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How To Save Money On Your Car Insurance: 8 Tips & Tricks
Being a motorist is a practical necessity for most Americans (public transport is highly inconsistent, and simply not an option in many areas), but it comes at an awkward cost. Even if you’re passionate about driving, everything from fuel to maintenance adds up — and then there’s the huge inconvenience of car insurance.
Every so often, you’ll recall that your car insurance policy is coming to an end, and you need get it sorted quickly so you can carry on living your life. What happens when the quote you get from your insurance company is almost insultingly bad? It would be fastest to just accept it, but you shouldn’t. You should step back, take a breath, and think about alternatives.
It’s better to take some time to look into car insurance because that patience is likely to be rewarded. There are numerous great ways to significantly reduce your car insurance bill, and most of them are simple, cheap (or even free), and easy. Here are 8 such tips and tricks that are sure to help you cut your motoring costs:
Get as many quotes you can
Through the magic of the internet, getting a quote for your car insurance is something that can be done in minutes, and that’s if you do it in isolation. If you use car insurance comparison sites capable of gathering quotes for numerous insurers, you can get tens or even hundreds of quotes in less than an hour. On that basis, why would you ever settle for getting just one quote?
When collecting quotes, though, be very careful to check the terms and conditions, because it’s possible for two quotes that seem similar to actually be very different. Check the fine print, for instance — it may transpire that one policy has much harsher restrictions than another, making it much less appealing even though it’s superficially identical.
Increase your voluntary excess
Your voluntary excess consists of the amount you’re willing to pay for any given incident that will draw upon your insurance policy. For instance, you might agree to pay $300 each time your insurance is needed, with the insurance covering anything beyond that amount. The reason you should increase your voluntary excess is simple: the more you’ll willing to pay in the event of an incident, the less insurance money you’ll need, and the more likely you’ll be to drive safely, which means that insurers will be willing to charge you less to insure you.
How much you should raise your excess by is up to you. It should depend on how much you can afford to pay in the event of an incident, and how certain you are that you’re a safe enough driver to avoid frequent and/or major incidents. If you’re absolutely sure that you’re not going to run into any problems, then agreeing a large voluntary excess will win you a much better rate.
Haggle as much as you can
You should never accept the first quote you get, because the insurer is under no pressure to make it a good one. Instead, you should haggle over everything (at least, until you’re in danger of pushing your luck). Use your large number of quotes to your advantage. There will inevitably be differences between the quotes, so if one insurer is willing to offer you something, ask the other insurers if they’ll offer it too. Keep it up until you get a deal you’re satisfied with.
Stop driving to work
When you drive your car to work (or use it for work), you require a different type of insurance that’s invariably significantly more expensive. If you can stop driving to work altogether, you can agree a different type of policy with a different level of cover: the net result will be the case (your car will be fully insured for general use), but you’ll pay much less.
If you live in an area that does have good public transport, you can get a coach, bus, or train. If you’re within cycling distance, try cycling to work. You can even think about carpooling if neither of those two options happens to be viable. If there’s a way to get it done, and you’re truly determined to get the best price, this is the way to go about it.
Lower your mileage
To some extent this will come with no longer driving to work, but even if you don’t take that angle, you should start to think more about whether you need to use your car as often as you do. Insurers care about how likely it is that you’ll have an issue that requires their financial assistance, and they know that the more regularly a car is used, the more its components and systems wear down, and the more probable it becomes that it will be part of an accident.
If you can start driving less often, using your car mainly when you absolutely need to, then you can send the mileage data (split by use as needed) to your prospective insurers as evidence that the car isn’t being used as much as comparable vehicles. This will definitely help.
Park your car indoors
Yes, it’s a pain to find a space to park your car indoors sometimes. If you have a garage, you need to clean it out and make sure you have enough space to store it safely, and then there’s the matter of opening and closing the door every time you want to go for a drive. If you don’t, you have to decide whether you’re willing to store it in a public garage, or attempt a half-measure by covering the car in a tarpaulin.
It’s worth it, though, because of the insurance implications. When you leave your car outside, it’s subjected to the weather conditions — it gets hotter and colder, wetter and dryer, and those changes in temperature and moisture level will eventually cause damage. If you’re lucky, that damage will be superficial, but it will still be annoying. And then there’s the matter of exposure to thieves — if you keep your car in a garage, thieves can’t easily spot it, so it’ll be safer from break-in attempts. The more safely you stow your car away, the better your quotes will be.
Work on your no-claims bonus
The longer you go without claiming on your existing insurance, the more it will help you for getting a great deal. The principle is really the same as for the others: insurers prefer to insure people who’ll never actually need them, because that way they get to profit without having to deal with the hassle of actually paying for things to be repaired. What could better show your prospective insurers that you’re not going to need them than a great no-claims bonus?
And actually getting such a no-claims bonus is extremely simple. Not easy, but simple. Just don’t get into accidents. Avoid driving while you’re tired, drive during the day, install car safety devices to help with parking and pulling out, stay cool, and keep up with road changes. As long as you proceed cautiously, you’ll have every chance of keeping your bonus alive.
List only yourself as a driver
If you have multiple drivers in your family, you might think it prudent to get them all insured on your policy — that way, if one of them wants to drive, it won’t be an issue. The problem with this is that it’s simply not worthwhile unless others are consistently driving the vehicle, because it costs just as much even if they barely ever use it.
If you just list yourself as a driver, then you’ll get a much better price. Yes, it may occasionally be inconvenient that you’re the only one who may drive the vehicle, but if cost is a main concern, then your best tactic might be to start taking other drivers off the policy.
With all of these ways to cut down on your car insurance costs, why settle for mediocre quotes? Put some time and effort into finding the right policy for you, and you’ll ultimately come away with a much lighter bill.
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