17 Ways To Save On Your Car Insurance in 2019
Your car insurance premium depends on many factors such as the price of your car, the coverages and deductibles you choose, the companies you buy your insurance from, and the location where you buy your insurance at. Zimlon has analyzed all these factors and identified 17 ways to save on your car insurance and 3 other factors that determine your premiums.
- Traffic Tickets
- Driving Courses
- Make and Model
- Driving Experience
- Marital Status
- Credit Ratings
- Good Student Grades
- Claims History
- Policy Variables
- Commuting Distance
- Safety Features
- Full Payment
- Loyalty Scores
1. Traffic Tickets Can Push up Your Premium
Traffic tickets for speeding, accident, etc., play a significant role in how much you are charged by insurance providers. The following graph shows a state-wise segregation of average annual premiums for drivers with and without traffic tickets in recent history.
It is a good idea to be informed about how different traffic offences may lead to a premium surcharge. Click here to find out.
2. Bundling Plans Can Significantly Reduce Your Car Insurance Prices
Insurance providers love it when you buy home, auto, and life insurance plans through the same company. It is less expensive for insurance companies to “upsell” or sell additional services to existing clients than acquire new customers. Also, if a customer buys all their insurances through a single company then it’s harder for them to switch providers. Therefore, the best thing to do is at the end of every year ask your insurance provider how you can save money by combining policies. If they value their business with you, they will leave no stone unturned in informing you about all the discount options available.
3. The Coverage You Choose Influences Your Car Insurance Premiums
Car insurance agreements include certain coverage limits and deductible values. Liability coverage is the amount that insurance providers are willing to pay as financial compensation in case of an accident. Coverage limit usually has three components: bodily injury per person, bodily injury per accident, and property damage. Zimlon analyzed how liability coverage can change premium rates here.
The following table shows the various liability options available in different states. Note that the minimum coverage required varies from state to state.
|State||Bodily Injury per Person||Bodily Injury per Accident||Property Damage|
4. Enrolling in a Driving Course Can Get You Discounts on Your Car Insurance
Drivers with a clean driving record can opt for defensive driving classes to avail a 5–15% discount from insurance providers. The discount is typically available on liability and collision coverages. Note that drivers have to meet certain criteria to be eligible. For example, only drivers over 25 years of age can get the discount. If a vehicle has multiple drivers, all the drivers need to take the driving class in order to qualify for the discount.
Typically these driving courses last for four to six hours, cost between $25-$75, and can be completed in person or online.
5. The Car’s Make and Model Affect Your Insurance Rates
Zimlon studied all the make models that attract the lowest average annual premiums.
This graph shows the manufacturing price of 5 vehicles (makes and models) with the lowest premiums.
The table below lists the average annual insurance and manufacturer’s suggested retail price Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price(MSRP)s for 10 cars with the lowest premiums.
|Make & Model||Average Annual Insurance Premium||Starting MSRP|
|Ford F-150 Super Crew pickup||$629||$39,250|
|Chevrolet Silverado pickup||$1,089||$39,615|
For an in-depth analysis of variation in car insurance premiums by make and model, visit this page.
6. Your Driving Experience Counts
That driving experience affects insurance premium is well known. The higher your experience level, the more insurance providers are likely to consider you a safer bet. A combination of a good driving record and high experience ensures higher chances of a low premium rate.
For teen drivers, the fact that they are both young and inexperienced acts as a two-fold negative in surcharge premium rates.So if you are a young driver, consider adding an older and more experienced driver as a secondary driver in your policy. It will bring down your premium significantly.
7. Your Marital Status Affects Your Car Insurance Prices
Married drivers tend to be charged lower premiums because they are considered less likely to be at risk than their single/divorced/widowed counterparts. However, this is not the trend in all states. Zimlon’s study of 13 states showed that in 8 of them, unmarried drivers pay higher average premiums than married ones. The graph below presents a state-wise snapshot of average annual premiums for married and unmarried drivers.
To understand the advantages of adding a spouse to your insurance agreement, read on.
8. A High Credit Rating is Good News for Car Insurers
Good credits are earned by paying your bills on time and by maintaining a clean credit history. Research shows that drivers with low credit scores tend to file more claims or engage in insurance fraud, thus posing a greater risk for insurance providers. For Nationwide, the average difference in insurance rates between good credit and poor credit drivers is nearly 67 percent.
9. Good Grades Can Get You Great Discounts
Being a good student pays off in more ways than one. Typically good students are considered safe drivers. Plus, it reflects well on the insurance company to offer financial benefits to good students, since these students are likely to stick with the provider even after they graduate.
Though the minimum eligibility criteria vary, on average, a B grade or a GPA of at least 3.0 can get you discounts on your premium. Find out the insurer discounts in your state.
10. A Low Claims Record in Recent History Helps Lower Your Premium
Insurance companies evaluate not just your credit ratings but also your claims record. A high claims rate in the recent past may make an individual a potential risk, and thus companies may increase the premium rate. Also, claims in which the drivers were not at fault result in lower premiums than those in which the claimants were at fault. Moreover, the claim amount plays a role in determining your insurance. For instance, payment of claims under $1,500 may not attract a surcharge.
