Cheap Insurance: Everything You Need To Know About Car Insurance And Getting The
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If you live in the United States you are required by law to have minimum insurance coverage while driving and each state has their own guidelines. With the cost of living going up it becomes tempting to drive without it especially if you’re not aware of all the discounts available to keep those costs down; this is strongly advised against because you’ll face hefty fines and license suspension if you get caught and possible legal fees and medical bills if you are in an accident.
We know shopping for car insurance comes with a lot of questions and sometimes very vague answers so we want to make the process a little bit easier.
If you’re completely new to buying car insurance or need a refresher continue reading below otherwise you can scroll down as needed.
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Part 1: Understanding The Factors That Affect Your Auto Insurance Premium
When it comes to calculating your insurance premium (your monthly car insurance rate), companies go by statistical data and models that help them evaluate how likely you are to get in an accident or make a claim.
Your Zip Code:
Where you live has a huge determination on your insurance rate; if you live in a small town or out in a rural area you may get a significantly better rate compared to living in a large and overpopulated urban city or metro area where there is a much higher risk of auto collision.
Another location based factor that goes into calculating your premium is whether or not your zip code is known to have a high rate of auto theft, vandalism, fraudulent claims, and weather/storm related claims.
Your Age, Gender, and Marital Status:
- Age: Unfortunately you can’t control this and if you’re under 25 you’ll just have to deal with a higher rate. Why? Young new drivers have been categorized as the riskiest to insure simply because of how careless and easily distracted they are behind the wheel.
- With the continuing rise of smartphone ownership projected to grow to 96.72% amongst those aged 12-24 there is an increased risk of driving while distracted which accounts for the current 1 out 4 accidents that occur by texting while driving.
- During this probation period until you turn 25 you can still save money by taking advantage of discounts such as defensive driving discount, low mileage discount, good student discount, student away at school discount, and much more. If you want to learn more on these you can scroll to the Discounts section.
- Gender: According to a DUI study in 2010, men accounted for 77.6% DUI arrests and in 2012, 23% of male drivers were in fatal car accidents while speeding compared to only 14% of women. With these types of statistics it helps insurers justify their pricing bias against male drivers since they are seen as the higher risk driver.
- Marital Status: When it comes to determining your premium insurers also take into consideration whether you’re married or single with the former getting you a lower rate. Why? A 2004 study conducted by the National Institutes of Health concluded that drivers who have never been married had double the risk of getting in an accident than their married counterparts.
Your Driving Record:
If you’re safe driver then it only makes sense that you’ll be rewarded with a better rate by remaining accident free or without at-fault casualties. If your driving record contains multiple infractions or tells a story of unsafe driving habits then it will label you as a high-risk driver which can deny you coverage insurance companies or make you settle for extremely high premiums.
- Traffic Tickets: While non-moving violations such as neglecting to insert a quarter in parking meter will have very little impact on your premium, moving violations such as running a red light, failing to yield, turning into the wrong lane, and speeding can raise your insurance premium significantly especially if you’re a young driver. While some states prohibit rate hikes for first time offenders, you can expect to see your rate escalate for each infraction you accumulate. For speeding tickets, the higher your speed above the speed limit will determine your rate increase.
- DUI/DWI Infraction: DUI/DWIs are the worst infractions you can receive behind the wheel which will result in jail time, state fines, and cause your premium to skyrocket and possibly disqualify you for insurance renewal with your current company. If you are a high risk driver, there are ways to improve your rate.
Your Claims History (CLUE Reports): All major auto insurance companies make a monthly loss report to CLUE which is a database of insurance claims managed by LexisNexis. Clue is functions similar to a credit bureau that tracks your “loss history” up to seven years. Your loss history consists of:
- Personal information
- Claims paid: amount of times your current or previous insurer had to pay for a claim
- Denied claims: amount of times your current or previous insurer didn’t pay out for a claim
- Inquiries: any serious inquiry you’ve made to your agent or adjuster
Since your CLUE reports hold major weight on deciding your premium you can request, review, and dispute items included in your report. The Fair Credit Report Act (FCRA) entitles you to a copy of a CLUE report once per year. It is also worth noting that not all companies use the CLUE database, the alternative is A-PLUS reports by Verisk.
If you need to get a copy of your claims history reports you can use the following links and phone numbers:
Your Credit History: Even with a perfect driving record and zero tickets you can get surprisingly high premium if you have a bad credit score. This is a practice called price optimization and is only banned in a couple of states including Florida, Indiana, California, Ohio, Vermont, and Washington. What are the biggest factors insurers look into when it comes to determining your rate off your credit history?
- Number of accounts in collection
- If you have high levels of debt
- High number of credit inquiries
- Short credit history
- If you pay your bills on time
You can get a free copy of your credit report once per year under the Fair Credit Report Act (FCRA) to dispute any misinformation that could affect your monthly premium.
