Does it remind you of the “phone wars” of the 1980s?
How many times have we seen commercials promising that we can save big on car insurance in “just fifteen minutes” – or less?
I don’t believe in quick fixes. After learning the hard way for several years, I have come to realize what it really takes to get a better rate on my auto insurance without compromising coverage or service.
Get Older, Get Wiser, and Slow Down
In my mid-20s, I pretty much thought I was indestructible. Two speeding tickets in 2004 and a serious at-fault accident in 2006 changed all of that. As I slept upright in my living room recliner due to a broken collarbone, I contemplated how totaling my vehicle and being maxed out on points on my driver’s license was about to affect my insurance rate. I realized that I needed to get serious about safe driving.
I didn’t take a driving class – no time for that. I did make a conscious decision to be a better driver. As time passed, good things began to happen. The speeding points came off my license by the next summer. In 2009, the points from the accident followed suit. In both cases, my annual premium dropped significantly. I got married in August, 2009 and when we combined our policies, we experienced a net savings. It has been said that time heals all wounds. In the insurance world, time and good, stable decision-making makes your rate drop.
Combine Auto and Home / Make Payments in Lump Sums
I bundled my auto and home insurance through my local agent. My current Auto/Home discount is worth about $180 per year. The insurance company also allows for a small discount when paying all at once, instead of making monthly payments. It’s not much – maybe $4 per payment – but why pay the company $48 a year to process payments? Simply by planning ahead and combining plans / budgeting effectively, I’m saving more than $225 a year.
Increase the Deductible
Insurance is, at heart, something of a gamble. Before signing on the dotted line, we all ask ourselves the question: “How likely is it that I’ll actually be in an accident?” We hope that we will rack up enough years of good driving so that our future deductible payment will pay for itself in realized discounts in the event something unpleasant does occur. I raised my deductible from $250 to $500 and realized a significant savings.
I don’t like minimum coverage and I want the security and customer service inherent in dealing with a local agent. For me, the alternative has proven to be precarious – so part of the price is out of my control. But what I can control is what I believe is still the tried and true way of reducing my rate: Driving safely over a long period of time and structuring my policy to be as fiscally reasonable as possible.