Saving Money on Your Auto Insurance

In the state of Washington everyone who drives a motor vehicle is required to have some form of guarantee of financial responsibility.  For most that means a basic liability insurance policy and more.  With a few simple steps, you can probably save yourself some money.  Here are some ways to save:

Rates for comparable coverage can vary by hundreds of dollars for six months of coverage.  While you have probably heard it before, do some comparison shopping – or let your Washington auto insurance professional do it for you. Independent agents like Homer Smith Insurance sell the insurance of various different companies and are well equipped to help you evaluate your options.

Ask about available discounts.  They can vary widely by company and by state. You should ask about: Loyalty Discounts, Safety Discounts, Association & Group Discounts, Combination Discounts, Defensive-Driving Classes, Good-Student Discounts and Retirement Discounts.  Combination discounts are a good argument for working with an independent insurance professional who can help you seek a good combination of packages for home and auto.

Keep a clean sheet.  One quick way to increase your car insurance costs is to have an accident or get a ticket for a moving violation. These will add points to your license and increase your insurance costs. Accidents increase premiums by changing your risk profile to current and potential insurers.

Gauge your personal risk tolerance.  You will pay your deductible out of pocket before your insurance starts picking up the tab when making a claim for collision and comprehensive coverage (not liability). This is the insurance that specifically covers your car. You can cut your premium dramatically by increasing your deductible. You need to consider what you can afford.

If you have an older car, consider dropping collision and comprehensive coverage altogether.  A rule of thumb is to consider dropping collision when your car is worth less than 10 times the amount you’d pay for coverage.  If any claim settlement wouldn’t substantially exceed your premiums minus the deductible, then the insurance may not be worth the cost. 

Your credit report can affect your insurance rate. The difference between an excellent credit rating and a poor rating could mean a 30% difference in premium.  Get a copy of your credit report and keep an eye out for any errors or omitted information that could negatively affect your score.

If you are buying a new car, the cars with the highest theft rates and repair costs will cost more to insure. If you are debating models, call your insurance agent to see if there is a difference in the insurance costs.

Look for group discounts — credit unions, employers, professional organization or financial institutions may give you access to discounts. 

Finally, when you talk to your insurance professional, ask about other discounts you may qualify for, such as low-mileage driving, the installation of car security devices or completion of defensive-driving courses.

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