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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Avoid quick decisions. Avoid purchasing insurance from the first company you find. Avoid car insurance companies that you’ve never heard of before. Avoid car insurance agents and companies that don’t come recommended by family members, friends, or other reliable sources.
Always find the lowest priced car insurance when you shop using the FREE tool located on this page!
Once you purchase insurance and are licensed to drive a motor vehicle, there are a number of other behaviors to avoid if you want to keep your car insurance premiums affordable. Don’t drink and drive. Don’t do drugs and drive. Never use your cell phone without a Bluetooth or other hands free device. Don’t text and drive or drive while you are otherwise distracted.
Avoid Driving While Distracted
Distracted driving is a major source of concern for American motorists. Distracted drivers cause a multitude of accidents across the United States each day. While a majority of Americans agree that texting, emailing or using a hand held device while driving is not acceptable behavior, a third of all drivers reported engaging in these activities while driving a car in the last 30 days!
AAA, the American Automobile Association, discusses this issue in a recent online article about distracted driving. To accomplish the demands of modern life, most Americans are forced to multi-task; that is to pursue a number of activities at the same time.
It’s become perfectly normal and commonplace to talk on the phone, eat, type an email and chat with a friend while at school, at work or even behind the wheel of a two-ton automobile! Experts agree that multi-tasking while driving is never a good idea. Researchers even go so far as to suggest that the human brain is not wired correctly to multi-task!
Studies show that using a cell phone while behind the wheel quadruples the risks of suffering an accident. Other distractions such as eating or smoking, fiddling with the car radio or CD player, and rubbernecking, can be just as dangerous as talking on the phone, texting, or emailing.
How to Control Distracting Behaviors
AAA offers a list of ten tips to aid in avoiding distracting behavior while driving. First on the list is to plan. Get directions and check road conditions before you leave home. Next, and probably most important, turn off and put away your electronic devices while driving.
Finish dressing, tying a tie, combing your hair, applying makeup or making other preparations for your day before getting into your car. While driving, pull over and take a break to catch up on email, return a few phone calls, or grab a bite to eat.
Avoid a DUI
There are several more issues you want to avoid if you are looking to find economical auto insurance coverage for yourself or other members of your family. A DWI or DUI conviction can almost guarantee you high-risk status and you will pay the absolute highest insurance rates. That is if the conviction doesn’t include the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license.
In many states, multiple DUI or DWI convictions can lead to lifetime revocation of your driver’s license. Driving privileges, once lost, may be impossible to regain as national motor vehicle registries share conviction records and prevent motorists who have lost their license in one state from applying for a new license in another.
Avoid Accident and Tickets
Multiple reportable accidents, multiple traffic tickets, or other violations will also place you in a high-risk status. Most conventional car insurance companies will no longer offer you coverage. At this point, the only option available will be your state’s assigned risk pool.
Each state has funds set aside to cover drivers who are unable to obtain insurance elsewhere, the assigned risk pool. Drivers who fall into this category can get car insurance but at three to four times the rates of a standard insurance policy.
Once in the assigned risk pool, drivers can expect to remain there for at least three years until the violations, or accidents that put them in this category begin to drop off their record. During this time, drivers will need to remain ticket and accident free or they will continue to pay exorbitant annual rates for auto insurance.
Remember, a single injury accident or serious traffic violation could cause your insurance company to cancel your coverage or they could refuse to renew your auto insurance when it comes due. The best thing you can do to avoid this predicament is to drive safely and always follow the rules of the road.
Avoid Jumping at the First Offer
Take your time and compare all available policy offers in your area by getting several rate quotes. Investigate the financial viability and customer service track record of the auto insurance companies you’re considering. Talk with family and friends about their experiences with a particular company.
Things to Do
According to accepted business practice, the three most important things to consider when opening a new consumer oriented business, restaurant or other retail establishment are location, location and location. The same maxim holds true when trying to find the best car insurance deals in any given area, shop, shop, and shop!
Use the World Wide Web to shop and instantly compare policy rates from all available auto insurance providers. Then, once you’ve found adequate insurance coverage to suit your needs, keep shopping!
Consumer Reports advises policyholders to compare prices at least once each year before accepting policy renewal contracts.
Loyalty pays! Ask your current provider for a loyalty discount or a multi-policy discount if your company provides you with other insurance services such as life, health and accident, disability or homeowners’ coverage. Most auto insurers offer multi-vehicle discounts as well.
Ask your insurance agent if their company offers a safe driver discount or one of several popular accident forgiveness options. Ask your insurance company to be placed in their premium client tier, the group of policyholders in the lowest risk category that pays the lowest insurance rates.
When you shop for something especially important, like car insurance, you want to be proactive. In order to qualify for the absolute best premium rates, there are a number of things that you can do which will immediately improve your bargaining position with local insurers.
Do Get Educated
Insurance providers consider educated drivers to be better drivers. So even if you don’t have to, take a safe driver class! Many drivers already know that a traffic ticket can be erased, or the negative financial effects can be minimized if they complete a driver safety program or a series of classes.
Some classes may be as brief as a single evening or weekend session. Other programs are more time intensive but the benefits can be more far-reaching. New drivers should definitely make sure to enroll in their school’s driver education program or community based classes when available.
Classes are offered by many participating organizations including local branches of the Automobile Club, AAA. Other groups in your area may be certified by the state in which you live and sponsored by local school districts, civic groups or other community organizations.
Safe driving or defensive driving classes can pay big dividends when it comes time to renew your auto insurance. It makes good sense to take classes before you’re involved in an accident or receive a traffic citation. Of course, taking a class to counter the effects of a moving violation or reportable accident is always a good idea.
Teenagers Should Bring Their “A” Game
New drivers, especially those who are still in their teens, are considered to be most at risk for auto accidents and therefore pay among the highest car insurance premiums. Most insurance companies give better students, better rates. If you earn As and Bs in high school or college, your car insurance provider will likely offer you discounts on your annual premiums.
Automotive experts at Edmonds.com tell readers that teens who carry a GPA (grade point average) of 3.0 or above often qualify for as much as a 10% discount on their auto insurance. Edmonds points out a number of other ways that parents and students can save money on car insurance. First and foremost, Edmonds says that teens should obey all traffic laws and regulations.
Teens should also stick to conservative family vehicles and avoid sports cars. Teen drivers may lack the maturity and experience to avoid temptation behind the wheel of a roadster or other high performance automobile.
The Facts of Life of Auto Insurance
The last component of auto insurance shopping is the car you plan to insure. No matter how well you drive, and how sparkling clean your driving record is, certain vehicle makes and models will cost significantly more to insure.
It makes sense that more expensive luxury vehicles are among the most expensive cars to insure, as are sports cars and other high performance or specialty vehicles. In a survey conducted by Forbes Magazine, insuring the powerful new Audi R8 Spyder Quattro sport coupe would cost almost $3,400 per year!
On the other hand, the most economical vehicle to insure in the Forbes survey is the family oriented 2012 Toyota Sienna minivan, which would cost the average driver just over $1,100 per year for car insurance. Other economical models included in the survey are the Dodge Grand Caravan and Honda Odyssey minivans.
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