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If you’re driving a car in the United States, you have to have insurance. That’s just the way it goes. And if you’re going to be getting a bill each month for a policy, you may as well be paying as little as possible.
Naturally, you want to also get broad, high-quality coverage from a reputable insurer. Certain providers may also be more desirable to buy from for other reasons as well. But by and large, you should be searching for a policy that gets you everything you need for the lowest premium.
But how do you find the right option? What questions do you need to ask? How do you get some savings without sacrificing coverage? Ultimately, what should you be looking for to understand auto insurance costs?
You don’t need to become the world’s foremost expert. But if you start with the following four questions, you should be on your way to getting a great policy.
Check the questions out
1. How Often Do You Drive?
As a rule, the less you drive, the lower the risk that you’ll get in an accident. Insurance companies have long benefited from this fact, raking in premiums from people who only drive a few thousand miles a year and never get in so much as a fender bender. Now, however, consumers have some recourse to share in these savings and pay a fairer rate. To find a lower rate, look for insurers — or call your current provider — to see if you qualify based upon distance driven over a certain duration.
2. How Well Do You Drive?
Beyond distance, many insurers offer something else that falls into this “usage based insurance” discount category. Specifically, it aims to give lower rates to people who drive well. To potentially qualify, all you do is put a trial device from certain insurers in your car and let it track your behavior for a specified amount of time. By analyzing the “telematics” data from the device, the company can then see your braking, acceleration, turning, and other tendencies to know if you should be getting this good driver benefit.
3. Are You Eligible?
Auto insurance policies may seem like a commodity. But premium rates aren’t necessarily monolithic. Yes, your location, age, and driving record will have an impact on how much you pay. But there are other ways to find savings as well. Teachers, for example, may be eligible for discounts from certain providers, and the same goes for attorneys who are members of some state bar associations. And military members and veterans, as well as their families, can qualify for great auto insurance policies through USAA. Consider your profession or other affiliations and do some searching around to see if you fall into an eligible category.
4. Has Anything Changed?
Even if you don’t change companies or policies, you may be able to find some savings. Getting a new car, or even a used car with certain safety features, often leads to a premium discount. You may be able to get similar rate cuts for installing anti-theft devices, including VIN etching or vehicle recovery systems. The only catch here is that this may not kick in automatically. So updating your info might not be enough. Be sure to call a company rep and specifically ask if any of these discounts apply.
What to Look for to Understand Your Coverage Options
The insurance world is full of jargon. Premiums, deductibles, liability, comprehensive, underinsured … the list goes on and on and on.
There’s no need to learn every detail. But you can benefit by picking up a few facts here and there. Start by asking and researching the right questions to see if you can benefit from usage based insurance, good-driver discounts, policies available to military members, or new and safe car savings.
Paying less on insurance means you will have more money in your pocket for the things in life that you actually care about. So look around today to see if there are some ways to lower your costs.