Since none of us are endowed with a financial "guardian angel" to watch over us, getting the best deal on car insurance takes research, attention to detail, and some helpful shopping tips. Not only does it help to comparison shop for the lowest rate car insurance quotes, , but you should understand why insurance rates vary and how your "risk profile" can influence your rates.
Lower your Car Insurance Risk Profile
Your risk profile is based on a set of factors which can work for or against your car insurance rates. Factors which insurers believe influence your risk of having an accident and filing a claim include :
Teenagers - Drivers under the age of 25 can expect to spend the most for car insurance due to their lack of experience and tendency toward reckless behavior. Piggybacking your policy onto an older relative's coverage, especially if you live at home is an option which can significantly reduce your rates. By taking a defensive driving class, you can also show your insurer that you are acquiring the tools to be a safer driver.
With age comes experience and your rates will be reduced accordingly. Staying with the same insurer over a period of years will qualify you for a "loyalty" discount, as well as a "safe driver" discount if you remain claim-free.
As you approach senior citizen status however, your rates will begin to increase due to the increased likelihood of accidents due to slowing reaction times and the effects of other physical impairments. Injuries involving older occupants are usually more serious. There are currently 20 million licensed drivers in the U.S. over the age of seventy. By taking courses and behind-the-wheel training for driving improvement, seniors can improve their driving skills and reduce their insurance rates.
Women Drivers - Although popular opinion seems to disagree, female drivers in their late twenties to early thirties are the safest drivers. Females tend to be more cautious, and less inclined to speed or drive recklessly. In a Department of Transportation survey, of drivers stopped for other reasons by law enforcement officers, 25 percent of males versus 8 percent of females were not wearing their seatbelts.
Put your Best Foot Forward
Get your Credit Report in Order - Car insurance companies set your rates partially on the strength of your credit score. If you miss credit card payments, are late on your mortgage payment, or have no credit at all, it is viewed as an indicator of your likelihood to file an insurance claim. Check your credit report regularly, repair any errors, avoid bankruptcy, and make all payments on time.
Clean Up your Driving Record - Blemishes on your driving record, big or small, can cause your insurance rates to climb. Fortunately, it is possible to erase the lesser infractions from your record to help keep you insurance rates down. Many states will erase a minor citation by simply attending a court-approved driving class.
Drive a Low Profile Older Vehicle - Ignoring your need for speed, status, and attention, you can save a bundle on insurance (and loan payments) by buying a nice, certified, previously-owned vehicle in the sedan or minivan categories. It won't get you much action at the drive-in, but all the money you save on car insurance will make up for it.
When you drive a new vehicle which is less likely to be stolen you can earn a car insurance discount. Forbes notes the following as their List of Least Stolen Cars.
Your Car is your Castle.
Install a LoJack Recovery System and save up to 30 percent on your car insurance. Some security alarm systems are better than others, the most visible, like The Club, simply locks to the steering wheel. A starter disable switch may be more difficult to bypass.
Don't Buy More Coverage Than you Need.
Always comparison shop for the lowest rates and make sure you don't buy more coverage than you will need. Most states require a minimum amount of coverage for accidents which are your fault; a certain amount for each injured occupant, a maximum amount for all injured occupants, and an amount for property damage. Depending on your circumstances, you may opt to buy this amount of coverage, or more.
You may be paying for coverage you do not need if your vehicle is older, with a low blue-book value, say $1500. In this situation, you may not need comprehensive or collision, which pays for repairs or replacement of your vehicle. If the value of the car is not much more than ten times the yearly premium, consider leaving comprehensive and collision off.
More Car Insurance Tips
You can save on car insurance by combining it with your homeowner's policy. Not only that, you can also save money by increasing your deductible. Some car clubs, organizations and employee benefit packages offer other ways to get in on lower car insurance rates. With this heads-up approach to car insurance shopping, you can find many ways to save a few dollars here and there to keep as much in your pocket as possible.