10 Money-Saving Secrets Car Insurers Don’t Want You to Know
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If you’re like most people, your car insurance bill is something you pay each month without giving a second thought.
But that’s a mistake.
Because there’s so much competition — unlike with cable companies, for example — there are lots of discounts available for savvy consumers.
You might know things like raising your deductible or removing collision coverage can save you money on your monthly premiums, but we bet there are a whole slew of other strategies you’ve never heard of.
Here are 10 wacky ways to get cheap car insurance.
1. Scratch Your VIN Into Your Windows
Yes, we’re telling you to deface your ride for cheaper insurance.
Cars with their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) etched into the windows are less likely to get stolen, so many insurance companies offer a discount for completing the process.
Note: this only applies to comprehensive policies, which cover theft, and not on more basic forms of insurance.
Getting this done at the dealership is expensive, so purchase a DIY etching kit online, or contact your local AAA and police departments to see if they have any workshops coming up.
2. Compare Insurance Providers
This might not sound crazy, but so many people don’t do it — and that is crazy.
“Seventy percent of consumers have been with the same auto insurance company for four or more years,” reports a NerdWallet study. “During that time, they could potentially have saved an average of $3,436 by switching to a lower-priced insurer.”
Over $3K?! We’d say that’s a number worth shopping around for.
If you’d like to see how much you could save, use a site like Compare.com to compare car insurance rates in your area.
3. Change Jobs or Go Back to School
Believe it or not, insurance companies give discounts to people who work in professions they’ve found to be low-risk. So call your insurance company and make sure it’s aware of your occupation.
Engineers, for example, get in fewer accidents — so insurance companies offer them cheaper insurance. The same goes for teachers, artists, scientists, nurses, pilots and accountants, according to DMV.org.
And of course, military members also receive discounts.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, doctors, lawyers, real estate agents, business owners, architects and salespeople face higher premiums.
If you really wanted to lower your insurance, you could change careers, or go back to school: People with four-year degrees also have lower insurance costs.
4. Install a Tracking Device
Not the cool kind spies use, though.
We’re talking about a telematics device your insurer provides.
After installing this little device on your car, it records information like when and how often you drive, how fast you go and how hard you slam on the brakes. People who drive safely and less frequently can qualify for cheaper insurance.
And if you’re the parent of a teen driver, some insurers give you a discount for installing a tracking device specifically for teens.
You save money and keep your child safe.
5. Move to Maine
“Maine is hands down the cheapest state in the U.S. for car insurance,” according to Compare.com.
The average auto insurance premium there is $934 per year. Compare that to Louisiana, the most expensive state, where it’s $2,699.
So, if you moved from Louisiana to Maine, you could save $1,765 per year, or an insane $17,650 over the course of 10 years.
Just about enough for a down payment on a house!
6. Show Your Cards
Which organizations do you belong to? Where do you work?
Whether you’re a member of AAA or AARP, chances are you can get a discount on your car insurance. Check with your employer and alumni association, too.
Even warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club have partnerships to get their members discounted rates.
7. Get Hitched or Buy a House
Married people and homeowners pay less for car insurance.
We’re not suggesting you settle down for the sake of cheaper rates, but be sure to alert your provider if you’ve gone through one of these life changes.
8. Study Hard
Are you a student?
Then you need all the savings you can get. Luckily, since better students typically get in fewer accidents, auto insurers are willing to reward your diligence.
Thanks to good student discounts, an average grade of “B” or better can save you some cash.
Alternatively, if you’re the parent of an honor roll student, you may also qualify for better rates.
9. Improve Your Credit Score
As if you needed another reason to improve your credit score, but here it is: It could lead to cheaper car insurance.
So make sure you pay bills on time, and don’t use too much of your available credit at once.
If you need to establish credit from scratch, look into a secured credit card or credit-builder loan.
10. Add Your BF or Roomie to the Bill
No spouse or significant other? No problem.
Multi-driver discounts aren’t only for family members; many insurers offer discounts if multiple drivers live under one roof, regardless of their relationship.
Whether all these tips apply to you or not, one thing is clear: Don’t be like the vast majority of people who purchase car insurance never to think about it again.
Be proactive in comparing rates and seeking discounts, and you could end up with some hefty savings!
Your Turn: What’s the weirdest way you’ve ever saved on car insurance?
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