Your Road Map to Auto Insurance Success
By Diane Tait
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While my agency carries a full line of personal and commercial insurance, the type of insurance that we sell the most of is auto insurance. One of the reasons we sell so many auto policies is being an independent agency means we can query more than 50 insurance companies in order to find the best auto coverage at the best price.
In fact, it’s price that drives most people to shop their auto policies. That being said, basing your coverage on price alone isn’t always the best policy. That’s why I thought I’d dedicate this week’s blog to giving you a road map to help you navigate the ins and outs of auto insurance.
1. How low can you go? – For many consumers, the first words out of their mouth when they talk to me about their auto insurance is, “What’s the lowest price you can give me?” What I usually tell them is there are a number of ways to lower their premiums. But before I do that I’d like to ask a few questions.
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2. What’s your driving record like? – Like it or not, if you have points on your record or have had an accident where you were the at-fault driver within the past few years, this is going to tend to jack up your insurance rate no matter which insurer you turn to. (That is, if any insurer will have you.)
3. How high is your credit score? – I know you may think that your credit score has nothing to do with your ability to drive, but that’s not the way insurance companies see it. If you have a low credit rating, insurers see you as a higher risk than those with high credit scores. This means if you want to get a lower rate, it could be as simple as doing what it takes to raise your credit score.
4. How much is your deductible? – While having a lower deductible means you will have to shell out less out of pocket when you make a claim, if you hardly ever or have never made a claim, raising your deductible will lower your premiums by as much as 40%. Raising your deductible from $200 to $500 could reduce the collision and comprehensive costs by 15-25%. Raising the deductible to $1,000 will reduce it even more.
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5. Where do you park your car? – Another factor that affects your rates is where you park your car. Do you park your vehicle in the garage at night or on the street? How safe or crime ridden is your neighborhood? What kind of anti-theft devices do you have on your vehicle. By adjusting any of the above-mentioned factors, you could see your premiums drop without reducing coverage one bit.
6. How far do you drive your car? – Newsflash: The average American drives their vehicle 12,000 miles per year. If you drive significantly less, tell your insurance agent about it and you could save 10-15% on your premiums.
7. How often do you pay your insurance bills? – Another way to save is to pay your premiums every six months instead of every month. While your insurer is only too happy to provide convenient monthly payments, if you add up the payments, you’ll be able to plainly see that they are adding on “convenience fees” that cost you big.
8. What other kinds of insurance coverage do you currently have? – Another way to save on auto insurance is to bundle your other insurance policies under a single carrier. Many providers offer discounts to those who consolidate their policies. Want to save money on auto insurance? Talk to your insurance agent about consolidating your homeowner’s, RV/boat, and auto policies under one carrier. You might be surprised at the savings.
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9. Have you asked your agent about discounts? – Believe it or not, many major insurers offer numerous discounts that you may not be aware of. If you are a veteran, a member of a club or organization, a student with above average grades, a new driver who has successfully completed a driver-training course, or a senior who has recently taken a refresher driving course, you could qualify for one or more discounts.
10. Are you thinking about buying a new car? – Here’s one that most people miss. If it’s time to buy a new or used car, tell your insurance agents the make, model and year you are considering to have them provide a quote. If the price seems too steep, ask your agent for suggestions to help you find a ride that won’t take you for a ride.
11. When’s the last time you had your coverage reviewed? – One thing you can be assured of is that your insurance agent has a wealth of information at the tip of his or her fingers. If it’s been several years since you’ve had your insurance policies reviewed, there’s no time like the present.
12. Should you eliminate certain types of coverage? – While eliminating certain types of your coverage can seem like a quick way to reduce the cost of your policy, you don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot. While it’s advisable to eliminate roadside coverage from your policy if your auto lease covers this, what you don’t want to do is eliminate uninsured motorist coverage, or some other vital portion of your policy without discussing the ramifications with your agent. After all, while you may not have had to submit a claim for years, the last thing you want to do is water down your coverage just before the storm hits.
If you still need help determining if you have the right auto insurance coverage at the right price, call your insurance agent or call Diane Tait at (904) 388-5494.
Diane Tait owns and operates A&B Insurance. To find out more about how you can save money on auto insurance, go to or fill out the form at right.