Part 2: The Fundamentals Of Shopping For Cheap Insurance
Car insurance shopping trends change but the fundamentals stay the same and you’re a first time buyer you need to be familiar with the following:
Choose Your Coverage Wisely – Most times you really won’t need full coverage if your car is completely paid off or your car is less than 10 years old but you should also not get the state bare minimum unless you have no savings, very few assets, and it’s all you can afford at the time . Do your research and get a second opinion on which type of coverage is best for you because getting the bare minimum to save money is a very risky decision in the long run.
When it comes to buying your coverage the numbers represent the maximum payout limits of your car insurance policy.
For example in Texas, the minimum requirements are 30/60/25 which equates to:
- Up to $30,000 per injured person
- Up to $60,000 total for all injured persons
- Up to $25,000 for damaged property
The recommended amount of coverage you should get are as follows:
- 50/100/50: If you are a college student, on a super tight budget, or have an older car then this is the recommended amount.
- 100/300/100: This is the rule of thumb recommended amount of coverage for anyone earning middle income with a decent amount of savings set aside. If you were to increase your coverage to this rate from 50/100/50 your premium won’t double which is a common misconception.
- 250/500/100: If you saved your nickels and dimes and know you are well off then this is the recommended coverage especially if you own an expensive home or a luxury vehicle.
What Are The Most Common Types Of Car Insurance Coverage?
- Liability (Required): This is mandatory in most states which covers third party personal injury, death-related claims, and property damage from the result of an auto accident. Getting the bare minimum isn’t recommended because you’ll be financially responsible for any damages that exceed your liability coverage. Liability insurance usually comes in two parts:
- Bodily Injury Liability: this coverage pays for any bodily injury damages to others when you’re responsible for a car accident including medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and for attorney and court costs if you are sued.
- Property Damage Liability: this coverage pays for any property damage that is caused as a result of being at-fault. This includes:vehicles, poles, landscaping, fences, fire hydrants, etc.
- Comprehensive: Comprehensive coverage pays for damages from the result of from events that are out of your control vandalism, theft, a tree falling over, natural disaster, fire, etc. This coverage pays out your car’s actual cash value (Car’s Purchase Price – Depreciation – Deductible = ACV). If your repairs exceed your car’s actual cash value then your insurer will claim it as a total loss and help you replace it.
- Collision: Collision coverage is mandatory if you’re leasing a car and optional if you’re renting one which covers your own auto repairs after being in an auto accident or pays the actual cash value of the car if it is considered a total loss.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM) [Highly Recommended]: With about 12.6% of all drivers that are in accidents being uninsured (that’s 1 in 8), according to the latest study by the Insurance Research Council in 2012, you should really protect yourself from having to pay car repairs and medical expenses out of pocket should you one day find yourself in this situation. Similar to liability coverage, there are two types of UM/UIM coverage:
- Bodily Injury UM/UIM: this coverage doesn’t have a deductible and pays for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and permanent or partial disability.
- Property Damage UM/UIM: this coverage pays for car repairs, car rentals, and damages to items inside of your car.
- Medical Payments Coverage: this is an add-on coverage that helps pay for medical, funeral, and dental care bills that result from an accident regardless of who was at-fault. Who does it cover? You, your family, passengers in your car, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
- Personal Injury Protection: this is an add-on coverage similar to Medical Payments Coverage in which it covers medical expenses and receive maximum benefits whether or not you were at at fault. This coverage is only available in no-fault states and a few no-fault optional states
- MPC vs PIP:
- PIP is required in most no-fault states and select few do not allow car insurance companies to sell MPC
- PIP also offers payments for 80 percent loss of income and the cost of hiring a caregiver if you are severely injured
- MPC vs PIP:
Don’t Overdo It At The Dealership – If you’re shopping for a car and are looking to save as much as possible on your insurance don’t get a flashy car. Even if you think you’re the safest driver ever, adjusters know which cars are deemed as “high risk” and likely to get in an accident or traffic ticket. It’s not personal, they just go by the numbers.
To get a better picture of how your choice of car can really affect your premiums here are two lists comparing the most expensive car insurance premiums vs the least expensive car insurance premiums.
