high school or college students with at least a B average are typically eligible for a good student discount.
If your child is away at college and doesn’t have a car with them, ask your agent if you’re eligible for a “student away at school” discount. Your young driver will still be able to drive the car when they come home for a few days.
Take a Driving Course
Young or inexperienced drivers may be able to save on car insurance by seeking out professional training. For example, Travelers offers a discount of up to 8% to young drivers who can prove they’ve completed an approved driver training course.
If it’s been a while since your last driver’s education course, taking a defensive driver course could also save you money on your auto policy. In many states, you must be over the age of 50 or 55, and savings vary.
Make sure you’re comparing similar plans when you’re getting quotes. Choosing the cheapest car insurance without reading the fine print could leave you without the coverage you need.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is your car insurance lower when you’re married?
Some insurers consider your marital status when calculating your premium, as their claim statistics show that married people make fewer claims. So, yes, being married could potentially lower your premiums.
Are car insurance rates lower after you’ve paid off your car loan in full?
Just paying off your car loan doesn’t lower your car insurance rates. However, owning your car outright gives you more flexibility to find cheaper car insurance. That’s because lien holders can require specific types of coverage, which can be costly. Once you own your car, you can select the policies that better suit your needs and budget.
Which car accessories lower your car insurance rates?
Insurance companies often reward you with a discount if you drive a car with a better safety rating or certain safety features. For instance, a built-in anti-theft device could help lower your Geico comprehensive premium by up to 23%, and daytime running lights could lower your cost for some coverages by 3%.