Nine Ways to Lower Your Auto Insurance Costs

You may not realize it, but the insurance rates you pay for your car can vary dramatically depending on the insurance company, agent or broker you choose, the coverages you request and the kind of car you drive. Listed below are a number of things you can do right now to lower your insurance costs.

Comparison Shop

Prices for the same coverage can vary by hundreds of dollars, so it pays to shop around. Ask your friends, check the yellow pages or call your state insurance department (phone numbers are on back page). You can also check consumer guides, insurance agents or companies. This will give you an idea of price ranges and tell you which companies or agents have the lowest prices. But don't shop price alone.

The insurer you select should offer both fair prices and excellent service. Quality personal service may cost a bit more, but provides added conveniences, so talk to a number of insurers to get a feeling for the quality of their service. Ask them what they would do to lower your costs. Check the financial ratings of the companies too. Then, when you've narrowed the field to three insurers, get price quotes.

Ask for Higher Deductibles

Deductibles represent the amount of money you pay before you make a claim. By requesting higher deductibles on collision and comprehensive (fire and theft) coverage, you can lower your costs substantially. For example, increasing your deductible from $200 to $500 could reduce your collision cost by 15% to 30%.

Drop Collision and/or Comprehensive Coverages on Older Cars

It may not be cost-effective to have collision or comprehensive coverages on cars worth less than $1000 because any claim you make would not substantially exceed annual cost and deductible amounts. Auto dealers and banks can tell you the worth of cars.

Eliminate Duplicate Medical Coverages

If you have adequate health insurance, you may be paying for duplicate medical coverage in your auto policy. In some states, eliminating this coverage could lower your personal injury protection (PIP) cost by up to 40%.

Buy a "Low Profile" Car

Before you buy a new or used car, check into insurance costs. Cars that are expensive to repair, or that are favorite targets for thieves, have much higher insurance costs. See the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for information about the Highway Loss Data Chart.

Consider Area Insurance Cost if You are Making a Move

Costs tend to be lowest in rural communities and highest in center cities where there is more traffic congestion.

Take Advantage of Low Mileage Discounts

Some companies offer discounts to motorists who drive fewer than a predetermined number of miles a year.

Find Out About Automatic Seat Belt or Air Bag Discounts

You may be able to take advantage of discounts on some coverages if you have automatic seat belts and/or air bags.

Inquire About Other Discounts

Some insurers offer discounts for more than one car, no accidents in three years, drivers over 50 years of age, driver training courses, anti-theft devices, anti-lock brakes and good grades for students.


                        COMPANY A    COMPANY B    COMPANY C

$500 deductible          _______      _______      _______

$1,000 deductible        _______      _______      _______

More than 1 car          _______      _______      _______

No Accidents
  in 3 Years             _______      _______      _______

No Moving Violations
  in 3 Years             _______      _______      _______

Drivers Over 50 Years
  of Age                 _______      _______      _______

Driver Training Course   _______      _______      _______

Anti-Theft Device        _______      _______      _______

Low Annual Mileage       _______      _______      _______

Automatic Seat Belt      _______      _______      _______

Air Bag                  _______      _______      _______

Anti-Lock Brakes         _______      _______      _______

Good Grades for
  Students               _______      _______      _______

Auto and Homeowners
  Coverage with the
  Same Company           _______      _______      _______

College Students
  Away From Home
  Without a Car          _______      _______      _______


_______________          _______      _______      _______
_______________          _______      _______      _______
_______________          _______      _______      _______
_______________          _______      _______      _______

For more information, see The National Insurance Consumer Helpline (NICH).

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