The Least Expensive Cars To Insure (source)
1 Honda Odyssey LX $1,112/yr
2 Jeep Renegade Sport $1,138/yr
3 Jeep Wrangler Black Bear $1,148/yr
4 Honda CR-V LX $1,170/yr
5 Jeep Compass $1,183/yr
6 Subaru Outback 2.5l $1,187yr
7 Jeep Cherokee Sport $1,188/yr
8 Buick Encore (tie) $1,190/yr
8 Jeep Patriot Sport (tie) $1,190/yr
10 Subaru Forester 2.5l $1,196/yr
The Most Expensive Cars To Insure (source)
1 Mercedes S65 AMG (convertible) $3,835/yr
2 Dodge GTS Viper $3,779/yr
3 Mercedes S63 AMG 4Matic (convertible) $3,624/yr
4 Maserati Quattroporte GTS $3,547/yr
5 Mercedes S550 (convertible) $3,502/yr
6 Mercedes C43 4Matic (convertible) $3,418/yr
7 Mercedes Maybach S600 $3,355/yr
8 Mercedes SL65 AMG (convertible) $3,322/yr
9 Nissan GT-R Nismo $3,313/yr
10 Audi R8 5.2L V10 Quattro $3,267/yr
Voluntary Deductible Increase- If you know you’re a safe driver and have enough savings in your bank account for an emergency, you can opt-in to increase your deductible which will significantly decrease your premium. In Colorado alone by raising your deductible from $250 to $500 will result in 8% savings and raising it from $250 to $1,000 will result in 17.5%.
If you want to set aside those savings to cover your deductible you can use this Deductible Break Even Calculator
Find A Reputable Insurance Company
Don’t get baited by companies that offer ridiculous low insurance premiums but have a terrible payout rate. Whether you’re going local or going for one of the national brands, always look for reviews to see if the company has a consistent history of skimping out on covering repair or medical costs.
So you chose your car, you chose your coverage, and you have chosen your deductible; now it’s time to bring your premium even lower.
Most insurance companies provide a variety of discounts but sometimes fail to mention these to you unless you specifically ask about them. You may be eligible for several discounts so ask your agent for an explanation of all discounts they offer.
If you have to buy multiple insurance policies it doesn’t make sense to buy them from different insurers since most companies give you a deep discount for putting them all in one plan.
Bundle Up With Mom And Dad – If you’re still younger than 25 look into trying to get on your parent’s car insurance plan because more than likely you’ll be able to immediately reap the current benefits they receive and if they’re like most insurers they also offer a Multi-Car Discount that reduces the rate for everyone.
Defensive Driving Course – Some states reward drivers who take part of defensive driving (if you weren’t ordered by a judge) which can save you $100 per year for up to 3 years. You can even take them at the comfort of your own home if you do them online.
Occupational/Professional Group Discount – Some adjusters take into consideration your professional occupation that is statistically less likely to result in a collision.
Some of these occupations include:
- Police officers
- Registered Nurses
Qualifying professional membership discounts:
- Alumni Associations: Organizations from schools you have attended.
- Professional Organizations: Vocational groups that help you develop your career.
- Credit Unions: Depending on which credit union you have your account opened in you may qualify for this discount.
- Auto Clubs – Being part of the American Automobile Association or similar organizations
While not every insurance company has this, it is always worth to ask.
Are you out of school or recently changed to a new job that requires less commuting? If you drive less than the annual average, 12,000 miles, then notify your insurer to add more savings to your premium. This is perfect for those who work from home or only use their car for the bare essentials. Make sure to recalculate your odometer right before your annual renewal.
No Claims Bonus
This is the biggest discount you can receive if you are able to stay accident free and hardest to maintain. If you happen to get in a minor accident that results in a dented bumper or got a scratch from a hit and run incident then it’s not worth making a claim to ensure that you receive this huge discount which usually starts at 20% and increases up to 50% the longer you stay accident and claim free.
Pay Your Bills On Time Or Setup Auto-Pay
Just like your cell phone bill and other monthly billed services, paying on time will save you from late-fees and if your company offers auto-pay it usually comes with an added discount as well.
For a student that does well in school, a good student discount can be a reward that lowers your car insurance premium. The amount of the discount applied will vary depending on the insurance provider, but the requirements are usually as follows:
- The student is younger than 25 years old,
- The student is enrolled full-time at a high school or college,
- The student has a GPA of at least 3.0, and
- The student shows acceptable documentation, such as a report card or signed letter by a school administrator.
Senior Driver Discount:
You’ve done your time and with that comes additional savings typically when you reach the age of 50. You may qualify for a basic senior driver discount and the following “mature driver” discounts:
- Mature Driver Training Course Discount: offered to seniors who complete a defensive driving course for senior drivers.
- Retired Military Member Discount: offered to retired military members of the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines, or Air Force.
- Senior Organization Membership Discount: if you are part of the AARP you may qualify for a discount along with other senior organizations.
Part 3: Community Experts Tips:
In order to make this your go to guide for cheap insurance shopping we also asked around from insurance adjusters to personal injury lawyers to your average frugal savings drivers for their best tips to save on car insurance.
