I’ll admit it. Thinking about auto insurance rates bore me. For me, insurance rates are one of those lovely topics right up there with everyone’s personal favorite, tax preparation. Ugh, yes, please notice the sarcasm dripping from my words.
We all have better things to do in life than to spend our time agonizingly worrying (then procrastinating) over netting better rates. Fortunately, getting a better rate is something you can finally cross off your to-do list.
Follow my tried and true tips to getting a great rate from the get-go and how to seek rate reductions.
Finding the Best Companies
What I’ve learned is to not forget the obvious ways to save but go beyond the obvious.
First, ask your friends and relatives which companies they use. Most importantly, ask if they’ve had to file a claim before and ask how they thought that claim was handled. The cheapest rates in the world do no good if you can’t count on your insurance agent, appraisers and adjusters to do their job in a professional and timely manner during your time of need.
Check out online reviews, too, for a broader perspective. (Try the NAIC’s Consumer Information Source site. )
Don’t sign up with the first company who gives you a quote. Shop around. And forget those insurance companies that just sound too good to be true. My good friends were able to tell me all sorts of stories about supposedly reputable companies with ”lower” rates. Well, those companies seem to be focused all on advertising and no quality of service. Their quotes involved less amounts of collision or accident coverage, so one can’t even compare a lot of quotes the ”apples to apples” way.
When you need to file a claim, those supposedly legitimate companies may cut and run on you, meaning you probably weren’t even signed up for the adequate coverage amounts you truly needed. Then the joke’s on you.
Safe Driving Record and Model, Make and Year Considerations
Of course, reckless driving, tickets and past accidents reflect on everyone’s insurance rates. A clear history really aided in my low monthly rate. But the make, model and year of every particular car factors in to your quote. In fact, keep that in mind when buying a vehicle in the first place. My rates on an old Subaru Outback wagon were low. If I had bought a newer, more sporty vehicle, my insurance rates would have been much higher from the get-go.
Bundle it All Up
The auto rate I desired actually directly depended on bundling all of my insurances together. That is, I put all my eggs in one basket by having one insurance company sign up my second vehicle and home, too.
Everything is handled by one insurance agent. Frankly, I think I get treated better that way, because I have a bit more clout, so to speak. For example, if I decide to leave my current agency, then they’re not losing a little business; they’re losing multiple sources of commissions and premiums.
Primary Use of Vehicle
Keeping my lowest rate possible has also depended on keeping my agent abreast of any life changes each year. For example, after leaving my job to stay at home with my daughter, my vehicle’s primary use is no longer for commuting to work. I will have shaved off about $100 on my premium this year now.
In my experience, receiving a great auto insurance premium started before I even bought my vehicle. Then, it’s been important for me to check-in with my agent about every year for possible additional discounts. With a little planning and time designated to checking out a few companies to compare rates with, you can hopefully achieve a rate you can happily live with too!