More and more, car insurance is becoming an unwanted, added expense to drivers in Florida. In the 12 years I have been selling insurance, I've seen the rates for car insurance increase significantly. As an agent, I can't necessarily lower a company's rates, but I can try to help my clients understand how car insurance works and what discounts are available to help save them money, while having good coverage with a dependable company. Here are 6 real ways to save money on car insurance:
I know it sounds crazy, but being married is one of the biggest discounts a person can receive! Not only being married, but also having multiple cars on an auto insurance policy, makes the cost of the insuring each vehicle cheaper. I give quotes all the time for married couples that have their own individual insurance policies with one vehicle on each separate policy. More times than not, if I can convince the couple to buy a policy with both the husband and wife listed as drivers, and both vehicles on the policy, it is drastically cheaper than keeping the two separate.
Buy a Home
Many people can't afford to buy a home, but similar to the marriage discount, it is one of the largest discounts a person can receive on their car insurance policy.
Credit... Credit... Credit!
Over the past few years, credit more and more is playing a vital role in how much people pay for car insurance and even homeowners insurance. I don't like it, but it is what it is! In fact, credit has become more important in rating a policy than a person's driving record. Imagine that I were to rate the same person twice, first with a perfect driving record and a terrible credit rating, and then again with an excellent credit rating and a couple of violations on their driving record. The person with the excellent credit rating will most assuredly be cheaper – it's that important! So if a client has poor credit, I always advise them to do the best they can to improve their credit score. It will save them thousands of dollars in just car insurance in the long term, but also will save them even more in other areas as well.
Pay in Full
We have several car insurance companies that will give pretty big discounts when our clients elect to pay their six month policy premium in full. It can vary from 10% - 20% in savings. Ask your agent how much you can save if you pay your policy in full.
History of Prior Insurance
A lot of the insurance companies that we represent give discounts when our clients have had insurance for over 6 months with out the policy lapsing or canceling. The discount is generally even better the longer they have had the prior insurance. The discount usually peaks at over 3 years. So if you've had a policy for over 3 years, there are several companies out there that will give a nice discount for your consistency in having prior insurance.
Upgrade your Bodily Injury Limits
This one seems contradictory on the surface, but it's not! When a person elects to carry higher Bodily Injury liability, the initial costs are more, but over time this can save them money. Some companies will not even offer you a policy unless you have at least 50/100 in Bodily Injury liability. The companies' discounts on prior insurance tend to be tiered. They will give a small discount if you have prior insurance, but with the lowest limits. The higher your prior insurance Bodily Injury Liability limits are, the bigger the discount you will receive. Over time, this could even make a policy with higher limits cheaper than what you might have been paying if you kept the minimum limits.
Unfortunately, most car insurance discounts these days have nothing to do with the car a person drives or even the way they drive. Of course having violations and accidents will hurt the price of anyone's car insurance, but the six items I have listed more often than not will play a larger role in what someone pays for car insurance.