- “I would be happy to share the little knowledge I have as a new (soon not to be) young driver. When searching for car insurance, I found it to be quite expense for new and inexperienced drivers. I used plenty of comparison websites to gauge an idea of what I would have to pay. All the quotes I got where almost £2000+ until I opted to have a BLACKBOX fitted into my car. This reduced my quotes to (almost) extremely low prices. I started getting quotes of less than £700 and that’s how I found my insurance.”
- “Not every country in the world requires auto insurance. Unfortunately, those that don’t can have some of the most serious consequences, not the least of which is on your wallet. While you might not want the extra expense, getting auto insurance is certainly for your benefit. When I lived in the US, I didn’t make a lot of money. I was able to classify for low-income auto insurance in the state of California. I had a cheap car and cheaper motorcycles, and I was able to pay less than a third of what my friends were paying for a single vehicle. Not everyone can qualify for that kind of insurance, but the moral of the story is to always locate all your options, and don’t just go for the one which has the loudest advertising campaign. Good luck!”
Mirana – ajulydreamer.com
- Try adding a second responsible driver to get a reduced rate.
- Ensure you always minimize your risk, DON’T pimp your car.
- If you live with parents, consider multi-car policies.
Alberto – Motorlands.eu
- Drivers under 25 years old are often penalized with a higher premium compared to other demographics, because they are statistically more likely to be involved in accidents. The good news for younger drivers is that there are plenty of ways to reduce the cost of their premium, and potentially save hundreds of dollars on car insurance a year. If you’re a younger driver, one of the most effective ways to slash your premium is to firstly choose a car deemed by insurers to be ‘low-risk’.
- Avoid performance enhanced or modified vehicles tend to attract a larger premium because of the higher risk of theft and speeding involved.
8.You should also consider installing a safety device such as an immobilizer, as this may qualify you for a discount with your insurer.
- Hop online and shop around for quotes from at least three different providers. You may even want to look at car insurers that specialise in policies for younger drivers. Putting in half an hour to research prices could bag you hundreds of dollars in savings a year.
- Maintaining a good driving record will help keep your policy costs low for the long term. Look into a course to spruce up your safe driving skills and your insurer may reward you with a discount.
-Kirsti Timsans – Mozo.com.au
- Don’t just go for the cheapest insurance, as accidents do happen and you want a company that will help resolve the issue swiftly. If you want the better company to be more competitive, give them a direct call and ask for it to be cheaper – if you don’t ask, you don’t get!
- Look for good student discounts. Some companies will offer young drivers a discount for good grades on their report cards.
- As an Orlando personal injury lawyer, I often receive phone calls from young drivers who have been injured due to someone else’s bad driving. I also receive calls from those injured by young drivers who aren’t properly insured. Young people often purchase the cheapest possible insurance. But that doesn’t serve them well if they are involved in any car accident — either as a victim, or the person who caused the accident. So my suggestion would be that they purchase at least 100K in both bodily insurance coverage (which covers them if they hit someone else) and uninsured motorist (“UM”) coverage (which protects them if they are hit by a driver without enough insurance). I would definitely recommend the higher amounts for those who might have a higher salaries, and therefore potentially higher lost wages if they are involved in an accident. I would also recommend higher amounts if they do not have health insurance, or have a lot of assets to protect. (Important disclaimer: types of available insurance vary by state — this is what I would recommend for Florida residents — there may be additional useful insurance in other states. But any driver anywhere would definitely want at least those two things.)
-Tina Willis – tinawillislaw.com
- My advice would be to stay clean, ride clean and be alert. Shop around for the best rate you can get, check with an independent agent who has experience with bikes and find out if the bike you’re riding has been deemed a higher risk. Same thing applies to car drivers.
They should also check to see if their postal code is rated as a risk. I know of one young driver who listed his mother’s address on his license and insurance because it was rated lower than where he was actually living.
-Ian Harvey – Pitbull Media
- If you want a low monthly payment, the first company you call may not offer rates that would fit into your spending limit for the month. Get quotes from no less than three to five companies before you decide which you will work with. This not only allows you to possibly find a better price, but most importantly, it lets you see what specific coverage is included in the policy. Sometimes, a low rate will coincide with lower coverage amounts, fewer roadside assistance benefits or even a shorter coverage period. The bottom line is this: Shop around so you have the best coverage possible for the price you will pay.
- If you’re currently a student, look for a car insurance company that gives a generous “good student” discount (it can range from 10%-25% depending on the company). Generally, if you have a 3.0 GPA, a B average or higher, or you make the dean’s list, you’ll qualify; at the end of each year, you take your (hopefully good) grades to your car insurance company.
-Elise Williams – Earnspendlive.com
- Shop around. Not for a quote, but for an agent. There are a lot of agents that would be more than willing to give you a quote for your insurance, but not as many that will ask questions and recommend the coverage that is right for your particular situation. Look for an independent insurance agent that will do more than just give you a quote.
