Tips to Save Money on Car Insurance

Some tips to save money on car insurance includes attention to credit scores, maximizing deductibles, getting rid of add-ons, pay every month, vanish deductibles, and drive safe. Use our free tool below to compare car insurance rates.

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A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Jan 24, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Your credit will most likely impact your premium
  • Choosing a higher deductible can help you pay less for insurance
  • Keeping a clean driving record will help keep costs down

No matter how much you pay for car insurance, you probably think it’s too much. To save money on your insurance in the future, be sure to comparison shop with different companies before renewing automatically with your current company.

Automated tools on the Internet make this process quick and painless.

As you research the companies, keep these things in mind to ensure you find the best possible rate.

Enter your zip code into the FREE auto insurance comparison tool at the top of this page to find great rates from multiple providers!

1. Beware of Credit Scoring

Did you know that people with better credit scores report fewer accidents? Did you know that most insurance companies now charge higher rates for people with lower credit scores?

For insurance companies, the idea is to charge higher rates to the people most likely to have accidents and to give discounts to the drivers least likely to have accidents.

In that sense, it’s no different than charging higher rates to young drivers because they are more likely to have accidents.

It feels different, however, because nobody can explain how credit scores are connected to driving risk. No matter how many studies establish a quantitative connection, it still feels unfair.

To be sure you get the best price when you shop for insurance, first check your credit score. If your credit is below average, check out one of the few remaining companies that does not rate based on credit. You might get a better deal.

Even then, you might have another option.

If your credit has been damaged because of an extraordinary life event such as divorce or job loss–a temporary hit to your record after years of responsible credit management–be sure to ask for an exception.

The National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) set out model language that requires insurance companies to make exceptions. (Note that, although insurance regulation varies by state, many states have adopted the NCOIL language regarding extraordinary life events.)

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2. Dump Unnecessary Add-Ons

Take a look at your quote or your declarations page. Run down all of the coverage options and check the cost for each. Do you find some coverages that you don’t recognize? Call your company to ask what they do. You might not need them.

Known as “ancillary products” or “supplementary products,” add-ons can increase your car insurance bill by anywhere from $5 each month to upwards of $20 a month.

Some are very good values, such as Uninsured Motorists, and you wouldn’t want a policy without them. Others are less desirable.

One well-known company markets its motor club membership through insurance companies and agents across the country. Depending on where you buy it, this motor club can cost $10 per month or more, often with half of that amount going straight to the agent’s bottom line.

Do you need it? Maybe, if you have an older car that breaks down often.

However, if you drive a new car covered by the manufacturer for towing and lockout service, or if you also have Towing and Labor coverage on your auto policy (usually less than a dollar a month), then you might be wasting money on the motor club.

Talk to your company. Learn what each coverage is for, examine your own situation, and decide whether you need that coverage—or if the coverage is bleeding you dry.

3. Maximize Your Deductible

Choosing a $500 or $1,000 deductible could reduce your rate by $100 or more. Remember, however, that if you have an accident, this is how much you will have to pay–out of your own pocket–to repair your car.

How high should you set your deductible? Choose as much as you can afford to pay if you have an accident, without causing yourself hardship.

  • If $500 means no more to you than pocket lint, then, by all means, choose a higher deductible.
  • On the other hand, if buying the groceries with a fist full of coupons eats up half your check and paying out $500 to repair your car would mean no breakfast for the kids next month, then choose a lower deductible. It’s better to pay a few dollars extra each month than to be faced with an unaffordable repair bill.

4. Vanish Your Deductible

Here’s a clever trick to save money with vanishing deductibles.

With some policies, your deductible decreases $50 to $100 for each year that you do not have an accident. If you start with a $500 deductible, for example, and you do not have an accident, then your deductible might drop to $400 for the following year.

After five years without an accident, your deductible could drop all the way to $0.

Instead of reducing your deductible, you can use this as a secret way to lower your rate. As noted above, your deductible should be as much as you are comfortable paying if you have an accident.

A $500 deductible usually costs much less than a $250 deductible; but if you can’t pay that much without causing yourself hardship, then try the vanishing deductible trick.

  • Purchase the $250 deductible with the vanishing deductible option.
  • The next year, your deductible will drop by $100, and by $200 the year after that.
  • At that point, call your company and increase your deductible to $500. Since you have a $200 reduction, your effective deductible will be only $300, and you’ll get the savings for choosing the $500 deductible.

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5. Pay Every Month

Most companies expect you to have prior insurance coverage for at least the past six months. If you have let your coverage lapse, quotes for new policies might be several hundred dollars higher.

To put it another way, suppose your standard rate for prior coverage is $50 per month, adding up to $600 per year. If, instead of paying $50 every month, you skipped three months of the year, you would pay a total of $450.

However, the next time you shop for a new policy, the new rate might be $100 per month, costing you far more in the long run than if you had just paid the original policy every month.

6. Be Safe!

More than anything else, your driving record affects your rates. If you have multiple accidents, the companies with the best rates might refuse to insure you at any price. The remaining companies will charge you a rate that might be double the rate they charge to drivers with clean records.

If you’re like most people, car insurance is a major bill every month. Don’t assume you must pay as much as you’re paying today.

Use the tools online, combined with the tips above, to lower your bill and save your hard-earned money.

Enter your zip code into the FREE tool below to receive quotes from multiple companies today!

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Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap car insurance rates.

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