Car insurance is not a fixed cost, and if you have a good driving record, you could save money on it, says Jeanne Salvatore, senior vice president and chief communications officer of the Insurance Information Institute (www.iii.org).
• Comparative shopping doesn’t hurt, but make sure you are comparing apples to apples with pricing and coverage. On the other hand, if you’ve had claims that your company handled fantastically, think twice before switching.
• To choose a financially stable company, check ratings through Standard & Poor’s.
• At least once a year, call your agent. Make sure you know what you are, and are not, covered for. Ask your agent point blank if you are getting all available discounts.
• Let your agent know when your driving habits have changed. If you’ve joined a car pool, moved closer to work, or if your teenager has moved away from home, your rates may reduce.
• Before buying a new car, call your agent and ask how much it’s going to cost to insure that car. You might be surprised at the different rates for different cars. An expensive car will be more expensive to replace or repair, so your comprehensive and collision will be more expensive. The insurance company will also look at how protective the car is for you, the driver, as well as the amount of damage it can inflict on another car from a liability standpoint.
• For comprehensive and collision, consider paying a higher deductible. Going to a $1,000 deductible may save you up to 40 percent.
• For an older car, reconsider what you pay for comprehensive and collision. Do the arithmetic. Look at how much are you paying for your insurance and how much you’d get back if you were in an accident.
• Buying both your homeowners insurance and your auto insurance from the same company may gain you better rates.
• Maintain a good credit history. Many insurance companies use credit-based insurance scores, and will offer you better rates if your credit is good. Check your credit report now.