-Mike Peterson – insurancemarketingpartners.com
18.In my opinion the most important part of your automobile insurance policy is Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage. This coverage is optional but is crucial in the event that you are involved in a collision where the negligent party either has no insurance or inadequate insurance coverage.
-Michael Waks – Michaelwaks.com
- If you commute to a part time job, consider building your work schedule for a few days a week, at consecutive times. That way you won’t have to travel to and from home or work more often throughout the week. You’ll keep your mileage low which will keep your premium low.
- If you will be attending a college that’s over 100 miles away and plan to leave your car at home, you may qualify for a “resident student” discount. You could save your family as much as 30% off their monthly car insurance bill.
-Micaela Allen – Insurify.com
- “I hopped on my parents’ plan to get a better rate than if I did it by myself, it helps since my sister is on it which equates to a better discount. Instead of getting full coverage I only have liability and only did that with my car because it is such junk that it would be pointless to pay for repairs on it which would end up costing more than the car is actually worth. So if you don’t care about your car, or you don’t think you’ll get in a wreck, that’s a pretty good route to go.”
-Arthur Ramon – University of Texas at Austin Student
- “The biggest thing you can do to save money on car insurance is to insure a cheap car. The more expensive your car, the higher your premium. Not only that, but you’ll be saving money by spending less on your vehicle. There’s no need to buy a new car when you can get a car a few years old at half the price and also pay half the amount of insurance on it.”
-Jason – Frugalforless.com
- “I’ve had a vehicle since 2000, the year I graduated from college. At first I was only motivated by price but over the past 17 years I’ve found that having a great relationship with my agent is the key to feeling comfortable. When accidents happen or towing is needed, it’s important that the agent be friendly and accessible because these are stressful situations and no one wants the added stress of wondering if their agent will come through for them.”
-Rachel Molder – Product Manager at Snap Global Solutions
Because we want this to be the best available resource to saving money we will be constantly adding more tips to make sure all the information is up to date and to continue passing on the savings to you.
- “Don’t over cover your car. If you don’t have any significant assets, min limits for liability insurance is plenty. If your car isn’t worth much, consider dropping comprehensive and/or collision. You should only keep those if your car is worth more than the cost + the deductible. If you have health insurance, don’t pay for pip or MED pay. I’m a big believer in UM due to the number of uninsured in the valley and it adds little overall cost.
- A lot of the low cost insurers make you exclude a bunch of family members for the low cost. I’m opposed to that is it creates situations where you let family drive your car, but have no coverage.
- Keep in mind collision will never pay more than blue book value. So if the blue book on your car is 1000 or less, drop collision as the deductible is at least 500, the most you’d ever get is 500. You’re paying more than that for the coverage.”
-David Lumber – Personal Injury Lawyer
Part Four: Tips And Tricks To Help You Save
-5 Tricks To Save On Motorcycle Insurance
You don’t need to see Mission Impossible to understand why motorcycle insurance costs more than car insurance. Sure, most motorcycles cost less than your average car, but your policyholder bets on the likelihood you’ll get in an accident. And your mother’s right. Motorcycles are much more dangerous than cars, even without Tom Cruise on the throttle. Yet there are still ways to save on motorcycle insurance if you’re smart.
Join a motorcycle association, and we don’t mean the Hells Angels. (Any savings made with them may well be written in blood). Most insurance companies have a list of pre-approved organizations to save
you about 5 to 10 percent. Some more well known motorcycle associations include American Motorcycle Association, Gold Wing Riders Association, and the Harley Owners Group.
2. Tailor Coverage For Your Bike.
Customize your insurance policy to reflect how you actually ride your bike. If you just ride on sunny weekends rather than zip through commutes on your way to work every day, you can save. If you don’t ride in the winter and plan to store the bike, ask your carrier about “lay up policies” which limit your plan to basic comprehensive coverage.
3. Take A Training Course.
No, those hours spent playing Fast & Furious Super Bikes don’t count. But you might be able to get a discount if you enroll in a certified motorcycle safety course. A national non-profit, the Motorcycle Safety Association offers a number of comprehensive safety and riding courses. You can start with an eCourse and learn the rules of the road right from your computer. And who knows? It might actually make you a safer rider, which will not only possibly save a life, but save you money on insurance. Safe riders cost less to insure. And they’re kinda sexy, too.
4. Choose The Right Type Of Bike.
Like cars, the type of motorcycle you ride can have a huge kickback on insurance. The rule of thumb is the smaller the engine displacement, the less you’ll pay on insurance. Some of the cheapest bikes to insure are the Honda Rebel, the Honda CB500X, and the Triumph Daytona 675, according to Motorcycle.com.
