If you are shopping for car insurance, you know there are dozens of auto insurance companies advertising the lowest rates and best policies. The car insurance market is fragmented and state-regulated, so it can be difficult to know if you are getting the best deal. Here are some tips to find the cheapest deals on car insurance.
1) Use multiple comparison sites
Your first stop should be websites that allow you to compare car insurance quotes from different companies. The two largest sites, Insurance.com, ask for your information once, then transmit a request for a quote to different insurance companies. In most cases, you will be presented with an immediate quote from each of the largest car insurance companies.
These sites allow to save substantial time by receiving multiple quotes after entering your information just once. In addition, because you can see the quotes from different insurance companies, you can easily find a cheap deal for your particular policy. You can adjust features of your policy and see how a higher deductible or increased coverage will change your quote.
Note that comparison shopping websites make money by receiving a commission on every policy that is sold through one of their quotes. This means they only provide quotes from insurance companies that offer a commission on sale. Many small, regional insurance companies do not offer kickbacks and are thus not listed on comparison websites. If you live in a rural location or have very specific needs, you may want to visit the websites of your local insurance companies to receive more detailed quotes.
2) Check for discounts
All major U.S. car insurance companies participate in discount programs. Some programs, such as retired military or credit union membership, are open only to a select group. Others, such as AAA or AARP, are open to a much larger audience. The three best options for discount car insurance are your employer, your school, and your financial institution. Nearly all automobile drivers can find some time of discount policy through one of these organizations.
Once you determine which discount programs you eligible for, you should call the insurance company that has the cheapest quote on a comparison shopping website. After providing your information, you can tell the representative that you were quoted a specific rate online and verify that you will be eligible for that same rate over the phone. Once the representative has verified the quoted rate, you can take advantage of your membership discount. In most cases the discount will apply on top of the already-low rate that was generated by the system based on your online comparison shopping.
3) Adjust your policy
You can save hundreds of dollars a year on your car insurance policy by opting for a higher deductible or reducing collision and comprehensive coverage on older cars. For drivers with a clean record and decent credit score, increasing your deductible is a smart way to get a cheaper deal on car insurance. Because every subsequent insurance claim will raise your future cost of insurance, it is unwise to file multiple claims for small amounts of money. A higher deductible will allow you to avoid using insurance for minor issues that can be covered out of pocket and save you money every year on premiums.
For old cars, the cost of one year of collision and comprehensive coverage will often exceed 50% of the market value of the car. Unless you have a history of frequent accidents and auto thefts, it makes financial sense to eliminate coverage on an older car and save the premium. Most policies allow you to adjust specific features of your car insurance and see how much reducing collision and comprehensive coverage can save you over the year.
Remember that the car insurance market is state-specific and that policies are quoted for specific cars and drivers. In the long-run, the best way to save money on car insurance is to maintain good credit, avoid accidents and insurance claims, and drive a non-luxury car. Any driver can find the cheapest deals on car insurance by shopping online, checking for discounts, and adjusting their policy.