With elevated gas prices affecting the cost of owning a car, it’s also worth looking into ways to cut other related operating expenses. One place to start is car insurance.
All Arizona driver’s must carry insurance protection, but many people just pick an insurer after they buy their first car and don’t look at the details of the policy for years, which could leave money on the table.
Below are some ways to find the right policy and cut your premiums.
1. Do an annual rate check. Check rates from other companies to make sure you are getting the best deal. As an independent insurance agency, Jackson Insurance Group compares the rates and coverages of over 31 companies every year for you at no extra cost. When you first become a policyholder, you are asked at what percentage of increase (i.e., 1, 3, 5, 10%+) would you like to be contacted to consider a change of company. Longevity discounts may factor into staying with a certain company, rather than jump to a new one for a mere 1-3% savings.
2. Pick a top rated carrier. Third party resources like Consumer Reports surveys readers/subscribers on their auto insurers finds that all rated companies did well, but some were better than others with dealing with claims, payments, and non-claim problems.
3. Maintain good credit. Regularly check your credit score since a low score may impact your premium.
4. Set the right deductible. A higher deductible reduces your premium, but you have to pay more out of pocket in the event of an accident. If you have a good driving record and haven’t had an accident that was your fault, you may want to opt for a higher deductible. The reward for this risk could be up to a 40 percent savings.
5. Review your coverage. Check to make sure you have enough liability coverage for bodily injury and property damage. Over time, costs and risk increase, and so should your coverage. You are protecting your assets in the event of a severe accident that you cause. Simply put, minimal coverage gives you minimal protection.
6. Report reduced mileage. If you’ve changed jobs, are now working at home, or have become unemployed, call your insurer or agency. By driving less, you may qualify for a lower premium.
7. Watch crash repairs. Check to see where your insurer sends you for repairs, as the repair shop may push you to use cheaper replacement parts, rather than original equipment from the manufacturer (OEM parts). Tests have found that non-OEM parts can fit poorly, are more prone to rust, and don’t necessarily meet federal safety standards. Jackson Insurance Group will recommend local repair shops who will treat you right in this regard.
8. Choose the right car. Vehicle damage and the cost for repair is a big part of the price of auto insurance. When looking for a new car, compare the data on collision by vehicle model. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has information and losses by vehicle model. Your car dealer should also have a booklet on relative collision insurance cost produced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Also, estimated insurance fees are part of the owner cost information Consumer Reports provides online for all new models.
9. Beware of scams. Crooks can rip off drivers with staged accidents, which could result in an insurance claim against you. To avoid this unpleasant scenario, follow good driving practices and is you are in a crash, photograph the crash scene (this is critically important) and always call police to report the incident.
10. Take advantage of discounts. Discounts are available for drivers considered to be lower risk (older, married, and/or long safe driving record) or those who take a driver-training course. Anti-theft and certain safety equipment can also reduce your cost. Bundling insurance with auto and home is another option to consider, but check out the total costs with and without combining policies to see which scenario is less expensive.
Jackson Insurance Group will help you discover the discounts you can qualify for.