I am an auto insurance broker in the state of California. I have many years of experience as an auto insurance agent and broker and through the years, I have figured out all ways to save money on your auto insurance.
I have decided to share my secrets to saving money on your auto insurance because I don’t believe that it’s fair for people to pay more money for their auto insurance just because they don’t know that they’re eligible for a certain discount or maybe because they don’t know a certain discount even exists!
I hope I don’t get in trouble for sharing all my secrets but I feel it’s only fair. (Maybe not for insurance companies but for the general public.) Insurance companies have enough money anyway! I believe insurance companies are among the wealthiest companies in the world. Why do you think that is? Thats because they rake in those expensive premiums that you pay for your auto insurance.
Well, here are my secrets revealed; You might want to take some notes or even print this out that way the next time you obtain an auto insurance quote, you can reference this article and make sure you get all your available discounts.
First of all, most companies will ask for basic information for the purpose of obtaining your auto insurance quote such as name, gender, date of birth, marital status, zip code, whether you have current or prior auto insurance, how long have you been licensed (driving experience), driving record history (tickets and accidents), commute distance to work and annual mileage, occupation and type of use (personal or commercial), make and model of vehicle, alarms and equipment on vehicle, and coverage desired.
When people obtain auto insurance quotes, they just answer the questions being asked by the representatives, but have no idea why the questions are being asked. What does being single or married have to do with getting an auto insurance quote? Well, all questions being asked will affect your rate. I am going to explain why all those questions effect your rate and I am going to tell you what answers will give you the best rate.
I am simply going to tell you what answers will give you the best rates; however, I do not suggest giving false information when obtaining a quote. It is important to give accurate answers but at the same time, it is important to know what answers will give you the best rates because if you don’t currently fall into the “low rate” categories, you might in the future and since you know, you will want to contact your insurance company to inform them of any changes that will help you save money.
I am going to go step by step explaining each question asked by insurance agents and I will explain what answers give lowest rates.
1. Gender- Most insurance companies offer cheaper rates for females due to statistics. Less accidents have resulted from females vs males. Could it be because most of the time, if a couple is in a vehicle, the male will usually drive? Could it be because a housewife will not have the usual commute a husband would have driving back and forth to work every day?
2. Date of Birth- Roughly, the early ages will generate a higher cost for insurance. Rates will lower as a driver matures; however, rates increase again as a driver reaches the later years such as 60’s and up.
3. Marital Status- Generally, a married driver will have a cheaper rate than a single driver. This, again, is due to statistics. Single drivers have a higher loss percentage. Could this be because a married couple have drive less than a single, more active driver? Some insurance companies will allow you to receive the married rate if you live with your “significant other” under common law marriage or they may give you the married rate if you are a single parent. Be sure to ask if you fall under any other the above categories. If you purchase your policy when you are single and get married midterm, be sure to contact your insurance company to get your “married rate”.
4. Zip Code- Zip codes do affect your rates. This again is based on statistics of a particular city. Some cities may be congested with traffic and may have more accidents than others. Some cities may have more theft than others, ect. In general, the more a city is congested, the higher the rates are.
5. Current or Prior Insurance- Some insurance companies will give you a discount if you have current insurance or have had an insurance policy recently cancel within the past 30 days. If you have had an insurance policy within the last 30 days, be sure to inform your insurance agent because most agents will not ask you unless you tell them.
6. Driving Experience- The length of time you have been licensed is an important factor in determining a rate. There longer you’ve had your license, the cheaper your rate. If you have had a license in another state, be sure to include that in your driving experience. Even if you were licensed in another country, it can be used to add to your driving experience although proof may be required.
7. Tickets and Accidents- Of course tickets and accidents affect your rate; however, tickets will not affect you until the violation is published on your driving record. Usually not until you go to traffic court or pay your violation. If you purchase your insurance policy before you go to court or pay your violation, it may not affect your rate until you renew your policy. (usually one year) As far as accidents go, there are three ways to rate an accident: At fault with injury, at fault with no injury, and not at fault. They all produce different rates in the order listed from highest to cheapest. If you were at fault, but there was less that $750.00 of damage, you may be able to list it as non-fault so be sure to let them know.
10. Commute distance to work and annual mileage- There farther you drive to work, the more expensive your auto insurance may be. If you carpool or use alternative methods of commuting to work such as a work vehicle or you take a bus, be sure to inform your agent because this will help lower your rates.
11. Occupation and vehicle use- Occupation will affect your rate. Some occupations are even unacceptable by insurance companies. One such occupation is pizza delivery. Since most pizza delivery drivers are on a time restraint, insurance companies see it as a high risk occupation and will decline coverage. Some occupations will be acceptable but may classify your vehicle use as “commercial” or “artesian” use which will generate a high premium. One example is a real estate agent. A real estate agent drives during work vs. a machine operator stays in one location during work and is less exposed to an accident. An example of artesian use is an electrician using his vehicle to drive to work locations. Again, the electrician is using the vehicle during work and is more exposed to an accident. If you fall under the above categories but drive a company vehicle, you may be exempt from the extra cost of falling into those categories. On the good side, some auto insurance companies may give discounts for drivers with college degrees or if you are a student with a “B” or higher average you may qualify for a good student discount.
12. Make and Model of Vehicle- Some vehicle are generally expensive to insure. One such vehicle is a Ford Mustang. Although it is fairly inexpensive to purchase, it can be expensive to insure due to its “sports” performance. It is a good idea to quote a vehicle for insurance before purchasing it as I have seen people have to return their vehicles because after purchasing the vehicle, they couldn’t afford the auto insurance. Four door vehicle are usually a bit cheaper to insure than two door vehicles. Usually 4wd vehicle can be higher to insure vs. 2wd vehicles. High end vehicles such as BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, Jaguar of course can be more expensive to insure than your average vehicle. Bottom line, quote the auto insurance before buying the vehicle.
13. Alarms and Equipment- Auto insurance companies may offer discounts for vehicles with low jack or alarm systems. If your vehicle has one, be sure to let your agent know. Some companies will offer discounts for airbags and other safety features as well.
14. Other- There are other discounts that you can take advantage of. If you have more than one vehicle, be sure to insure them all on one policy to get your “multi-car” discount which can be 20% or more. If you are a home owner, some insurance companies can offer “home owner” discounts. If you have taken a driver’s safety course you may be eligible for a discount as well. Also if you keep your vehicle parked in a locked garage over night, be sure to ask if you can get a discount.
15. Online Car Insurance- Many insurance companies offer Online Auto Insurance which can be less expensive than your traditional auto insurance policy purchased in an office location. This is because if you buy auto insurance online, insurance companies have less overhead because the policy is “paperless” and all the savings will be transferred to you. Compare auto insurance quotes online. Some websites offer one simple process for quotes from multiple well known auto insurance companies and you can even buy the policy online.