9 Bizarre Ways to Save Money on Your Car Insurance
We all know factors such as your age and accident history can greatly affect your car insurance rate.
But did you know parking your car in a garage at night could get you a discount?
Or that by mentioning your alma mater, your insurance agent might cut you a deal?
Here’s how to save money on car insurance.
1. Get Your Insurability Score
For many, car insurance is just one of those things where we cave in and pay. Because, just like the electric bill and phone service, we need it, right?
Yes. There’s no getting around car insurance, unfortunately. But one way you could save money is by shopping around and comparing rates at least once a year. Less than 50% of us do that, according to a survey from The Zebra, though 81% of us report wanting lower rates.
So, just like you compare the prices of flights, shoes and laptops before purchasing, why not compare car insurance?
The Zebra, an online car insurance search engine that offers “insurance in black and white,” compares your options from 204 providers in less than 60 seconds.
Here’s how it works:
1. Head over to The Zebra’s search platform. Enter your car’s year, make and model, and your zip code. Continue on to answer questions about your driving habits, your car and your life.
On the right sidebar, you’ll watch rates increase or decrease based on your answers. For example, if you’ve gotten into an accident — that was your fault — in the past three years, your rates will kick up. It’s interesting to see what effect your answers might have.
2. After about two minutes of questions, it’s time to compare. The Zebra gives you an “Insurability Score,” which is similar to your credit score except it’s for car insurance, and it teaches you how to get better rates. The site also gives you different options for coverage.
When you’re ready to consider your options and select a quote, you can also receive a phone call from The Zebra for additional support.
A nice representative (a real, live human) on the line asks if you want to speak with a specialist. If you’re truly interested in car insurance and want to ask all the questions, this could be the perfect time.
Otherwise, just keep shoppin’ around and weighing options through The Zebra.
2. Etch Your VIN
Ever heard of etching your car’s VIN into each window of your car?
This doesn’t mean breaking out your pocket knife and scraping it across your windows. It means going to a dealership (or opting for a cheaper option, a kit from Amazon) and having your car’s VIN permanently engraved into its windshield and windows.
According to Allstate and other insurance companies, this will deter thieves, because they’ll no longer be able to profit from your car’s windows. It also makes the car more difficult to dispose of when all’s said and done.
But before you ask your dealership to perform this service, check with your insurance agency to make sure you can actually get a discount — and that the cost will be worth it.
3. Pay Only for the Miles You Drive
Don’t drive much? Car insurance companies don’t really care if you only putz to the grocery store once a week. You’ll still receive a hefty bill.
But nowadays, pay-per-mile car insurance policies are becoming more readily available.
If you’re not sure where to start in your search — or if pay-per-mile insurance would even pay off — you can get a free quote from a number of sites, including MetroMile.
With MetroMile, you pay a base rate, then a few cents per mile. Rates will vary from driver to driver, but here’s an example: Pay a base of $30 a month, plus 3.2 cents per mile. So say you drive 500 miles; that’s $46 a month for car insurance.
That still includes all the normal stuff insurance covers, including bodily injury, property damage, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, collision… (read the rest here).
One of our readers, Susan Gibson, already saved $720 doing this! You can read her story here.
4. Mention Your Low-Risk Occupation
Oddly enough, mentioning your occupation might save you a bundle on premiums.
That’s because insurance companies follow trends, such as what professions are the least likely to have an accident.
These are considered “high-risk” occupations, according to DMV.org, a site not formally associated with any state agency but that aims to help folks navigate the DMV system:
- Real estate brokers
- Business owners and executives
On the other hand, these are considered “low-risk” occupations:
- Nurses and first responders
“Because these professions are considered stable and require a very detail-oriented personality type, they are associated with lower accident rates,” DMV.org writes.
So if your insurance agent doesn’t ask about your job, be sure to let him or her know. It could save you a bit!
5. Change the Way You Pay
Neil Richardson, a licensed insurance agent at The Zebra, says changing the way you pay can be a smart way to cut down insurance costs.
The Zebra’s 2016 State of Auto Insurance Report reveals that paying your bill in full, rather than in installments, can save you around $62 a year.
If you can’t cough up that large chunk of change at once, no worries. Richardson also says that electronically transferring funds from a bank account can save you $28 annually.
Another benefit of electronic transfers? You can set them on autopay and never miss a bill — but make sure you have enough money in your account so you don’t face overdraft fees!
6. Move to Maine
Yes, the state you live in can greatly affect your car insurance premiums.
Maine has the honor of having the lowest average automobile insurance premiums in the country, according to Insure.com. Rates clock in at $864 a year, less than half the cost of states like Florida, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Louisiana..
And just for the record, folks in Michigan hold the title of most expensive insurance, with the average person paying $2,394 a year.
So we’re not telling you to move… but Maine is pretty affordable compared to most states.
7. Take a Driving Course
OK, this isn’t a fun one, but it could knock some money off your insurance rate.
Before you sign up, be sure to consult with your insurance provider to ensure a driving course will nab you a discount. (You don’t want to pay for a class — and sit all the way through it — for nothing.) Also ask if your insurance company provides class discounts; some do.
Typically, younger drivers, those under 21, can take a driver training course. Older drivers, those over 50, can take a defensive driving course.
DMV.org has more info on these courses.
8. Study Harder and Get a Good Grade Discount
It’s no secret younger drivers will pay higher premiums.
However, these younger drives are eligible for a “good grade” discount. Why? Statistics have shown those who get good grades are less likely to get into a car accident, according to DMV.org.
Most car insurance companies have these requirements:
- Drivers must be younger than 25
- Be enrolled full time at a high school or college
- Maintain a B average (3.0 grade average)
Many agencies will need to see a report card or a signed letter from the school’s administrator.
9. Don’t Forget to Haggle
Online comparison tools like Zebra are a great way to start working on a quote, but you should always follow up with a phone call, because it never hurts to try haggling with a live agent.
Don’t be afraid to ask them if they can do better than their first offer, and don’t forget to leverage the other online quotes you’ve pulled.
If another company has a feature or a price you like better, see if they’ll beat it or at least match it.
(Hint: If you’re already insured, try doing this one with your current company. Tell them you’re currently shopping around and were wondering if they could do better than your current rate.)