Know when to cut coverage. Don’t strip away coverage just for the sake of a lower price. You’ll need full coverage car insurance to satisfy the terms of an auto loan, and you’ll want it as long as your car would be a financial burden to replace. But for older cars, you can drop comprehensive and collision coverage, which only pay out up to your car’s current value, minus the deductible.
Some people are hesitant to file a car insurance claim, fearing that their premiums will increase even if they aren’t at fault. However, this isn’t necessarily true, and an insurance company will look at the damage involved and who is responsible for the accident before deciding whether or not a claim results in a rate increase. If you find yourself in an auto accident, whether it’s a fender bender or your car is totalled, exchange insurance information with any involved parties. Even damage that looks cosmetic may have comprehensive damage that you can’t see, so you should file a claim.
Car insurance protects you from financial liability in incidents involving your vehicle. It has two major benefits. First, it can help save you from costs involved with bodily injury (medical costs). Second, it covers property damage to both you and your property, and other people involved in the accident if you’re at fault. Car insurance is required in most states and it is illegal to operate a car without it.
This material is intended for educational purposes only. Auto and homeowners insurance, and other property and casualty insurance products, are available from Allstate Insurance Company, Allstate Indemnity Company, Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Company and Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Company (Home Offices: Northbrook, IL); Allstate New Jersey Insurance Company and Allstate New Jersey Property and Casualty Insurance Company (Home Offices: Bridgewater, NJ); and Allstate County Mutual Insurance Company and Allstate Texas Lloyd's (Home Offices: Irving, TX). Life insurance issued by Allstate Life Insurance Company: Northbrook, IL; and American Heritage Life Insurance Company: Jacksonville, FL. In New York, Allstate Life Insurance Company of New York: Hauppauge, NY. Securities offered by Personal Financial Representatives through Allstate Financial Services, LLC (LSA Securities in LA and PA). Registered Broker-Dealer. Member FINRA, SIPC. Main Office: 2920 South 84th Street, Lincoln, NE 68506. (877) 525-5727.
In some cases, the damage to a vehicle is so severe that it’s not economical or safe to attempt to repair it. If the insurer feels this is the situation, your vehicle will be declared a write-off and you will receive the amount covered or the agreed value. If you have comprehensive insurance, some policies allow for the replacement of your car with a new vehicle and coverage of on-road costs, if your original vehicle was declared a write-off after being stolen or damaged within the first two years of its first registration.
If you want cheaper insurance, you have to show insurers you’re a low risk driver. Studies have shown certain drivers pose more of an accident and claim risk, so they charge accordingly. You’ll see the cheapest rates for drivers with a newer car, low annual mileage, good credit score and no accidents or tickets. You can also keep costs down by keeping your car in a garage and paying premiums on time.
Every auto insurance company advertises its low rates. But as with any product, the cheapest car insurance policy isn't always the best option. Considering the financial stakes, it's worth doing the due diligence to find a policy that protects your car completely in the event of a collision. Hunt for a great value, instead of settling for the cheapest car insurance in your state.
There are two other methods that come immediately to mind. First, you could pay your premiums annually or semi-annually. Some car insurers offer anywhere from a 3% to 10% discount for doing so. The other thing you can consider is increasing your deductible. That's the amount of money you pay out of pocket before insurance kicks in, so you'd pay more in case of an accident, but your monthly premium would be lower.
A higher deductible means lower premiums, your monthly or annual price. But if you get in an accident, you will have to pay more than if your deductibles were lower. For example, if you have a $500 deductible on a $2,000 accident, you’d pay $500 before your insurance company covers the other $1,500. With a $1,000 deductible, you’re paying $1,000 and your insurer covers the remaining $1,000.
Like we said earlier, comparing car insurance quotes gets a lot easier if you establish how much coverage you’re looking for before you shop around. You’ll want all the quotes you pull to have the same coverage types, limits and, of course, deductibles. How else will you know what insurer is, in fact, offering the best price? Here’s a quick rundown of how to figure out what type of policy you need.
How it works: The quoting process was similar to that of other comparison websites, although it offered me the option of connecting my Google or Facebook account to speed up the process. After I entered the requested information, the Zebra announced that it had matched me up with nine possible discounts, although it warned that not every insurance company offered all of these discounts.
The type of car you drive matters. If you drive a vehicle that is listed as high theft, or more likely to be involved in an accident, expect to pay higher premiums. Even cars that have collision protection can actually drive up the price due to the cost of repairs. Other things that will drive the cost of repairs up is after-market installs. Things like rims, spoilers, and exterior lighting can be costly to repair. You will want to make sure that you have the right coverage to cover damage to after factory installs.
One of the biggest differences between carrier’s rates can be attributed to the avaialable discounts. Most insurers reward safe drivers and bundlers. In additon, savings can be found for vehicles that have the most safety features. The most variable discounts can be found when a company is trying to reach a certain group of insurance consumers. For instance, some companies may offer discounts for switching before the expiration of a policy or from a certain competitor, while other may decide retirees shoulde get a discount.
You might have a roommate or family member on your policy that no longer drives your vehicles. Or maybe you have a vehicle on your policy that is no longer being driven. Making sure driver and vehicle information is up to date may save you money. Keep in mind, if you do go down to just one car on your policy, you will lose the multi-vehicle discount.
Beyond that, the additional coverage you requested should be listed on the quote (known in insurance-speak as the “deck” or “declarations page”), along with any deductible associated with that portion of the policy. You might also see a list of any car insurance discounts you can or already have qualified for and all the personal information you inputted, along with the make and model of your car (which is worth a scan, just to make sure everything is accurate).
Since most people choose one of these large insurers, NerdWallet compared quotes from the five largest auto companies in ZIP codes across the country. Rates are for policies that include minimum coverage required in each state, plus collision and comprehensive coverage. Our “good driver” profile is a 30-year-old with no moving violations and credit in the “good” tier. Use the tabs to see rates for drivers with credit in the “poor” tier and those with one at-fault accident as reported to the insurer.