Every driver wants to strike a balance when it comes to insuring their vehicles. We all want to pay as little as possible. Indeed, some may be resentful there’s a mandate for liability insurance when unemployment remains so high and the pay offered by employers is low. The problem is cheap insurance usually means poor value. Yes, you get some cover, but there are likely to be problems in the small print of the policies and the claims process is often difficult to get through. Insurers prefer to take your money and not pay out. The more difficult it is to make a profit, the more difficult it is to get full value on a claim. So it’s better to pay a little more. This buys better terms in the policy and a more sympathetic welcome when you make a claim. That said, how do you get the most affordable rates?
It all starts with your own safety record. If you’re involved in multiple accidents and claim large sums of money, the insurer will either hike the rates or refuse further cover. The same applies if you’re suddenly caught for some more serious moving violations. In some states, picking up any ticket entitles the insurer to surcharge, i.e. add an extra fee for continuing the insurance. With convictions for driving while intoxicated or under the influence, you instantly become a high-risk driver. Insurers will cancel the policy if you pick up more than an average number of criminal convictions. Remember the insurer checks your claims record and has access to the public records of criminal convictions, so it does no good to lie on your application. Once the dishonesty is recognized, the insurer will either refuse cover or cancel the policy. In some states, the safety record extends to all the members in a family. So although you and your partner may be safe, any children or relatives who regularly drive your vehicles can pull down the rating.
Then check out the discounts. Most insurers reduce the rates if you insure more than one vehicle or package the auto and home insurance together. Going back to your safety record, you earn a discount if you stay safe, making no claim and picking up no tickets. You may also be rewarded if you’re a non-smoker, have a good credit score and have a good GPA as a student. Now look at the safety of the vehicle itself. Some makes and models have better safety records and lower rates. If you have seat belts, passenger airbags and anti-lock brakes, there are usually discounts on the elements of the policy covering personal injuries. If in doubt, talk to an agent of the insurer or pick up the telephone and ask what discounts are available. Another standard strategy is to accept a higher deductible. Before you agree to this, ask yourself whether you could afford the cash payments if there are several accidents in a short period of time. Play your cards right and you should receive lower car insurance quotes. If the rates still seem high on the first set of quotes, change some of your decisions on make and model, the amount of the deductible, etc. Hopefully, the next set of car insurance quotes will be lower.