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9 Ways to lower your auto insurance costs

One of the best ways of keeping down your auto insurance costs is to have a good driving record.
Listed below are a number of other things you can do right now to lower your insurance costs.

1. Shop around

Prices vary from company to company, so it pays to shop around. Get at least three price quotes. You can call companies directly or access information on the Internet. Your state insurance department may also provide comparisons of prices charged by major insurers. (State insurance department phone numbers can be found on the back cover.)
You buy insurance to protect you financially and provide peace of mind. It's important to pick a company that is financially stable. Check the financial health of insurance companies with rating companies such as A.M. Best (www.standardandpoors.com/ratings) and consult consumer magazines.
Get quotes from different types of insurance companies. Some sell through their own agents. These agencies have the same name as the insurance company. Some sell through independent agents who offer policies from several insurance companies. Others do not use agents. They sell directly to consumers over the phone or via the Internet.
But don't shop price alone. You want a company that answers your questions and handles your claims fairly and efficiently. Ask friends and relatives for their recommendations. Contact your state insurance department to find out whether it makes available consumer complaint ratios by company.
You should pick an agent or company representative that takes the time to answer your questions. Remember, you'll be dealing with this company if you have an accident or other emergency.
You can use the checklist on the bottom page to help you compare prices.

2. Before you buy a car, compare insurance costs
Before you buy a new or use car, check into insurance costs. Your premium is based in part on the car's sticker price, the cost to repair it, it's overall safety record, and the likelihood of theft. Many insurers offer discounts for features that reduce the risk of injuries or theft. These include air bags, anti-lock brakes, daytime running lights and anti-theft devices. Some states require insurers to give discounts for cars equipped with air bags or anti-lock brakes.
Cars that are favourite targets for thieves cost more to insurer. Information that can help you decide what car to buy is available from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (www.iihs.org).

3. Ask for higher deductibles
Deductibles represent the amount of money you pay before your insurance policy kicks in. By requesting higher deductibles, you can lower your costs substantially. For example, increasing your deductible from $200 to $500 could reduce your collision and comprehensive coverage cost by 15 percent to 30 percent. Going to a $1,000 deductible can save you 40 percent or more.

4. Reduce coverage on older cars
Consider dropping collision and/or comprehensive coverage's on older cars. It may not be cost effective to continue to buy these coverages on cars worth less than 10 times the amount you would pay for the coverage. Any claim payment you receive would not substantially exceed your premiums minus the deductible. The average claim occurs only once every 11 or 12 years. Auto dealers and banks can tell you the worth of cars. Or you can look it up online at Kelley's Blue Book (www.kbb.com). Review your coverage at renewal time to make sure your insurance needs haven't changed.

5. Buy your homeowner and auto coverage from the same insurer
Many insurers will give you a break if you buy to or more types of insurance from them. Also you may get a reduction if you have more than one vehicle insured with the same company. Some insurers reduce the rates for long-time customers. But stop! You may save money buying from different insurance companies despite the multi-policy discount.

6. Take advantage of low mileage discounts
Some companies offer discounts to motorists who drive a lower than average number of miles a year. Low mileage discounts can also apply to drivers who car-pool to work.

7. Ask about group insurance
Companies offer reductions to drivers who get insurance through a group plan from their employers, through professional, business and alumni groups or other associations. Ask your employer and inquire of any groups or clubs you belong to.

8. Seek out safe driver discounts
Companies offer discounts to policyholders who have not had any accidents or moving violations for a number of years. You may also qualify for a cut if you have taken a defensive driving course recently.

9. Inquire about other discounts
You may get a break on your insurance if you are over 50, or in some cases 55, and retired or if there is a young driver on the policy who is a good student, has taken a drivers education course, or is at college out of the area.


When you comparison shop, inquire about these discounts*


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 50-55 years of age
Driver training course
Defensive driving course
Anti-theft device
Low annual mileage
Air bag
Anti-lock brakes
Daytime running lights
Student drivers with good grades
Auto and homeowners coverage with the same company
College students away from home
Long-time customer
Other discounts

*The discounts listed may not be available in all states or from all insurance companies. But don't forget that the key to savings is not the discounts but the final price. A Company that offers few discounts may still have a lower overall price.

State insurance departments
AK: 907-465-2515
AL: 334-269-3550
AR: 501-371-2600
AZ: 602-912-8400
CA: 916-492-3500
CO: 303-894-7499
CT: 860-297-3800
DC: 202-727-8000
DE: 302-739-4251
FL: 850-922-3100
GA: 404-656-2070
GU: 671-475-1817
HI: 808-586-2790
IA: 515-281-5705
ID: 208-334-4250
IL: 217-782-4515
IN: 317-232-2385
KS: 785-296-3071
KY: 502-564-3630
LA: 225-342-5900
MA: 617-521-7794
MD: 410-468-2000
ME: 207-624-8475
MI: 517-373-0220
MN: 651-297-7161
MO: 573-751-4126
MS: 601-359-3569
MT: 406-444-2040
NC: 919-733-3058
ND: 701-328-2440
NE: 402-471-2201
NH: 603-271-2261
NJ: 609-292-5360
NM: 505-827-4601
NV: 775-687-4270
NY: 212-480-6400
OH: 614-644-2658
OK: 405-521-2828
OR: 503-947-7980
PA: 717-783-0442
PR: 787-722-8686
RI: 401-222-2223
SC: 803-737-6212
SD: 605-773-3563
TN: 615-741-2241
TX: 512-463-6464
UT: 801-538-3800
VA: 804-371-9741
VI: 340-774-7166
VT: 802-828-3301
WA: 360-753-7301
WI: 608-266-3585
WV: 304-558-3354
WY: 307-777-7401

Get an online car insurance quote here.

                                                           
Source: The Insurance Information Institute. Click here to visit.

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