How to save on auto insurance
Auto insurance can't be taken for a test drive. But
you can get a good deal -- if you shop around and take some
steps you might not have considered.
See, you don't just buy auto insurance. You actually
buy several different types of insurance: collision, comprehensive,
uninsured motorists, bodily injury and so on. Some states mandate
certain insurance, and of course, lenders require coverage -- until
the car's paid for, it's their investment you're protecting.
Sure, an insurance agent can help you with these figures.
But remember: The more insurance you buy, the more commission the
agent gets. So it's better to work this one out yourself. Learn more
about different types of auto insurance, and figure out how much you
can live with by reading "car
Additionally, you can save money just by comparison
shopping. Though Americans love to shop around for cars and drive
several blocks to save a few cents on fuel, few U.S. drivers bother
to comparison shop for auto insurance. In fact, the latest survey
of consumers by Progressive Insurance found that only 20 percent shopped
around for auto insurance. Progressive's study also asserts that the
cost of a six-month auto insurance policy for the same driver with
the same coverages varies from company to company -- the difference
can vary $500 or more.
So, don't just go with your father's insurance company,
or the first one you see in the Yellow Pages, or even the same one
you've been using for years. Shop around when you buy a new vehicle
and compare the rates again about once a year.
You can shop the old fashioned way. Call three or
four local agents, giving each of them your driving details. The
Web, with its database and searching capabilities, offers newfangled
ways to shop for insurance, but it doesn't always save time over
Whether you shop by phone or by Web, give the exact
same details to three or more companies and you'll end up with a
range of quotes. Should you simply pick the least expensive? Not
quite. You want to make sure this insurance company doesn't just
cost less, but also provides the appropriate service if you file
a claim. For this reason, some people are willing to pay more for
a "name" insurance company. You can check an insurer's claims-paying
ability at Standard
& Poor's Ratings Service: Insurance. No one likes to buy
insurance -- it's a product that's best when never used. But keep
thinking about that $500 and suddenly a few minutes of insurance
homework don't hurt so much.
Although shopping around for auto insurance is the
No. 1 tip, it's not the only one. Here are eight more ways to save
-- including a few you may not have considered before:
- Get married and get older.
- Take a defensive driving course.
- Ask about membership discounts, because they're
not always going to volunteer it.
- Install a car alarm.
- Pay six months in full, twice a year, rather
than financing the premiums.
- Buy a car with safety features such as anti-lock
brake system, alarm and air bags.
- Move to a "better" ZIP code. Areas
where there are more uninsured motorists and more wrecks get slapped
with higher rates.
- Keep your driving record clean so your insurance
company is never tempted to raise your rates.
-- Posted: Dec. 9, 2003