11. Lapses in Insurance Coverage Can Lead to Higher Premiums
Research shows that insurance buyers who have a lapse in their coverage are likely to file more claims. This is why most insurance companies prefer a zero lapse history. A lapse in coverage for a week to 30 days can increase your car insurance rates by about 9%. In some states, a 60-day lapse can hike your car insurance premium by close to 30%. The table below shows the percentage increase in average annual premiums for a 60-day lapse -in different states.
|State||Average Premium Rate||Percentage Increase after a 60 day Lapse||Premium Rate after Increase|
12. Compare the Right Policy Variables
It’s good to know the rates offered by other companies, but remember that insurance companies are always waiting to lure you with cheaper rates. For instance, if you are currently paying $500/month for your insurance plan, and a competing provider offers a rate of $100 a month, you would naturally find the second one more attractive.
However, a closer look might reveal that the coverage, liability, and deductible values are set at a minimum for this policy. Therefore, be sure to check all the variables before selecting a car insurance policy.
13. Less Time Spent on the Road Can Change Your Car Insurance by up to 34%
Most insurance providers offer some discounts if the distance you drive is generally on the lower side. Insurers think: the less you’re on the road, the lower the chance of accidents and claims. Typically, you are considered a low-mileage driver if you drive below $7,500 miles a year. Commuting discount can help you save upto 34% on your car insurance plan depending on the state you live in and your provider.
14. Add These Safety Features to Your Car to Lower your Premium Rates
Features like anti-lock brakes, air bags, electronic stability control, anti-theft systems, and daytime running lights make your vehicle safer. The safer your car is the less risky are you to insure. Most of these features are pre-installed in cars manufactured after 2012. Anti-theft alarms are especially popular with insurance companies, and many are willing to offer 10–25% discounts to drivers who have installed these preventive systems.
15. Paying the Premium in Full Can Significantly Impact Your Car Insurance
Paying the premium amount in full is always the best option. For one, many insurance companies offer discounts for paying in full. Also, if you default on your car insurance payment, some providers may penalize you by not offering a payment plan option.
The table below lists the discount percentages offered by major providers in different by states for full payment and the effect these discounts have on the average premium.
|State||Average Premium||Provider||Average Discount Percentage||Average Premium after Discount|
|State Farm mutual automobile insurance||5%||$2,926|
If you cannot pay the full amount in cash at one go, the next best thing would be to sign up for an electronic funds transfer.
16. Ask for Pay-Per-Mile Auto Insurance
Drivers who don’t drive a lot and ask for a commuting distance discount on a full coverage policy do not save much. However, if your provider offers a Pay-Per-Mile policy, then your insurance rate will be directly influenced by the extent to which you use your car. For such plans, insurance providers attach a telematics device to track the behavior of your vehicle. In general, if you travel less than 6,000 miles annually, you should definitely consider such an insurance policy as it will help you save as much as 25% to 40%!
17. Sticking to the Same Insurance Provider Can Earn You Higher Loyalty Discounts
Every few years, many consumers tend to switch insurance companies to cut down their expenses. However, there is some money to be saved by sticking with the same company, especially if your insurance provider offers loyalty discounts. In fact, if you have a clean driving record and stick with the same insurance company for some years, providers may even give you cashback deals at the end of each year. This cashback component increases for every year that you retain your company and steer clear of traffic violations. To read a detailed account about how loyalty-based discounts can affect your car insurance prices, read on.
Apart from these 17 ways to save on your car insurance, these 3 factors also affect your insurance rates.
I. Car Insurance Prices Differ by Location
Your location or where you buy your insurance from is possibly the most important factor affecting your car insurance premium. The population density, accident frequency, and disaster possibilities in your location all play a big role in deciding your insurance quote. Zimlon’s analysis of car insurance quotes in 18 of the major US states showed that the average premium is the lowest in Hawaii at $569, while it is the highest in Florida at $5,729. North Dakota, Utah, Kansas, and West Virginia are the top five states with the cheapest average car insurance premiums, at $630, $788, $861, and $959 respectively. The following graph ranks state in terms of their average premiums.
For an in-depth analysis of premium variation by city, click here.
II. Premium Variation by Driver Age
Statistics show that teenage drivers are much more likely to be involved in an accident than drivers aged between 31 and 45 years. Accordingly, major insurance providers charge higher premiums for drivers in the former age group than in the latter. We analyzed how insurance premiums fluctuate across major US states for drivers in different age groups here.
Also, the most expensive group of drivers to add to a policy is teenagers. To know about the impact of adding a teenager to your car insurance policy, read on.
III. In Most States Your Gender Has a Big Say in your Car Insurance Premium
Our analysis suggests that male drivers, on an average, are more accident-prone than female drivers. Zimlon has access to data that back this claim in 12 of 15 states; the three exceptions are North Dakota, Georgia, and Alabama. The following graph shows the shifts in premium.
Not only are male drivers involved in a higher number of driving accidents than female drivers, data also indicates that male drivers who are young, unmarried, and below the age of 25 are likely to be the most high-risk driver group. So if you’re a male driver over the age of 25, your premium will be significantly lower. Similarly, if you are a 23-year-old male driver but married, your premium will be significantly low.