Unless you're driving a $500 clunker, you're probably paying more for your car insurance than you would like. Many of the factors that affect your insurance rates — like age and gender — aren't under your control; however, there are plenty of things that are. Here are five ways to lower your car insurance rates, regardless of what car you drive.
1. Get some quotes
Insurance premiums vary from one company to another, so get quotes from at least three different companies before deciding on a policy. Many states provide resources on typical insurance premiums for different drivers and cars, allowing you to get an idea of what is fair where you live. If a quote seems too high or too low, make sure the policy is comparable to the other quotes, including the deductible and the amount of coverage.
2. Bundle your policies
Many insurance companies offer discounts if you buy more than one policy from them. If you get your car insurance from the same company as your home insurance, or if you insure two cars in your household with the same provider, you can usually get a discount. If this isn't an option, you may be able to get a reduced rate if you obtain your insurance through an association you belong to; AARP would be one example.
3. Increase your deductible
Your insurance deductible is the amount you pay when making a claim and typically ranges from nothing to $1,500. For example, if you have a $50 deductible and your car has $500 in damage you would pay that $50 and the insurance company would pay $450. In general, the higher your deductible the lower your premiums are. Increasing your car insurance deductible may be more expensive if you get in an accident, but it could save you a bundle on premiums. While rates vary, going from a $50 deductible to a $1,000 could cut your premiums by half.
4. Drop the collision coverage
If you drive an older vehicle it may be cost-effective to reduce the collision or comprehensive portion of your insurance policy, or drop it altogether. If your premium is less than 10 percent of the car's value it may not be cost-effective to keep that part of your policy. You can find the value of your car online at Kelley Blue Book, or by asking a car dealer or banker.
5. Reduce your risk
Insurance premiums are based on the risk you represent in making a future claim. Reducing the risk you represent will generally lower your premiums. The longer you go without an accident or a traffic ticket, the lower your premiums should be. Your credit rating is also a factor in the company's view of how likely you are to make an insurance claim in many states, so improving your credit score could reduce your premiums, also. These things, however, typically take a few years before you see a significant reduction.
There are several ways you can reduce your risk in the short-term to reduce your premiums more quickly. Parking in a garage at night, or installing an anti-theft device could reduce your risk of theft. Using public transit during the week and reducing the number of miles you spend on the road, or taking a defensive driving course, could reduce your risk for getting into an accident. Ask your insurance agent if these changes would affect your premiums.