HOUSTON – If you had to renew your auto insurance last year, you probably got a bill for at least 10% more than you paid last year for the same or less coverage. Hopefully you didn’t just pony up the extra cash and renew your insurance, because there are several “ways to save” on auto insurance. We are looking for what you need to do.
How can I save on car insurance?
Almost all major auto insurance carriers have been approved to raise rates this year. It may seem like you’re being fined if you haven’t even filed any lawsuits. But with a little homework, you can save money or at least not pay more.
You can drive the same car on the same streets without accidents. But your premiums have increased significantly.
“Anywhere from the low end, eight to 10 percent, all the way up to 20 percent, you’re going to see rates go up,” said Jessica Fuentes of Brazos Insurance Agency in Richmond.
#1 Always shop around for the best car insurance options
Fuentes said one of the biggest mistakes you can make is not shopping around.
“Never just pay for an upgrade, always try to buy it again,” she explained.
Independent brokers like Fuentes can check rates at multiple companies for you for free.
“Let us do the work, you know, we’ll go through all the different quotes, we’ll show you the top three and you can decide which one best fits your needs,” Fuentes said.
It may be worth checking with different brokerages as they often work with different companies.
#2 In addition to brokers, contact companies directly
Did you know that agents who work directly for insurance companies like Allstate or State Farm can offer you policies that independent brokers can’t? So check both.
Here we’ve covered what you need to know when making changes to your car insurance. So check this before making those calls.
#3 Think about the lifestyle changes you made when purchasing car insurance
Even if you drive the same car, think about what has changed since the last update. Do you now work from home and drive less? You can get a discount for low mileage.
“If you drive less than I believe 8,000 miles a year, then you qualify for a low mileage discount with most carriers. So you should mention this to your agents,” explained Fuentes.
Do you have a child away from college on your policy? If the car is not taken away, you can get a discount. If they have taken their car and have good grades, such as a 3.0 GPA or higher, they may qualify for a good student discount.
#4 Monitor your credit score
Have you recently improved your credit score? It can also save you money.
“For most major carriers, they check what’s called an insurance rating, which is pretty loosely tied to your credit score. So if you have better credit, your insurance will reflect that and you will have better rates,” Fuentes said.
#5 Consider letting insurance companies monitor your driving
Monitoring apps and devices that allow insurance companies to see how you drive can also save you up to 20%. They’re called telematics, and Fuentes says some carriers will even give you a discount upfront just for trying it. But make sure you are a really good driver.
“Do you do a lot of quick acceleration? Do you do a lot of hard breaks? And what time of day are you driving? So if you drive a lot late at night, this might not be the best option for you,” she explained.
RELATED: Learn more about letting companies track your driving.
Should I accept car insurance quotes in the mail?
Fuentes said one of the biggest mistakes consumers make when it comes to car insurance is accepting car insurance quotes you get in the mail, calling the company and saying sign me up without making sure the coverage and deductibles the same as you have now.
Consider paperless invoicing, payment in full
And while you’ll save some money by opting for automatic payment and paperless billing, you’ll save the most if you can pay off your policy in full instead of making monthly payments.
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