Car insurance is a significant operating cost, especially for large families, those with low credit scores, and drivers with imperfect track records. But with some work, there are ways to lower car insurance costs.
Here, we present 10 strategies to consider.
1. Do an Annual Rate Check
If you’ve been with the same insurer a long time, it might be tough to beat its rates, especially if you haven’t filed any claims lately. In fact, a 2014 survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center found that only 10 percent of 19,000 CR.org subscribers who compared premiums found they would save money by switching.
2. Pick a Top-Rated Insurer
Saving money isn’t simply a matter of finding the lowest premium. Some insurers have lower premiums but end up costing you more in the end by lowballing loss estimates, hassling repair shops to cut corners, and forcing you to pay extra for original-equipment replacement parts. They might even unfairly jack up your premiums after an accident.
We surveyed 64,872 CR.org subscribers in 2014. Eighty-eight percent of them were highly satisfied with the handling of their claims. Among the highest-rated groups were USAA, Amica, and NJM, with overall satisfaction scores of 90 or higher.
3. Set the Right Deductible
A higher deductible reduces your premium because you pay more out of pocket if you have a claim. Hiking your deductible from $200 to $500 can cut your premium on collision by 15 to 30 percent. Go to $1,000 and you could save 40 percent.
If you have a good driving record and haven’t had an at-fault accident in years—if ever—opting for a higher deductible on collision might be a good bet. Just make sure you can afford to pay that cost if your luck runs out.
4. Review All of Your Coverage
Your liability coverage pays for bodily injury and property damage that you cause. Don’t get caught short by reducing your liability limits to the state minimums. Buying more coverage might seem like an odd way to save, but the benefit comes if you have a costly claim, which can put your life’s savings at risk.
If you have another car you can use while your vehicle is being repaired, you don’t need to pay for rental-reimbursement coverage. Dump roadside assistance if you have an auto-club membership that’s a better deal or if it’s part of your new car’s warranty.
Think carefully about personal-injury protection and medical-payments coverage. Forget it if you have good health coverage; keep it if you don’t or if your usual passengers aren’t well-insured.
See full story at www.consumerreports.org