There once was a time when one phone call to your family insurance agent gave you all the coverage protection you needed at the very best price. Well ... today, just watch the halftime show during one pro-football game. Huh? Chances are that you will see commercials for just about every flavor of insurance offered by a dozen different insurance companies. Each one promising better rates, better service and better protection.
So how do you navigate the options to get the best auto insurance rate? Take the time to comparison shop, and understand what might lower your rate.
How much do you drive each week? Take the train or bus to work? This could affect your auto insurance rate.
How old is your car? If you own it and it is pretty old, consider dropping collision coverage -- the replacement value might not be worth the monthly premium.
Are you a student -- and a good one? Look for good-student rates.
How much of a deductible can you afford? Carrying a higher deductible will lower your monthly rate.
What's your credit rating? Sounds crazy, but it's true. People with good credit get better rates on car insurance. Why? If you are not paying your bills on time, chances are it is because you do not have the cash on hand, which means that if you get into a fender bender, you are definitely filing a claim, even if it makes your rate go up.
Some companies offer discounts for different professional groups or organizations. Ask to see a list from each company you are considering.
Find out about any other discounts that are offered, but be careful -- sometimes, the companies with the highest prices offer the biggest discounts but not enough to make them the least expensive option. Do the math before buying a policy.
Ready to shop? Check out insurance comparison shopping sites such as NetQuote.com and InsureMe.com. It is a little more challenging to buy auto insurance than it used to be. But shopping around really does pay off.