5. Shop Around
Once upon a time (right about when Hunter S. Thompson was getting his butt kicked in by the Hells Angels), few carriers offered motorcycle insurance. Today, it’s a buyers market and it pays to be picky. Shop around, even if you already have it. You’d be surprised what you can save. In fact, it often pays to switch policies every year or so. Insurance portals like Insurantly can provide 3 quotes in about 15 minutes.
-5 Tricks to Save on Luxury Sports Car Insurance
Sure, that luxury hot rod might be as sleek and shiny as Vin Diesel’s scalp at high noon, but it also packs just as a dangerous punch. In fact, sports cars are nearly 30 percent more likely to be in an accident, according to National Roads and Motorists’ Association. And their crash potential is just one of the reasons luxury sports car insurance is so expensive. For one thing, sports cars are high ticket items. Even a minor fender bender can potentially cost thousands. And just like Jay Leno, car thieves love them. Who risks prison over a Geo? But there are ways to cut your expense down to a more manageable size.
1. Choose A Roadster Less Likely To Be Stolen.
Sure, it seems counter productive. Naturally, you’d love to drive a smoking John Wick movie prop. After all, isn’t turning heads why we rev the engine in Sunday school traffic? But roughly a third of a typical comprehensive auto insurance premium goes to pay for auto theft claims, according to the Insurance Information Institute. If you go with a model that still packs the speed, but has less prestige and a lower attraction to thieves, you’ll save on your insurance bill.
Want to rock life in the fast lane and still save on your insurance premium? The Mercedes E Class revs plenty of throttle, but is listed by the Kelley Blue Book in its top 10 cars least likely to be stolen. This roadster holds a claim frequency of 0.6 per 1,000 for each insured vehicle year.
2. Track Your Ride.
Want to roll around in a Lamborghini and still deter thieves so you can save on insurance? Invest in tracking technology. Tracking devices like LoJack can locate your car if someone decides to “borrow it.” If you subscribe to a concierge service, you might already be covered. Systems like OnStar can track your vehicle, even slow it to a standstill to curbside car thieves.
It also doesn’t hurt to install an alarm system. ViperSmart offers a 2-Way Car Alarm Vehicle Security System with smartphone integration. You can lock, start, and control your car from anywhere, and even track it.
Let your insurance agent know about security and tracking system upgrades. They’ll likely offer a substantial discount in gratitude.
3. Minor Damage? Pay For It Yourself!
If you can afford it, pay any damage less than $3,000 out of pocket. It’s basic math. For a $2,000 annual premium for a luxury vehicle, a 20 percent increase will cost you thousands more over several years, not counting the cost of your deductible or any future rate increases if you have other accidents. It’s not worth it. Pay it up front, or pay more by being bled dry in the years to come. Your choice.
4. Remove Riskier Drivers From Your Policy.
If you have a high risk driver or a teenager in your household, remove them from your luxury vehicle policy. (Yeah, we ran the numbers on it. It’s not pretty. A teen can increase your policy by 100%). And be sure they don’t drive it – ever. But be honest with yourself. Do you trust the little smart ass? Is your kid buddies with Ferris Bueller? It’s a risk that could lock you in the crosshairs if you’re not careful.
5. Shop Around.
The insurance industry, especially when it comes to luxury sports car insurance, is a buyers market. Sure, it costs plenty, but there’s plenty of competition and you can usually find a discount if you do some research. Insurance portals like Insurantly can provide as many as three quotes in less than 15 minutes. Save some serious cash by doing some quick research while waiting for your next appointment. It’s that simple.
-5 Tricks To Save On SUV Insurance
OK, SUVs don’t exactly put you in the sexy lane. There’s a reason soccer moms love to tattoo a Jeep Cherokee’s backsides with stick figure families and honor school bumper stickers. Even OJ’s infamous white Bronco drove at a reasonably slow and safe grandpa speed.
Still, SUVs are the elephants of motor vehicles and can wreck some serious China on the roadway. They tend to drive up your liability premium which covers other vehicles damaged in an accident. Much pricier than your average car, SUVs are also more expensive to replace if a serious accident does occur. But choose the right model and trick it out with some smart tech, and you can save some serious money on insurance. How awesome is that?
1. Choose An SUV That Performs Well On Crash Tests.
Built like tanks, SUVs tend to be safer when it comes to who’s inside the vehicle. As the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety points out, “Larger, heavier vehicles generally afford more protection than smaller, lighter ones.” So go big or go home. You’ll be safer and spend less on insurance. Technology like forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking can also reduce your insurance bill.
Driving an SUV that can withstand a crash and has better safety features can save you some serious money on your premium. Consumer Reports top 10 family safe SUVs include the Acura MDX, the Honda Pilot, and the Hyundai Tucson.
