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Everyone is on the lookout for the cheapest options when it comes to car insurance. However, you don’t want car insurance that acts cheap, so it is important to do your homework and research your options before you buy.
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There is a big difference between cheap and reasonably priced car insurance that will be there for you in an accident or other loss. There are many ways to make car insurance inexpensive, but a lot of what makes car insurance cheap is up to you, the driver.
Saving through Reducing Coverage
When you buy car insurance, you have to specify dollar amount maximums for the car insurance coverage that you buy.
These amounts are always subject to change, even in the middle of a policy.
You can change your coverage through increasing or decreasing your coverage amounts. If you want truly cheap coverage, you will likely need to lower your coverage amounts somewhat.
Obviously, if you are attempting to find cheaper car insurance, then you can find it cheaper anywhere by reducing your rates. There are two main areas to lower coverage in order to reduce your car insurance premium. First, you can lower your mandatory coverage. This is liability coverage such as Bodily Injury Liability and Damage Liability that each state requires you to purchase. Some states also require Personal Injury Protection and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Each state sets its own minimums, so you will need to assess whether your state’s minimums are too low. For instance, the state of Florida, the lowest, requires only $10,000 per person and $20,000 per accident to cover injuries you cause to others in an accident. However, the minimum amounts in Maine, one of the highest states, are $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident. The experts at the Insurance Information Institute impart that state minimums may not be enough coverage, but in states like Maine, it is likely enough to cover you.
Another coverage area to consider changing is your optional insurance coverage. Coverage such as collision and comprehensive cover damages caused to your vehicles in an accident or through other means.
First, you can raise your deductible. Your deductible is the amount that you agree to pay if you need to make a claim. The higher your deductible, the less expensive your coverage is.
You may choose to completely forgo collision and/or comprehensive coverage altogether.
Optional coverage can make up a sizeable portion of your car insurance premium, so deciding not to purchase the coverage will result in some truly cheap car insurance. However, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners advises that this is a step you should take only if your vehicle is worth less than $1,000.
Savings Factors You Control
While you can certainly adjust your coverage amounts in an effort to find cheaper car insurance, there are also a few other things that you can do to lower your premium. Do keep in mind that these other ways don’t show results as quickly as lowering your coverage.
When auto insurance companies assess your risk as a driver, called underwriting, they look at several factors. You, as the driver, have direct control over many of these factors. While it may take time, you can change these factors so that it lowers your risk. Then you can buy cheap car insurance no matter where you look!
The first, and most important, factor that insurers look at is your driving record.
Obviously, insurers look at your past driving history to forecast your future driving habits. If you have a lot of tickets, accidents and other infractions, then your driving future looks pretty risky to insurers, and you will pay more for car insurance.
It is in your best interest then to become a better driver to lower your risk status. Start now by obeying traffic laws and avoiding habits such as following too closely, speeding, reckless driving, and distracted driving that will likely to lead to an accident.
While this step could take a few years to realize the savings, you will also benefit from your safer driving habits. You will be less likely to cause an accident, to be injured, or to die in a car accident. According to Distraction.gov, drivers who are distracted by things like texting on a cell phone are 23 times more likely to get into an accident.
Another factor that is used to assess your level of risk is your credit score.
Auto insurers contend that there is a correlation between a poor credit history and a person’s driving habits.
Essentially, those who make bad financial decisions also tend to have more accidents and make more claims. Thus, those with poor credit pay more for car insurance.
Improving your credit score will eventually improve your car insurance rates, though it will not be overnight. Depending upon your current credit situation, it could take from a few months to a year or two to improve your credit significantly. However, you will also benefit from lower interest rates and easier financing as well as lower car insurance rates.
You can also control factors that increase your chances of being in an accident or suffering a loss. For one, you can try to drive less by car pooling or using public transportation; because the more you drive, the more likely you are to be involved in an accident.
Parking in a garage or secured lot is a way to proactively minimize theft, vandalism, and damage from nature. You could also choose to drive a safer vehicle. While you may not be able to trade in your current car just yet, it is never too early to research safe vehicles.
Factors that are Out of Your Control
While there are several factors that you can control, you also need to be aware of those factors that are used to assess your risk that are out of your control. Generally, these factors are statistically driven, meaning that if the statistics start to change or show a different trend, then the factors will change too.For instance, if teenagers started to have the best driving records of all age groups, then their insurance premiums would cease to be the highest for any age class.
Similarly, if car thieves began to steal vehicles solely in the country, then urban dwellers’ insurance premiums might start to be cheaper than the premiums of those who live in the country.
Technically, these types of factors are in your control, but only if you are willing to:
- Get married
- Graduate from college
- Become a woman
- Move to a sparsely populated area
- Somehow change your age to somewhere between 25 and 70
Worst Places to Buy Cheap Auto Insurance
There are many places to buy car insurance, but some are worse than others are. These ways generally take up a large amount of time and energy and yield the same results as better methods. First, you could speak with an insurance agent at every car insurance provider in your area. Perhaps you could visit five to ten a day, so such a search might take you a week or two.
Alternatively, you could get out the phone book and call every car insurance provider in the yellow pages to get a quote. It will probably take at least half an hour to get a quote from each agent, so this method could take a few days if you really stick to it.
You could also think of every car insurance provider you can remember and look up her website online to get a quote. Likely, as not, you will be envisioning a lot of cavemen, lizards, a quirky female cashier, and insurance companies with famous spokespersons.
The best place to buy cheap car insurance is online using a quote comparison website. These websites take your car insurance application information and then send it out to insurance companies who are licensed to sell car insurance in your state.
The auto insurance companies then send you quotes for coverage either by email or over the phone. There are many benefits to using quote comparison websites over other methods, in addition to the fact that they don’t require driving around for a week or the use of a phone book.
Benefits to Buying Online
Online quote comparison sites are easy to use and very user-friendly. You only have to fill out one online application in order to receive multiple quotes.
You can search for car insurance at any time of the day or night, and it doesn’t matter where you search from as long as you have a computer and Internet access.
Many people prefer using quote comparison sites online as it avoids the pressure to buy right away that can accompany speaking with an agent.However, you also have the option of contacting an agent if you have further questions about a particular quote.
Aside from saving a lot of time, one of the greatest benefits of using quote comparison sites is that you can get quotes from smaller, unknown car insurance companies that don’t advertise like the big companies but might have better rates.
Furthermore, you have no obligation to buy if you don’t want to. The array of quotes you receive will allow you to see the full range of prices available. That range can be quite a lot, according to a 2012 study conducted by the Consumer Federation of America. In the study, quotes from the four largest car insurance providers ranged from $762 to $3,390 for the same woman living in the same city looking for exactly the same coverage.
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