2. Choose An SUV Less Likely To Be Stolen.
Because of their value, SUVs tend to be stolen more often than cars. Nearly 20,000 SUVs were stolen between 2009 to 2012, the years of the most recent study by the National Insurance Crime Bureau. The Ford Escape tops car thieves’ Christmas lists, followed by the Chevrolet Tahoe SUV, the Toyota RAV4, the Ford Edge and the Dodge Journey, according to NICB data. Instead, try the Buick Encore as a theft safe alternative SUV. A mere five were stolen in 2013, out of 28,600 produced, a theft rate of .1747 per thousand vehicles, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
3. Invest In Anti-Theft Tech.
Make it harder for thieves to steal your SUV. Let them move on down the street to easier and more inviting targets. Its best to use a variety of deterrents, the more obvious the better. Steering wheel locks will lock the steering wheel in place. Tire locks will lock your wheel, similar to a boot used by the city for unpaid parking tickets. Kill switches can be installed to shut down the electrical system of a car. Tracking devices like LoJack and Onstar will not only track a stolen vehicle, but slow it to a halt.
4. Choose A Hardtop.
Hardtops are not only safer, but also make an SUV harder to steal. Canvas and vinyl are easy to slice open. In fact, UHaul doesn’t allow its trailers to be pulled by SUVs without hardtops. A canvas topped Jeep might as be a Christmas gift wrapped with a bow. It’s an open invitation to thieves.
5. Shop Around.
Insurance is a competitive business, and SUVs are no different. Experts advise you should look into cheaper premiums at least every year. Insurance portals like Insurantly can provide as many as three quotes in under 15 minutes. Shop around. You’ll be surprised by what you find.
-5 Tricks To Save On Boating Insurance
Boat insurance is kind of like the voodoo love child of home and auto insurance. Like home insurance, boater insurance will provide coverage if someone is injured on your boat. It also provides replacement cost or cash value if the boat is a total loss. And like auto insurance, boating insurance covers any damage your boat causes to docks and other boats, damage to your own boat, theft, vandalism, fire and flood, and accidents by uninsured boaters.
Since marine insurance isn’t regulated like home or car insurance, prices will vary widely. It pays to be smart. You’ll save some money, get great coverage, and hopefully avoid turning that three hour cruise into a bad Gilligan’s Island reboot for the 21st century.
1. Get Your Boat Surveyed.
Before shopping for insurance, get a survey done on your boat. It should be less than 30 days old and cover both in and out of the water. Most insurance companies will ask for one, so you might as well beat them to the punch. The survey helps establish the boat’s value so you can get accurate quotes. Most insurance companies will also offer an option of “agreed value” to address the issue of depreciation. But don’t be cheap. If your boat is destroyed, you’ll want enough compensation to replace it. That’s the whole point of having boat insurance in the first place. It helps to have the very best.
2. Take A Boating Safety Course.
Much of the cost of your boater’s insurance depends on your experience on the water. It’s a good idea to taking sailing and seamanship safety courses, especially if you are new to boating. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary offers two courses that may qualify for insurance discounts: a one day basic class or an advanced knowledge and seamanship course that covers 12 chapters of instruction. You’ll be given a boater education certification card after successfully completing either course. Hang that on your fridge next to your kid’s Postmodern fingerpainting!
3. Upgrade Your Safety Gear.
More specifically, upgrade your boat’s safety equipment, i.e. high water alarms and extra bilge pumps that are designed to save the boat itself from being shipwrecked. So in addition to lifejackets to save your own life, consider investing in emergency beacons, built-in fire extinguishers, a burglar alarm system, a GPS system, depth finders, and radars. These will help save your boat and save you money on insurance at the same time.
4. Lower, Rather Than Cancel, Your Insurance Offseason.
Some insurance companies will let you lower coverage on your boat during the offseason, though we don’t recommend canceling it outright. Even though it’s not in the water, your boat is still at risk to fire, floods, thefts, or vandalism in the offseason. (Those are actually the majority of boat claims!) You’ll also lose out on tenured benefits like disappearing deductibles. Some insurance companies may even refuse to cover you if you outright cancel when the season’s done. Instead, consider lowering your liability and dropping coverage for uninsured boaters, emergency towing and labor, and personal claims.
5. Shop Around.
Insurance is a competitive market, and brokers continually compete for your business. It pays to shop around and research competitive quotes annually. Insurance portals like Insurantly can provide up to 3 quotes in 15 minutes. You’ll be surprised by what you can save from a spare moment of research.
-5 Ways to Qualify for Collectors Car Insurance
Collectible car insurance is an anomaly in the insurance world. You’re protecting something very expensive, but the insurance can actually cost less because your broker assumes you’ll take extra special care of it. Call it the savings of finally becoming respectable, but it can be significant – up to 45 percent. Still, you’ll need to qualify. Don’t just call up your broker and add a classic car to your policy. Reach out and ask them what’s possible, what it takes to qualify for a special rate.
First, it’s important to understand the difference between classic, antique, and vintage cars. Generally, a car is considered collectible if its value exceeds its original selling price. The Antique Automobile Club of America considers a classic car to be 25 years or older and have been maintained and restored to match the day it rolled off the lot brand new. Though it varies state to state and sometimes even by insurance company, antique cars are typically 50 years or older and restored and maintained to their original condition. More loosely defined, vintage automobiles are manufactured in the 1920s and early ‘30s, but can be modified and still keep their status.
Simply having an old car isn’t enough to qualify for collector’s car insurance. You must also meet certain criteria. Here’s a breakdown of what’s generally expected.
1. Keep Your Car In Pristine Condition.
Most insurance companies will require your car to be restored, maintained and in immaculate condition. Any damage or rust is cause for ineligibility. Modifications must be modest. Anything that makes your classic more dangerous to drive could be a no go.
2. Keep A Clean Record.
Most insurance companies will only allow collector car insurance for clean driving records. You must be free of DUIs, reckless driving charges, or excessive speeding violations.
3. Drive Only To Car Shows And Meetups.
Some insurance companies will have a limited use stipulation on their collectible car policy that only allows you to drive to and from car shows and meetings. If you want to drive your classic beauty on more regular, high milage drives, talk to your agent to see if that fits your policy. Sure, it feels great to drive that James Bond collectible to the ocean, but it might not be allowed under your policy if you’re too far landlocked.
4. Transport Your Collectible Car In A Trailer Or Don’t Drive The Car At All.
You may be able to reap further savings if you transport your collectible to car shows and meetups using a covered car trailer. You may also be able to save if you agree to never drive your collectible and only display it.
5. Securely Store It.
Most collectible car policies will require a secure storage unit for your collectible. It will need to be locked, enclosed, and private. Added security cameras may bring your cost down even further.
-5 Ways to Save When Adding a Teen to Your Insurance Policy
Your teen just came home with a driver’s license. Congrats! It’s a brand new world of privilege and independence, and not just for the teen. We’re actually talking about you, the parent. No more karate class pick ups. No more running them to dentist appointments, soccer mom traffic jams in the school drop off zone. You’re finally free. Break out the party hats. Put some champagne on ice and dust off the crystal.
But with great freedom also comes great responsibility, or in other words an average 80% increase to your insurance premium, according to Forbes. And it’s worse if you’re the parent of boys. Adding your 16 year old son will increase your premium by about 92%. (Your 16 year old daughter’s only a 67% increase). The good news is the price does come down as they get older. Your average 16 year old increases a premium by 96%, while a 19 year old is only 60%.
But there are ways to control that cost, which could in turn save you thousands a year. So rev up the hot tub; turn up the Billy Joel. You’ve got this.
1. Stick To The Beater.
Used beater cars are practically a rite of passage. Sure, get your kid something reliable, but that doesn’t mean they should roll around in a brand new machine you’re still making payments on. You’ll pay a lot less on insurance if you have both a used car and a new car, and make them drive the used. And if they do get in an accident, it will be less expensive to fix.
2. Track Their Driving With Technology.
You can install tracking technology on your teens car. Not only will you be able to know if they are driving safely and obeying the speed limit, but you can often get a discount on your insurance. Reaching certain benchmarks can save as much as 30%. Plus, it will help train your teen to be a safer driver, which might actually save their lives. Not to alarm you, but the fact remains that traffic fatalities is the leading cause of death for 15 to 19 year olds, according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.
3. Make Them Sign A Contract.
Sit down with your teen and make them sign a contract of rules the whole family agrees to. They might pledge to never text or use a mobile phone behind the wheel. Put a limit on the number of teens that can be in a car. Make them pledge to always use a seat belt, or only drive during certain hours. A teen-parent driving contract will not only make them safer, but some insurers will even give you a discount.
4. Don’t Skimp
Don’t be tempted to skimp on your liability insurance. In fact, you might want to consider raising it. Sure, you might pay more initially, but if something happens, it’s important to be fully covered. You own the vehicle. Your name is on the policy. That means your house and all your family assets are on the line in the event of a lawsuit. It costs about $250 a year to add $1 million in liability coverage to your policy. Considering what’s at stake, it’s definitely worth considering.
5. Research The Market
Adding a teen will likely skyrocket your insurance, but the market has only gotten more competitive in favor of the buyer. Shop around and do your research. Insurance portals like Insurantly can provide 3 quotes in as little as 15 minutes. Customers who shop and switch save an average $356 off their premiums.
If you made it this far then you are now better equipped with the knowledge to get the lowest car insurance rate possible
Did we overlook an important piece of information or have a tip and would like to be added to our community expert tips? Let us know in the comments or shoot us an e-mail because we will continue to update this guide to make it the only resource you’ll ever need when it comes to saving money on car insurance.